NCAA

Second half runs lead Georgetown over DePaul

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Second half runs lead Georgetown over DePaul

The shooting woes were evident, the early turnovers voluminous. The starting center dealt with foul trouble and key performers couldn't buy a basket. Yet Georgetown did enough right for a 13th straight regular season win over DePaul.

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 17 points and matched his career-high with eight assists as Georgetown pulled away for a 74-63 win over DePaul Saturday afternoon at Verizon Center.

L.J. Peak also had 17 points while freshman center Jessie Govan thrived with extended minutes for the Hoyas (10-6, 3-1 Big East). Three key runs kept Georgetown ahead for most of the second half including a 14-4 spurt for a 67-54 lead with 2:36 left.

The first 11 points in the decisive surge came on free throws including three courtesy of two technical fouls on Blue Demons coach Dave Leitao, who was ejected with 3:04 remaining. Georgetown made 23 of 32 free throws after attempting only seven in Tuesday's 79-66 loss at Creighton.

Georgetown attempted a season-high 31 3-pointers and made 11, enough to somewhat offset shooting 38.5 percent overall from the field. DePaul (6-10, 0-4) also labored shooting (35.7%) and went 3 of 10 from beyond the arc.

What the Hoyas lack in in-game consistency they're making up for in conference wins including its second victory over DePaul since Dec. 30. The Hoyas need a strong conference record for hopes of an NCAA Tournament at-large berth after struggles in non-conference play. The win moves Georgetown within 1/2 game of first place Villanova. 

The Hoyas opened Big East play with a 70-58 victory in Chicago as Smith-Rivera and Isaac Copeland each scored 15 points.

Govan, who started the second half, scored 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting including a 3-pointer in 30 minutes. Starting center Bradley Hayes had two points and four fouls in eight minutes.

Billy Garrett scored 16 points for the Blue Demons in the rematch.

Peak performer: Not known or his perimeter shot, Peak made 3 of 4 3-pointers, turning one into a four-point play. The sophomore scored 11 points in the first half and replaced Tre Campbell in the starting lineup opening the second half. Peak also made 8 of 9 free throws.

The first run: Trailing 32-28 late in the first half, the Hoyas jumped in front with a 14-3 overlapping halftime. Smith-Rivera's 3-pointer gave Georgetown its first lead since the opening two minutes at 34-33. Govan followed with a dunk, layup and set up Isaac Copeland for two free throws with a deft pass to the cutting forward.

The middle run: The Hoyas being the Hoyas and basketball being basketball, the comfortable cushion largely disappeared as the misfires returned. After DePaul pulled within 45-43, Govan and Tre Campbell drained consecutive 3-pointers for a 51-43 with nine minutes left.

First half: Energy lacked on the court and inside the Verizon Center during much of the first half. The Blue Demons took advantage of the muted scene and 10 turnovers by the Hoyas for a 30-28 halftime lead. Peak's late flurry -- all 11 first half points came in the final minutes -- pulled Georgetown closer despite shooting 33.3 percent from the field.

D'Vauntes the Disher: Smith-Rivera isn't a classic pass-first point guard, but his recent numbers show progress. Over his last four games, the senior has 28 assists, twice reaching eight in a single game in that span.

Still missing in action: Sophomore forward Paul White missed his fourth straight game and ninth on the season with an apparent hip injury.

Up next: Georgetown heads up I-95 for its first meeting this season against St. John's. The Hoyas and Red Storm duel Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. From there, the schedule becomes much tougher with Villanova followed by road games at Xavier and ex-Big East school Connecticut. 

Terrapins get huge commitment from 7-foot-2 internet phenom Chol Marial

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Screenshot: Courtside YouTube

Terrapins get huge commitment from 7-foot-2 internet phenom Chol Marial

The Maryland Terrapins just added a huge piece to their 2019 recruiting class. Literally. 

The Terps officially signed 7-foot-1 center Chol Marial (AZ Compass Prep, Chandler, Arizona), the team announced Monday. 

Depending on who you ask, Marial is either a three-star, 210-pound or a four-star, 220-pound recruit (247Sports, ESPN), but he's unquestionably taller than seven feet. He also has a 7-foot-11 wingspan that Maryland coach Mark Turgeon expects will make him "an excellent rim protector."

"I've watched Chol the last three years and I can't say enough about him as both a person and a basketball player," Turgeon said in a release from Maryland, which lists Marial at 7-foot-2 and 230 pounds. 

"One of the top players in his class when healthy, Chol's tremendous size and length make him an excellent rim protector. Chol possesses a humble demeanor and a strong work ethic that will fit well with our family. We can't wait to have him in College Park and look forward to helping him reach his dreams."

Originally from Rumbek, South Sudan, Marial moved to the U.S. as a middle-schooler in 2014. He also previously attended IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. 

ESPN ranks Marial as the No. 2 center in Arizona and the No. 14 center nationally, while 247Sports says he's No. 6 and No. 26 in those two respective categories.

He visited Maryland on April 26, according to 247Sports, and also received offers from Georgetown, Florida State, Arizona State, Iowa, UConn and West Virginia.

