NCAA

The VCU-George Mason rivalry is back and it’s beautiful

The VCU-George Mason rivalry is back and it’s beautiful

BY TYLER BYRUM

FAIRFAX, VA -- There was a double dose of Havoc defense in EagleBank Arena on Friday night.  A high-paced contest with 36 turnovers combined, led the fast break Rams to a 73-64 victory over George Mason.

Bodies were flying, fan bases out-shouting each other and the teams on the court played like it was a Lakers-Celtics battle.

Remember the old CAA VCU vs. George Mason matchups? That’s what you got in Fairfax, Virginia to kick off Atlantic 10 conference play.

JeQuan Lewis was the front of the charge with 26 points and was one of three Rams that reached double figures. Mo Allie-Cox was a rebound shy of a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds.

Looking to run the Patriots out of their own building, VCU (11-3, 1-0) pushed the pace early. Off every defensive rebound they pushed the transition, after every basket VCU played with a full court press; Mason simply could not keep up.

Leading to a 13-0 run in the first half, the Rams built a 19-7 advantage that the Patriots would slowly chip away at for the remainder of the first.

Behind a home crowd that George Mason (10-4, 0-1) has not seen in years, Mason made it 36-35 at half.

Combating the Rams size, Mason pounded the paint with bodies, providing their own havoc, and forced the Rams to shoot over them. Focusing on defensive rebounding, Mo Allie-Cox and Justin Tillman were held to only three offensive boards in the first half.

However, there is only one team though that can control the Havoc, and that is VCU.

Keeping the tempo racing, Mason could not keep up with the Rams. Full court pressure limited the Patriots to a shorter shot clock and careless passes gave the Rams 16 points off turnovers. Dominating the paint, 44-32, VCU never allowed the Patriots to take the lead in the second half.

After the Patriots attempted to beat the Rams at their own game, VCU commanded the glass in the second half. Winning the battle of the boards 42-31, against a team that came in with a plus-10 rebounding advantage, limited Mason’s second chance points and kept momentum on the Rams side.

Shutting down the double-double machine in Marquise Moore (10 points, six rebounds), coming in with eight double-doubles on the season, became a pivotal turn for the Rams. The only way to cover Moore is with a quick guard on the outside and an agile big in the paint: Lewis and Allie-Cox.

In the second half he only brought in one board.

VCU jumps to an early lead in the conference standings with them and the Patriots having the best non-conference record in the league.

The rematch will not take place until the end of the season on March 4, but it will surely be one to watch in Richmond.

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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.