NCAA

Without a NCAA bid on the line, VCU and Dayton reminded us they are not going anywhere

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Without a NCAA bid on the line, VCU and Dayton reminded us they are not going anywhere

WASHINGTON D.C. – VCU and Dayton meeting in March is something that every fan of college basketball can get behind.

Odds are, there is a conference tournament on the line or a chance to build seed line heading into the NCAA Tournament.

On Thursday afternoon, however, it was neither. No. 8 seed Virginia Commonwealth emerged victorious over No. 9 seed Dayton 77-72 in the second-round of the Atlantic-10 Tournament, with nine different scorers for the Rams.

It was a classic bruiser between two teams in similar, unfamiliar positions; looking up at the leaders instead of down at the also-rans.

The officials kept the whistles on their chests. Defenses pressured with tight man-on-man defense. And the post players roughed each other up on more than one occasion.

VCU (18-14, 9-9 Atlantic-10) got a balanced offensive production with all five starters scoring double figures. Tillman had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Fellow senior Jonathan Williams had 14 points and five assists.

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Always known for their home court advantage at the Siegel Center and traveling well, the blue background of the arena was littered with Black and Gold.  Commanding the atmosphere, the Rams were never out of the game, even when they blew a 10-point advantage. Keep in perspective, this was the noon game on Thursday, perhaps the worst time slot of the entire tournament.

“You see all of that Black and Gold, our guys even talked about it before the game when they came into the locker room” VCU head coach Mike Rhoades said. “Ram Nation, no matter what, has these guys’ back”

Throughout the season, the Rams struggled in close game situations down the stretch. As the lead diminished, confidence was going to the Flyers and three-point baskets finally started to go down. Reeling, the Rams had to turn to their defense and climb back into the ball game.  

Dayton (14-17, 8-10 Atlantic-10) broke through and took a five point lead with three minutes to go. Trey Landers scored 19 points and grabbed 10 boards, a majority en route to them taking the lead back. VCU’s De'Riante Jenkins (11 points) responded with a key three-pointer and then the defense for the Rams took over.

“I told them in the one timeout at the end, get three stops and we’ll win the game,” Rhoades said.

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That’s what they did. Three empty possessions including back-to-back shot clock violations against the Flyers allowed the Rams to take the lead back.

From there free throws closed it out for VCU as the Rams now will face off against the No. 1 seed in the tournament, Rhode Island.

For Rhoades and Dayton’s head coach Anthony Grant, both in their first year, they have stuff to build on. With both teams returning to their roots for one of the final games of the season, it flashed back to the 2015 Atlantic 10 Championship.  A Dayton-VCU led A-10 may not be that far off in the horizon.

The loss for Dayton will make it the first season the Flyers will not be dancing since 2013. VCU currently with seven straight seasons in the NCAA Tournament, keep their hopes alive.

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.