NCAA

VT's Johnson moving on minus Erick Green

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VT's Johnson moving on minus Erick Green

Leading up to and after the NBA Draft, CSNwashington spoke with several of the local college basketball coaches for their take on certain prospects, but also to discuss the 2013-14 season. After catching up with Georgetown's John Thompson III and *George Mason's Paul Hewitt, today's Q&A is with Virginia Tech's James Johnson.  

Last month, Johnson, who is entering his second year as the Hokies head coach, shared his analysis on various ACC players in the draft. That included his now former high-scoring guard, Erick Green

  • How do you go about replacing a player like Green who led the country in scoring and produced in many different ways for the team last season?

James Johnson: "We have two seniors in Cadarian Raines and Jarell Eddie. They will make an impact. You're never going to replace a guy who led the nation in scoring, but I think we did a pretty good job of recruiting with the guys we have coming in. And I think we have some guys already in the program that will help.

"Hopefully Jarell Eddie can help, improve over the [past year] on the offensive end, help us put the ball in the hole. Raines, we'll be looking for him to help with the scoring load, up his (6.6) points per game average, maybe getting into double digits. Then we have a young man who sat out last year, Adam Smith, who transferred from UNC Wilmington. As a freshman, he had big games. UNC Wilmington played two ACC teams and he had big games, [23] against Maryland in one, 32 [against Wake Forest] in another. I don't know if we're looking for those types of numbers, but he's capable of producing those types of numbers in certain games.

"I think we'll be a little more balanced. C.J. Barksdale averaged I think 10 and 6 over his last 10 ACC games. We're looking at him stepping up. Marshall Wood, a freshman last year, broke his foot. We look forward to him helping us out. He can stretch the floor. He can shoot.

"Then we've got some incoming freshman, especially a couple of guards in particular, Malik Mueller, a 6-foot-3 guard out of Germany. A couple of years ago, he won the MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic. Then we have a kid, Ben Emelogu, who led his team to the state championship game down in Texas. Expecting him to shoot the ball and really put it in the hole. ...His high schools numbers don't really indicate what he can do as far as putting the ball in the basket. They were a very balanced team (several D-I prospects)."

  • How did you get a kid from Germany to come to Virginia Tech?

Johnson: "We watched [Mueller] on tape, at the Jordan Brand Classic. Kurt Kanaskie, my assistant, his son played overseas, in Germany for a while. Just connections, talking to people, looking under rocks. We've got to dig under rocks to find those kind of guys."

  • Granted it's a ways before fall practice, but o you have a sense of a starting lineup right now?

Johnson: "With six* freshmen and one transfer, the lineup is open. They have to compete for a position right now. That's the way I'm approaching it now."

* (now five without Clark)

  • Earlier when talking about the draft prospects, you mention liking the way Raines played against Maryland center Alex Len last season. Could he take another step and be a surprise in the conference next season?

Johnson: "I don't know about a surprise in the conference, but I think he can take a better step forward. Last year was his first as a starter, first year as being kind of a go-to guy inside. He had to kind of learn that role. I think he became comfortable with that and next year take it a step further.

"Eddie is [now] a senior who's had some big games, but we're looking for a little bit more consistency out of him."

Virginia drops in new AP top 25 poll, while Virginia Tech's stock is on the rise

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USA TODAY Sports

Virginia drops in new AP top 25 poll, while Virginia Tech's stock is on the rise

Kansas is back where it started the season.

The preseason No. 1, the Jayhawks are again the top-ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 despite struggling to get past New Mexico State at home. Kansas received 57 first-place votes from a 65-person media panel in the poll released Monday, sliding into the top spot after previous No. 1 Gonzaga lost to Tennessee.

No. 2 Duke moved up a spot and received four first-place votes. No. 3 Tennessee, No. 4 Gonzaga, No. 5 Michigan and No. 6 Virginia received the other first-place votes.

No. 7 Nevada, Auburn, Michigan State and Florida State rounded out the top 10.

