North Carolina bounces back, beats No. 20 UNLV at home

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With a more concerted defensive effort and double-figure scoring from five players, North Carolina upset No. 20 UNLV, 79-73, on Saturday afternoon at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.

UNLV trailed by nine points at halftime, but worked back to pull even by the middle of the second half. A scoring drought late in the half gave North Carolina a chance to shut the door for good, but it was unable to do so.

That allowed the Rebels to pull within four points with under a minute to play before North Carolina sealed the game from the free throw line.

Without junior Reggie Bullock due to concussion, North Carolina was without one of its better perimeter defenders, but it didn’t seem to hurt the Tar Heels’ level of defensive pressure in the first half.

North Carolina forced 10 turnovers in the first 17 minutes.

Dribble penetration, which was nearly absent in the first half, was the engine of production in the second for the Rebels. Anthony Marshall, Bryce Dejean-Jones, and Anthony Bennett all worked to get to the basket, which opened up opportunities on the perimeter and scoring chances at the rim.

UNLV ripped off a 10-2 run to tie the game at 46 with 14:29 remaining.

North Carolina forward James Michael McAdoo was quiet in the first half, but went on his own personal 6-0 run to extend the Tar Heel lead to five.

With the game within one point, 64-63, the UNLV comeback bid was stopped by a cold streak from the floor.

After a Khem Birch layup with 7:33 to go, the Rebels did not score another field goal until the 2:16 mark. Added to that, UNLV struggled from the line, shooting just 11-of-21 on the game.

The offensive balance was important to North Carolina Saturday, with P.J Hairston, Marcus Paige, Dexter Strickland, Brice Johnson, and McAdoo scoring in double figures.

McAdoo finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. Strickland led all scorers with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor.

The Tar Heels shot 51 percent from the floor on the afternoon.

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

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.