NCAA

Versatile George Washington powers past Penn State

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Versatile George Washington powers past Penn State

George Washington coach Mike Lonergan admits his Colonials would have lost games last year when starters Kevin Larsen and Patricio Garino struggled scoring. That's not the case this campaign even against a major conference opponent.

Forwards Tyler Cavanaugh and Yuta Watanabe fueled the offense and an early second-half run carried George Washington to a 76-66 win over Penn State Tuesday night.

Cavanaugh scored 18 points, guard Joe McDonald 16, and the 3-point shooting Watanabe had all 14 of his points in the first half for the Colonials (8-1). GW led most of the game, 40-33 at halftime and 56-38 following a 14-3 spurt. McDonald tallied 14 points in the second half as George Washington snapped Penn State's three-game winning streak.

Watanabe, a sophomore who moved into the starting lineup late last season, made four 3-pointers in the first half after sinking eight over the opening eight games. GW went 9 of 19 from beyond the arc in a rematch from last season's 64-51 road loss.

Shep Garner scored 22 points and Brandon Taylor had 15 for the Nittany Lions (5-3). Penn State closed to 71-62 on Taylor's 3-pointer with 4:09 remaining, but they would not get closer.

Bench production helped the first half push with 14 points. Improved play from sophomore guard Paul Jorgensen plus additions of three transfers -- Cavanaugh, Matt Hart, Alex Mitola -- provide Lonergan with more options this season. Other than seeking ways to prevent Larsen from playing 36 minutes a game, the coach appears pleased with his rotation. 

"Last year we didn't have a lot of depth either, but we couldn't overcome Garino having two [points] and Larsen having six," Lonergan said. "Now with the addition of Tyler and Paul stepping up his game, even Matt Hart and Alex Mitola, they're threats to score. They've given us something off the bench. We didn't really have a lot of bench production last year."

George Washington owns several wins over notable programs under fifth-year coach Mike Lonergan, but this season some of the victories are happening in Foggy Bottom. The win over Penn State was GW's first over a Big Ten opponent at home since defeating Wisconsin in 1977. George Washington defeated ACC power and sixth-ranked Virginia 73-68 at home on Nov. 16. 

As for recent history, the Colonials received little production at power forward last season. That's changed with Cavanaugh, who sat out last year after transferring from Wake Forest. The assertive 6-foot-9 forward with the ability to power past opponents at the rim and shoot from distance, recorded his first double-double since the season opener. Despite his new guy-ish status, Cavanaugh quickly blended in with the returning player's from last season's 22-win team.

"They're all unselfish basketball players," Cavanaugh said. "They get me [the ball] in good spots where I feel comfortable to score and that's impressive because I've only played nine games with them so far."

The offensive flow stood out, leading to 16 assists on 23 baskets along with 28 free throw attempts. Larsen only scored six points, but the big man was once again a big passing presence, finishing with five assists.

"I just thought we passed the ball very well, Cavanaugh said. "When the ball is moving like that, it's easy to have balance scoring."

On the other end, the Colonials defense held the Nittany Lions to 7 of 26 of 3-point attempts. 

* McDonald and Cavanaugh combined to make 15 of 18 free throws.

* Sophomore center Matt Cimino recently underwent a surgical procedure on his right foot after suffering an injury in practice. He is expected to miss at least two months, according to a school official. 

* The Colonials have now faced a major conference team in four straight games with a fifth, Rutgers, visiting Saturday. GW defeated Tennessee in Brooklyn and Seton Hall last week at Smith Center. They lost to No. 24 at the Barclays Center less than 24 hours after beating the Vols. 

* The Colonials went 1-3 in road games at Virginia, Seton Hall, Penn State and Rutgers last season. Payback is working nicely so far. "We want to go 4-0 at home," Lonergan said. "It's one of the mini goals we have."

* Watanabe's first half scoring total could have jumped up if he didn't miss both of his free throw attempts. Each came after a made a basket, including a straight-on banked 3-pointer. GW, which entered the game second among Atlantic 10 teams at 76.4 percent, finished 21 of 28.

* Michigan State's visit in 1986 was the last by a Big Ten before Tuesday.

RELATED: Bright first half carries Georgetown over Brown

Wilmer Difo homers but Phillies top Nats

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USA TODAY Sports

Wilmer Difo homers but Phillies top Nats

WASHINGTON -- Rhys Hoskins hit a two-run homer, Vince Velasquez pitched five effective innings and the Philadelphia Phillies snapped Washington's six-game win streak with a 3-1 victory over the Nationals on Saturday.

Velasquez (2-4) allowed one run and one hit in his first win since April 7. He also struck out four, walked four and hit a batter.

Edubray Ramos, Tommy Hunter, Luis Garcia and Hector Neris then combined for four innings of one-hit relief. Neris earned his sixth save.

Trea Turner led off the Washington ninth with a walk and was running when Matt Wieters popped out to short right field. Turner, who slid into second, lost track of the ball and was easily doubled off first.

Wilmer Difo homered for Washington. Third baseman Anthony Rendon went 0 for 2 with two walks after missing 19 games with what the team called a contusion to his toe.

Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark (2-3) tied his season high with nine strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. He was charged with three runs and six hits.

Andrew Stevenson accounted for Washington's other hit, a one-out single in the sixth. Pedro Severino followed with a walk, but Ramos induced a double-play grounder from Rafael Bautista.

Cesar Hernandez opened the game with a single off Roark and Hoskins homered to center on a 3-2 pitch. It was his fifth of the season.

Maikel Franco provided an insurance run when he followed Carlos Santana's one-out triple with a single in the sixth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Phillies: RHP Ben Lively (lower back strain) threw 20 pitches in a bullpen session. Lively was placed on the disabled list April 27. ... Manager Gabe Kapler said RHP Pat Neshek (shoulder strain) will throw a bullpen session as the next step in his rehabilitation. Neshek has not appeared in a game this season.

Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman was scratched from the lineup due to stiffness in his side, according to manager Dave Martinez. ... RHP Trevor Gott, who sprained an ankle in the sixth inning Friday night, is day to day.

UP NEXT

The winners of the last three NL Cy Young Awards square off when Philadelphia's Jake Arrieta (3-1, 3.49 ERA) opposes Max Scherzer (6-1, 1.79 ERA). Arrieta won the award in 2015 with the Cubs and Scherzer, the National League Pitcher of the Month for April, has claimed the honor each of the last two seasons.

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.