By JIM O'CONNELL, AP Basketball Writer
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) -- Treveon Graham scored 26 points and Rob Brandenberg added 15, including two late 3-pointers, and VCU beat No. 19 Memphis 78-65 on Thursday night In the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
The Rams used their frenetic style of play to take a 16-point lead in the first half only to see the Tigers pull to 63-61 with 4:05 to play. VCU then went on an 11-0 run with all the points scored by Graham and Brandenberg. Brandenberg hit two 3s in the run and Graham one as the Rams finished 13 for 22 from behind the arc.
VCU ( 3-1) will meet No. 5 Duke in Friday's semifinals. The Blue Devils beat Minnesota 89-71.
Adonis Thomas had 19 points for the Tigers (2-1), who committed 22 turnovers that the Rams turned into 33 points.
The Rams weren't perfect, committing 19 turnovers that Memphis turned into 23 points.
The difference turned out to be 3-point shooting. Memphis outshot VCU from the field making 27 of 51 (52.9 percent) while the Rams were 26 of 54 (48.1 percent).
While the Rams were making 13 of 22 from beyond the arc, the Tigers only made 2 of 7.
Memphis trailed 42-28 at halftime and managed to get within three points four times before making it a two-point game.
Graham started the deciding run with a rebound basket and Brandenberg hit 3s on the next two possessions and Graham added another to make it 74-61 with 1:20 to play.
VCU calls its style "havoc" and coming into the game the Rams had forced 19.7 turnovers per game while leading the nation with 14.1 steals per game. The Rams had 14 against Memphis.
Memphis started a lineup of all city natives for the third time this season. The Tigers are now 134-42 all-time with that type of lineup.
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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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.