Greg whittington, Josh Richardson

No. 20 Hoyas score only 37 points, yet hang on to defeat Volunteers


WASHINGTON, D.C. – After a first half that was sloppy, physical and at times, hard to watch, Georgetown and Tennessee provided an entertaining second half and equally thrilling finish in the Friday opener of the Big East/SEC Challenge, with Georgetown escaping with a 37-36 victory over the Volunteers.

Markel Starks jumper with 4:42 remaining in the second half gave the Hoyas a 37-36 lead, which would hold until the final buzzer.

The Hoyas had the ball with 21 seconds remaining, but an errant pass from Greg Whittington to Otto Porter gave the Volunteers a chance to win the game on the final possession. Skylar McBee missed a 3-pointer, but went out-of-bounds giving Tennessee one last chance to steal a road victory. Jordan McCrae got an opening look from beyond the arc as time expired but it fell well short.

The first half provided very little in terms of scoring and offensive production. Both teams combined to shoot 13-for-48 from the field including 2-for-13 from behind the arc. The half time score of 18-16 in favor of Tennessee, thanks to a Trae Golden buzzer-beater, should indicate just how much difficulty both teams had finding the bottom of the net.

The second half provided slightly more action than the first, as Tennessee was able to start knocking down their outside shots. But the Volunteers were forced to take outside shots because the Hoyas’ long and lanky 2-3 zone made getting the ball to Jarnell Stokes almost impossible for Tennesse. Stokes, the Volunteers primary scoring option, finished with just four points, all coming in the first half.

This was an ugly, ugly game. No player scored in double-digits. McBee and Stokes each scored eight for the Volunteers, while Greg Whittington, Mikael Hopkins and Otto Porter each scored eight points for the Hoyas. Stokes actually grabbed more rebounds (9) than the game’s top scorers.

This was the first time since John Thompson III took over as head coach that the Hoyas scored under 40 points. Their previous low in a win under Thompson III was 46 points, which came in a 46-45 win over Temple in November of 2009.

Troy Machir is the Managing Editor at Ballin’ is a Habit and can be found on Twitter at @TroyMachir

POSTERIZED: Monmouth bench mob goes insane after huge dunk

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Monmouth has arguably been the most entertaining team in college basketball through the season’s first three weeks.

Let’s start with the obvious: They’re a mid-major outfit with a 5-foot-8 point guard that headlines a talented back court, one good enough to have notched upsets at UCLA and, this week, over No. 17 Notre Dame and USC at the Advocare Invitational in Orlando.

It’s pretty incredible, to be honest. They’ve managed to amass one of college basketball’s best resume despite being a MAAC program with a grand total of four NCAA appearances in their luxurious history.

But what makes this team so much fun isn’t just that they can’t seem to stop beating high-major competition, it’s that, in the process, their bench mob has become one of college basketball’s best.

Want some proof? Watch what happens after this Deon Jones poster dunk:

And here’s the wild part: that wasn’t even close to the best thing the bench did this week.

This was:


But there’s so much more.

Like, for example, the three arrows:

The touchdown pass:

The bench poster:

The heart attack:

They … caught a fish?

And, finally, the ‘OH SHHHHHHHHHHHH’:

Wichita State’s 0-3 week makes chances for at-large bid small

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

We’ve reached the nightmare scenario for Wichita State.

Having entered the season as the overwhelming favorite in the Missouri Valley, a top 15 team and a legitimate threat to reach a Final Four, after two weeks, the Shockers are in serious danger of missing out on the NCAA tournament altogether.

That’s not hyperbole, either.

Wichita State fell to 2-4 on the year after getting mollywhopped by Iowa in the 7th-place game of the Advocare Invitational. They ended up in the 7th-place game because they lost to USC and Alabama in the opening two rounds. The Hawkeyes look like the might be able to eke out an at-large berth if things fall the right way for them, but USC and Alabama are projected to finish at or near the bottom of their respective conferences. Even Iowa would do well to finish in the top half of the Big Ten.

Individually, none of those three losses are particularly terrible, and that’s before you factor in that all-american point guard Fred VanVleet sat out the trip to Orlando with a bad hamstring. They were also without back up point guard Landry Shamet in the tournament and it’s unknown when they’ll actually get Anton Grady back to full stretch. That matters to the NCAA tournament selection committee. They’ll factor it in when they determine where the Shockers will be seeded, or if they will even get an invite.

But throw in the loss at Tulsa from the first week of the season, and the Shockers are now 2-4 on the season.

And unlike the rest of the preseason top 25 — unlike the rest of the nation’s high-major programs — Wichita State won’t have a chance to load up on quality wins during league play. The Valley is better than we probably realized (more on that in a second), but it’s not like there are going to be a myriad of top 50 wins for the taking.

Look at Georgetown, for example. They Hoyas went 1-3 in the first week of the season, a stretch that included a home loss to Radford. But they also play in a conference where they’ll get home-and-homes against the likes of Villanova, Butler and Xavier.

The Shockers need to do their damage during the non-conference. They need to get the bulk of their resume put together before Valley play starts. Assuming they do win the rest of their non-league games, we’re not exactly looking at a daunting profile, either. The Shockers still have to visit Saint Louis and Seton Hall and host UNLV, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico State. UNLV and Utah should look like quality wins on Selection Sunday, but the rest of them?

Wichita State is putting themselves in a position where they may end up needing to win the Missouri Valley tournament just to get into the Big Dance, and the problem is that the Valley looks like it is really going to be tough this season. Northern Iowa notched a win over North Carolina already this year. Illinois State gave Maryland a fight and entered the season as a favorite to upset the Shockers. Evansville has two of the league’s five best players in D.J. Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius.

They’re not waltzing through that conference by any stretch of the imagination.

That’s not exactly what VanVleet and Ron Baker had in mind when they decided to return to Wichita for one final season.