"I want to thank Coach Turgeon for giving me this opportunity," Marial said in a release from the school. "Coach Turgeon and I have gotten along really well and I really enjoyed spending time with the rest of the coaching staff and players. Bruno Fernando and I have similar backgrounds and I saw how much he improved as a player at Maryland. I'm looking forward to getting better every day and playing for Terp Nation."

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2019 NBA Draft Big Board 4.0: North Carolina's Coby White, Indiana's Romeo Langford heading in opposite directions

2019 NBA Draft Big Board 4.0: North Carolina's Coby White, Indiana's Romeo Langford heading in opposite directions

Ideally, the Washington Wizards get lottery lucky.

There is the basketball and business dream only Zion Williamson's supernatural gifts could fill.

Murray State’ Ja Morant would provide an electric charge with the injured John Wall idling.

Those fantastical visions, while tangible, do not reflect reality.

Targeting North Carolina scoring dynamo Coby White with their projected slot does.

The 6-foot-5’s rise up draft boards began during the college basketball season. It continues even weeks after the Tar Heels’ campaign concluded.

“I like White a lot,” is what an NBA scout told NBC Sports Washington this week. The sentiment reflects an overwhelmingly positive view on the freshman from league-wide sources.

The Wizards, who enter the May 14 NBA Draft lottery with the sixth-best overall odds of landing the first selection, need to jump up for those Williamson and Morant. There is a 37.2 percent chance of landing a top-four selection. Simply having stronger asset capital would help the yet-to-be-determined general manager.

Landing White seems more and more like a viable fallback.

The all-time leading scorer among boy’s high school players in the state of North Carolina, White averaged 16.1 points, 4.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 35 games for the Tar Heels while shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc.

With his lead guard skills and size to play on the wing, there is a positional case that White is a better fit for the Wizards long-term than Morant. White could play alongside Bradley Beal and John Wall whenever the five-time All-Star returns from his Achilles injury.

The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Morant is strictly a point guard, but also the higher-projected talent. Passing on him, even with Wall’s presence, would be the wrong approach.

Duke guard R.J. Barrett joins Williamson and Morant as the consensus top three selections more than a month out from the June 20 NBA Draft. There is little agreement with prospects 4-8, though the draft lottery will certainly help shape the order. Based on the new draft lottery rules, the Wizards could pick 1-4 or 6-10 depending on how the ping-pong balls bounce.

Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter, Duke’s Cam Reddish, Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland and White typically make up the pool of players immediately outside the top three. White’s insurgent freshman campaign thrust him into the tier.

Maybe there becomes a point where White’s rising rank leads to some brush back. We’re not there yet.

Check out more discussion on White, Zion Williamson and the 2019 NBA Draft on the latest episode of the "Wizards Talk" podcast.

 *Texas’ Jaxson Hayes, Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke, Oregon’s Bol Bol, and international prospect Sekou Doumbouya are the current best bets to enter the 4-8 discussion. Bol’s truncated freshman season factored into a diminished evaluation, but there’s a turnaround in play, a Western Conference scout told NBC Sports Washington even after out previous love-hate relationship article on the 7-foot-2 forward.

*Indiana shooting guard Romeo Langford entered the NBA Draft pool following his freshman season. The sense from scouts is he’s exiting lottery selection talk. One scout told NBA Sports Washington Langford is "dropping." Another said he would be flabbergasted if his organization considered the 6-foot-6 guard with a wonky jump shot in the top 10-14 selections. Langford averaged 16.5 points per game, but shot 28 percent on 3-pointers. Individual workouts and the upcoming NBA Combine offer chances to turn heads and momentum.

*Maryland sophomore Bruno Fernando officially kept his name in the NBA Draft pool this week. According to a source, the 6-foot-10 center signed with Priority Sports and Entertainment, the same agency that represents Wizards’ Bradley Beal and Jabari Parker. Fernando finished his Maryland career ranked second in program history in field goal percentage (.595) and 10th in rebounds per game (8.7).

1. Zion Williamson, PF, Duke

2. Ja Morant, PG, Murray State

3. RJ Barrett, SG, Duke

4. De'Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia

5.  Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech

6. Cam Reddish, SF, Duke

7. Coby White, SG, UNC

8. Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

 9. Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga

10. Bol Bol, PF, Oregon

11. Sekou Doumbouya, PF, International

12. Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas

13. PJ Washington, PF, Kentucky

14. Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC

15. Nassir Little, SF, UNC

16. Keldon Johnson, SF, Kentucky

17. Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga

18. Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky

19. Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee

20. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Va. Tech

21. Cameron Johnson, PF, UNC

22. Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

23.  Goga Bitadze, C, International

24. KZ Okpala, SG. Stanford

25. Ty Jerome, SG, Virginia

26. Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland

27. Carsen Edwards, SG/PG, Purdue

28. Eric Paschall, PF, Villanova

29. Luguentz Dort, SG, Arizona State

30. Louis King, F, Oregon

Next up: Matisse Thybuille, SF, Washington; Talen Horton-Tucker, SF, Iowa State; Admiral Schofield, SF, Tennessee; Daniel Gafford, C; Arkansas; Shamorie Ponds, G, St. John’s

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