Jim Platt

Jim Platt hired as assistant at Saint Louis

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Longtime college basketball coach Jim Platt has been hired as an assistant at Saint Louis to help on a staff that is now without head coach Rick Majerus, who took a leave of absence due to health concerns in late August.

Platt, who has spent 32 years as a head coach or assistant at the Division I level, has been on staff at schools that include Charleston Southern and Arkansas-Little Rock, most recently serving as an assistant at Army from 2005-10.

“SLU represents the very best in collegiate athletics,” Platt said in a statement. “It’s a school with tremendous academics and one that is competing at the highest level of college basketball. It’s the best combination to represent as a college coach.”

While at Army, Platt spent four seasons working under Jim Crews, who is now the interim head coach at Saint Louis in Majerus’ absence.

“Jim has been a great mentor for me during my career,” Platt went on to say. “I believe that under Jim’s leadership, experience and value system, the basketball program is going to be represented in a manner that emulates the values of Saint Louis University and Billiken athletics.”

As for Majerus, he announced last month that an ongoing heart condition would force him to take a leave of absence, coming off a season in which he guided the Billikens to a 26-8 overall record and a near-upset of No. 1 Michigan State in the NCAA tournament.

Saint Louis opens its season on Nov. 9 against USC Upstate.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)