The Jayhawks were the preseason No. 1, but dropped a spot after Duke decimated then-No. 2 Kentucky to open the season.

Gonzaga moved to No. 1 after beating Duke in the Maui Invitational title game, lasting two weeks before losing 76-73 to the Vols Sunday in Phoenix.

Kansas (8-0) kept winning, though needed a big game from Dedric Lawson to beat New Mexico State in Kansas City on Saturday. Lawson, a preseason All-American, had 20 points, including the final 14 for Kansas, and 10 rebounds in the tighter than expected 63-60 victory.

Kansas played without center Udoka Azubuike, but coach Bill Self was not buying any excuses for the struggles.

"We were fortunate tonight," he said. "How in the world we've won these games ... it's one thing to not play well, it's another thing to not play well and not be intellectually into the game and that was certainly the case tonight."

It was good enough to get the Jayhawks past the Aggies -- and move to No. 1.

COMPLETE AP TOP 25 POLL WEEK 6

1. Kansas 8-0 (57 first-place votes, No. 2 last week)

2. Duke 9-1 (4 first-place votes, No. 3 last week)

3. Tennessee 7-1 (1 first-place vote, No. 7 last week)

4. Gonzaga 9-1 (1 first-place vote, No. 1 last week)

5. Michigan 10-0 (1 first-place vote, no change from last week)

6. Virginia 9-0 (1 first-place vote, No. 4 last week)

7. Nevada 10-0 (No. 6 last week)

8. Auburn 8-1 (No change from last week)

9. Michigan State 8-2 (No. 10 last week)

10. Florida State 8-1 (No. 11 last week)

11. Texas Tech 8-0 (No. 13 last week)

12. North Carolina 7-2 (No. 14 last week)

13. Virginia Tech 8-1 (No. 15 last week)

14. Buffalo 9-0 (No. 17 last week)

15. Ohio State 8-1 (No. 19 last week)

16. Wisconsin 8-2 (No. 12 last week)

17. Villanova 8-2 (No. 21 last week)

18. Mississippi State 8-1 (No. 22 last week)

19. Kentucky 7-2 (No. 9 last week)

20. Arizona State 7-1 (No change from last week)

21. Marquette 8-2 (Not ranked last week)

22. Iowa 7-2 (No. 18 last week_

23. Furman 10-0 (No. 25 last week)

24. Houston 8-0 (Not ranked last week)

25. Indiana 8-2 (Not ranked last week)

25. Syracuse 7-2 (Not ranked last week)

25. Kansas State 6-2 (No. 16 last week)

VOLS RISING

Tennessee picked up its biggest win in four seasons under coach Rick Barnes by knocking off Gonzaga in the Colangelo Classic.

The Vols (7-1) kept their poise and made the biggest plays down the stretch, holding off the Zags 76-73 after Admiral Schofield scored 25 of his 30 points in the second half and hit two key 3-pointers.

The victory was Tennessee's first over a No. 1 team since beating Kansas in 2010 and Barnes' first in 31 years as a head coach.

The Vols have their highest AP ranking since hitting No. 1 in 2007-08.

FURMAN HOLDS STEADY

Furman moved into the poll for the first time last week, thanks to a resume that includes wins over 2018 Final Four teams Villanova and Loyola-Chicago.

The Paladins (10-0) moved up two spots in this week's poll to No. 23 after beating Elon and South Carolina Upstate.

Furman plays Charleston Southern on Tuesday and UNC Wilmington Saturday.

TOP 27

This week's poll had a rarity: Three teams tied for the final spot.

Syracuse, Indiana and Kansas State all came in at No. 25 after receiving 118 points. It's the first three-way tie in the AP Top 25 since three teams shared No. 13 in 1991.

The Hoosiers are ranked for the first time since climbing to No. 3 in 2016-17. The Orange moved back into the Top 25 after beating Northeastern and Georgetown.

The Wildcats dropped nine spots from No. 16 after losing to Tulsa.

