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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Georgetown 76, DePaul 73: Hoyas peak at the right time


                                                         Photo Credit: Geno Green


ROSEMONT— Fresh off Associated Press top 20 wins over the Creighton Bluejays and the Butler Bulldogs last week, the Georgetown Hoyas (13-10, 4-6 Big East) have hit the reset button on what appeared to be a lost season.

Behind Evanston native Rodney Pryor’s seventh straight game in double figures with 26 points in front of family and friends, the Hoyas continued the momentum with their third straight win in a 76-73 win at the DePaul Blue Demons (8-14, 1-8 Big East) in front of 5,455 fans at the Allstate Arena.

DePaul coach Dave Leitao gave credit to Pryor's performance and put everything on the line in terms of its defensive strategy.

“Rodney Pryor is a heck of a player and has been around for a long time,” Leitao said. “He scores no matter what and we had to limit him, but I don’t know if we did a good job overall.”

Pryor’s spectacular tip-dunk highlighted the senior’s performance in Rosemont and provided a spark for Georgetown’s offense as it went on a 14-0 run, which lasted 5:14 and spanned both halves.

Despite Pryor’s splendid performance, L.J. Peak delivered in the game’s final minute by converting the last five Georgetown points, highlighted by a driving layup with 13 seconds left to finish with 13 points.

"We got there too late to Peak and he got to his right hand and got to the basket and made the layup,” Leitao said. “We have to make those plays (on defense) and do a better job of executing.”

Saddled with foul trouble for the majority of game, Peak could not get into a rhythm until late and Georgetown coach John Thompson III admitted the shortcomings, but proud of determination in the final minute.

"(L.J.) had a frustrating game because he was in foul trouble and could not get into the flow of things," Thompson III said. "However, L.J. Peak did what L.J. Peak does in the end."




While the offense went through Billy Garrett Jr. with a team-high 25 points, DePaul's leading scorer Eli Cain added 19 points and six rebounds.

The Hoyas came out on fire in the first 105 seconds of the game on a 10-0 run and going 4-for-4 in the frame.

Leitao called timeout to settle the Blue Demons down and worked as they responded with timely shots from Joe Hanel and Garrett Jr. to highlight a 9-0 run over 3:26.

The pace slowed down and played more into Georgetown’s half court pace with its signature Princeton offense and led at 18-17 until Brandon Cyrus’ layup halfway through the first half for DePaul.

The Blue Demons’ led for all but 1:40 until the Hoyas took the lead once more, highlighted by a Pryor two-handed dunk and a three-pointer from the wing.

However, an unexpected boost from freshman Al Eichelberger off the bench helped give DePaul its biggest lead of the half at 33-27. The Hoyas had other plans as they countered with a 13-0 run and remained in control.

Cain continued to struggle to find his jump shot as he missed a combination of open and contested jumpers.

At the under-11 mark and in need of a spark, DePaul turned to Cain, who was 3-of-13 from the field before two straight field goal conversions and a free throw to make to cap a 9-2 run to notch things at 52.

Cain continued the momentum shift with a long-range make to give DePaul its first lead of the second half, but Pryor responded on the other end with a triple. Refusing to be outshined, Cain drove back down on to make another three-pointer as a duel commenced.

At the 4:42 mark, Garrett Jr. converted his 529th and 530th free throws and passed Stephen Howard for the top spot on DePaul’s all-time career free throws made list. Despite the accomplishment, DePaul trailed 67-64, but Chris Harrison-Docks’ timely triple from the key and Garrett’s conventional three-point play, put Georgetown back on its heels with a three-point deficit.

Both teams traded baskets into the final minute as GU clung to a one-point lead. Peak dribbled the ball as the shot clock ran down and drove right through the DePaul defense for the layup to put the Hoyas up three with 13 seconds left.

Both teams return to action at home on Feb. 4 as the Hoyas look for their fourth straight win as they play the Seton Hall Pirates and the Blue Demons meet longtime rivals, the Marquette Golden Eagles.


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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.



Georgia Tech moves into the latest Genotology field of 68

                                                       Photo Credit: AP Photo


Welcome to another edition of Genotology as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are highlighted in the latest field of 68.


WEST (SAN JOSE):





EAST (NEW YORK CITY):




MIDWEST (KANSAS CITY):



SOUTH (MEMPHIS):



LAST FOUR IN:


Richmond

Georgia Tech

Wake Forest

Seton Hall


FIRST FOUR OUT:


Rhode Island

TCU

California

Georgia


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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

No. 3 Gonzaga 96, Pepperdine 49: Bulldogs tie a school record with their 22nd straight win


                                                   Photo Credit: Gonzaga Athletics


By: Devin Larkins
Twitter: @MotownApe

MALIBU – In front of a sold out crowd at Firestone Fieldhouse, everyone with high expectations of watching two teams face off in a West Coast Conference matchup on Saturday night. The No. 3 Gonzaga Bulldogs (22-0, 10-0 WCC) entered the game looking to keep their season long winning streak alive against the Pepperdine Waves (6-16, 2-8) and did so in a 96-49 route.