RISING

Tennessee matched the biggest climb of the week, moving up four spots from No. 7.

No. 15 Ohio State, No. 17 Villanova and No. 18 Mississippi also moved up four.

FALLING

No. 19 Kentucky had the largest drop this week, losing 10 spots to No. 19 after losing to Seton Hall in overtime. Kansas State was next at nine. Maryland also dropped out of the top 25 after being ranked No. 23 last week.

MOVING IN

In addition to Syracuse and Indiana, No. 21 Marquette and No. 24 Houston each moved into the poll this week.

The Cougars are ranked for the first time since hitting No. 21 last season and the Golden Eagles are back in the poll after dropping out in Week 3.

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Georgetown lets rivalry contest against Syracuse slip away in second half

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Georgetown lets rivalry contest against Syracuse slip away in second half

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Tyus Battle scored 21 of his game-high 26 points in the second half, including the game winner with three seconds to go, and Syracuse overcame a 15-point deficit to defeat its longtime rival Georgetown 72-71 on Saturday.

Battle and the Orange were woeful in the first half. Battle was just 1 of 8 and the Orange were just 7-of-27 shooting, but Battle and Syracuse (7-2) came out with a vengeance in the final 20 minutes to overtake the Hoyas (7-2) and capture their fifth-straight victory.

Elijah Hughes had 15 points and Oshae Brissett added 12 for the Orange.

Jessie Govan led the Hoyas with 22 points. Mac McClung had 18 and Greg Malinowski chipped in with 11.

A 3 by Govan gave the Hoyas a 71-70 lead with just over a minute remaining. Marek Dolezaj drew a charge on Georgetown's Jagan Mosely with 10 seconds to go, giving Battle the opportunity.

Georgetown took its largest lead of the game, 37-22, on a jumper by Trey Mourning when Syracuse stormed back on a 14-2 run. Battle scored 10 during the surge to bring the Orange to within three at 39-36. The Orange closed to 47-48 on a short jumper by Battle with 11:51 left.

The Orange took its first lead since a 5-3 margin, 50-48, on a 3 by Hughes and extended it to a six-point advantage on a floater by Brissett. Two consecutive 3s by Hughes kept the margin at six with under seven minutes to go. Malinowski's third straight 3 brought the Hoyas to 60-59, and a free throw by Josh LeBlanc tied the score at 60. A 3 by Jahvon Blair and two free throws by Malinowski gave the Hoyas a 65-62 cushion with 4:50 remaining.

After a free throw by LeBlanc gave the Hoyas a 66-64 lead, Jalen Carey hit a desperation 3 with 2:35 left to give Syracuse a 67-66 lead. Govan's jumper made it 68-67 Hoyas, but a 3 by Battle gave Syracuse a 70-68 edge with 1:28 to go.

McClung scored 13 points and Govan added nine, leading the Hoyas to a 35-22 halftime lead. Syracuse took an early 5-3 lead when the Hoyas went on an 8-0 run to take control. Syracuse, which went more than six minutes without scoring, got no closer than five points the rest of the half.

The Orange's output represented the second-fewest points scored by Syracuse in a half in the Carrier Dome's 38-year history. Syracuse started the game shooting just 4 of 22 and ended the half 7 of 28 and a meager 1-of-14 shooting from 3. Battle, Brissett and Hughes, Syracuse's leading scorers, were a combined 3 of 18 for 14 points.

The Hoyas also dominated on the boards, outrebounding the Orange 28-19.

BIG PICTURE:

Georgetown: This one will sting for a long time. The Hoyas seemed firmly in control but let this one slip away. They'll have one week to get shrug it off.

Syracuse: The Orange will need to play with the intensity they displayed in the second half. Jalen Carey gave Syracuse a much-needed spark off the bench subbing for the foul-plagued Frank Howard.

UP NEXT:

Georgetown hosts Southern Methodist on Saturday.

Syracuse's string of seven straight home games continues Saturday against Old Dominion.

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