Despite the win and being projected to be the new top-ranked team in Monday's Associated Press Top 25, Gonzaga coach Mark Few sees the bigger picture with a team-tying 22-game winning streak.

“The [rankings] are not important to me," Few said. “They know they can’t control that stuff. It is certainly nice to be recognized, but is out of our control. We’re just going to control what we can control. We’re more concerned with being number one at the end of the year.”

Gonzaga began the game by going to the post every and often. Przemek Karnowski threw down two dunks within the first three offensive possessions for the Bulldogs. Nolan Taylor of Pepperdine found himself outmatched standing only 6’7” picking up an early foul 19 seconds in to the game.

The paint presence was not just from the big men but also from slashing guard play by Nigel Williams-Gross, who finished the game with 12 points, six rebounds and a game-high eight assists. Gonzaga's defense was stingy as they held Pepperdine to a paltry 28 percent shooting in the first half.

Pepperdine made a substitution adding sophomore Center Ryan Keenan to the game for his size and length; adding 3 inches’ length to Taylor. This adjustment did not slow down the Bulldogs who finished the first half with 30 points in the paint.

WCC leading scorer Lamond Murray Jr. only gave his Waves team four points of offensive support. The lack of offense was not solely on the shoulders of Murray. The team went on a 3:56 scoring drought to start the game; then another 2:06 without a made field until Keenan dropped in a layup with 13:43 left in the half.

Despite Gonzaga's 43-21 lead at the half, Pepperdine showed a bit of spark in the second half. They switched from man to man to a 2-3 zone coverage closing some of those defensive gaps which were open in the first. 

Murray played with more energy early in the second knocking down two highly contested shots on back-to-back plays and grabbing a couple of rebounds. 

“I took it to myself to try to be more aggressive and come out stronger," Murray said. I felt bad for myself for being sick (the last few days). I said forget that, come out and try to play the best ball I can play right now.”

This was countered by Zags who began to play a high-low offense, letting the star of the game Karnowski run the offense through him at moments. Karnowski led all scorers with 16 for the game. 

Whenever the Waves began to get any offensive rhythm it was quickly block (literally) by the Bulldogs" long and athletic players. Players like Johnathan Williams made three rim protecting blocked shots for the Bulldogs; the team finished with a punishing eight blocks.

Gonzaga kept the pressure and heat-on, forcing five turnovers and scoring 58 second half points to finish the game with a 47-point victory over the Waves. 

The Bulldogs head to Provo, Utah to face a tough BYU Cougars team who is 7-3 in conference play on Feb. 2, while The Waves head up the Bay to take on the San Francisco Dons who are 5-5 in the WCC.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Providence 79, Marquette 78: PC escapes and wins for the first time at Marquette


                                                         Photo Credit: AP Photo


MILWAUKEE— Desperate men, do desperate things  and in need of a conference win, the Providence Friars (14-9, 4-6 Big East) ended a two-game skid with a 79-78 win over the Marquette Golden Eagles (14-7, 5-4 Big East) at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

After a timeout at half court and a blocked shot with 6.5 seconds left, Haanif Cheatham inbounded to Katin Reinhardt on the wing, but with Rodney Bullock all over, he could not get off a clean shot as the ball rattled off the rim and Emmitt Holt secured the rebound for Providence's first win ever at Marquette.

"We have played against [Katin] before and scouted him, but you still have to stop him," Providence coach Ed Cooley said. "He is a threat all over the floor coming off the bounce and shooting the three and has a really high IQ."

Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski explained how the play was originally diagramed for Reinhardt.

"We tried to get Katin to run off a stagger screen with the second big as the center being the second screener because they were trying to get him on the big guy and drive the ball inside the basket," Wojciechowski said.




Providence’s balanced scoring appeared on full display as four players finished in double figures, highlighted by Kyron Cartwright’s 18 points, six rebounds and game-high six assists.

"[Kyron] is really good, he makes the guys so much better around him," Wojciechowski said. "Our defense became spread out as a result. He's one of the more underrated guards in the Big East."


The MU crowd went into a frenzy after Reinhardt’s putback layup, but Cartwright silenced the fans with a conventional three-point play, which drew Luke Fischer’s fifth and final foul.

Cartwright’s presence was felt once more after a Rowsey missed jumper as he came down on the other end and delivered a clutch triple from the wing to put PC up 77-70 and led the rest of the way.

Early foul trouble limited Providence’s leading scorer Rodney Bullock to 24 minutes as he finished with eight points. Bullock’s first points of the game did not come until the 17:20 mark of the second half.

Marquette's Andrew Rowsey finished with a game-high 23 points, on 5-of-8 shooting, highlighted by a four-point play to pull to 78-76 with 36 seconds left. Wojciechowski admitted to Rowsey's long-range makes keeping MU close, but hopes to avoid the scenario becoming the norm.

"[Andrew] almost bailed us out," Wojciechowski said. "Again, you hope you don't have to rely on four-point plays to bail us out."

The first 4:17 of the game proved to be a struggle for both teams to make quality shots as they went a combined 4-of-14 from the field, to go along with an 0-for-3 mark from the free throw line.

Bullock committed two early fouls, which put the Friars on their heels, but responded by going on a 7-0 run over 2:43.

The Golden Eagles’ bread and butter all season was a conference-high 41.9 percent three-point shooting coming into the game against the Friars, but missed six of their first eight attempts and faced a 20-13 deficit in the process with 7:11 left in the opening half. 

Despite Marquette pulling to as close as two, Providence maintained its lead with an 11-1 run to go up by 12. Marquette’s long-range shooting came alive at its most critical stage with makes from Reinhardt and Sam Hauser as it went into the half down 40-32 after a fadeaway jumper from Maliek White with a second left.

Bullock and Holt committed their third fouls within an 89 second stretch to begin the second half, but remained on the floor as Marquette cut its deficit to 42-37. Bullock responded with his first points of the game on a conventional three-point play.

Marquette would respond with a 9-0 run over 2:54 to take its first lead since the 12:58 mark in the first half. Hauser highlighted the run with an open layup in the paint delivered by a precision pass from Jajuan Johnson.

With every Golden Eagles answer came a Friars one in response as they made five straight field goals to retake the lead at 56-51.

Both teams slugged it out as the second half progressed with leads going back and forth with PC escaping with the one-point win.


Looking Ahead:


Both teams return to action on Feb. 1 as the Golden Eagles look to build their winning streak to four games as they travel to Madison Square Garden to take on the St. John’s Red Storm, while the Friars host the top-ranked Villanova Wildcats. Both games tip off at 6 p.m.


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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

Friday, January 27, 2017

#CSOSuperSaturday previews- No. 3 Gonzaga/Pepperdine and Providence/Marquette

                                             Photo Credits: Marquette Athletics/AP Photo


The second #CSOSuperSaturday of the season commences with two great games from the Big East and West Coast Conferences.


No. 3 Gonzaga at Pepperdine, 7 p.m. PT, ESPN2/WatchESPN


In a week of upsets in college basketball with No. 1 Villanova, No. 2 Kansas, No. 4 Kentucky, No. 6 Florida State and No. 8 UCLA on the wrong end of the scoreboard, the No. 3 Gonzaga Bulldogs step into the spotlight as the de facto top team in the country at 21-0 overall.

Flying under the radar in the national media all season, Gonzaga stands atop of the Kenpom rankings as of Jan. 27 with three wins against current Associated Press top 25 teams (Florida, Arizona and Saint Mary’s).

The straw that has stirred the drink for Gonzaga is Washington transfer Nigel Williams-Goss. Williams-Goss has proven thus far to be the ultimate triple-threat with team-highs in points (15.0), assists (4.7) and steals per game (1.7).

The Bulldogs’ depth can also be credited to their success as four players average at least 10.7 points per game. Freshman forward Zach Collins’ defensive game has been a force to be reckoned with all season as he leads the Bulldogs with 5.7 RPG and 1.4 BPG.

Despite a 2-7 mark in West Coast Conference play and a 6-15 record overall, the Pepperdine Waves defeated the Portland Pilots 78-60 on Jan. 26, behind a double-double from Lamond Murray Jr. (22 points and 10 rebounds).

Murray Jr. is the son of 12-year former NBA veteran Lamond Murray and leads the WCC with 20.8 PPG in 21 games this season.


Providence at Marquette, 1 p.m. CT, Fox Sports Networks/Fox Sports Go


The front end of the #CSOSuperSaturday doubleheader showcases two teams going in opposite directions.

The Marquette Golden Eagles have won back-to-back games against top 10 teams, while the Providence Friars have dropped two straight overall and four of their last six overall.

The Golden Eagles look to build on a 5-3 Big East start (best since the 2011-12 season) as they are fresh off their first win over a No. 1 team in the regular season on Jan. 24 with a come-from-behind 74-72 win over the Villanova Wildcats.

Unselfish play has been Marquette’s key to success this season with five players averaging at least 11.2 points per game. Katin Reinhardt has been the main catalyst the last two games with 21 points at Creighton and 19 vs Villanova.

“For the most part, we have been a very unselfish basketball team,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said in Thursday's Big East teleconference. “One of the things we talked about from the very start with this team is that we can be unselfish and make sure the ball is always finding the best shot on each possession. On any given night, it can be a different guy who is our leading scorer and I think that is reflected in the balance of scoring we have in this group.”

Providence’s Rodney Bullock has proven to be the ultimate triple threat with team highs in points (17.8), rebounds (6.1) and steals per game (1.3).


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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.