Georgetown outlasts Cincinnati, takes first place in Big East

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Georgetown let a 12-point second half lead get away, but the Hoyas made the free throws down the stretch while Cincinnati couldn’t connect from deep. The fifteenth-ranked Hoyas escaped Cincinnati with a 62-55 final, taking sole possession of first place in the Big East in the process.

The Bearcats trailed 45-36 before going on a 16-5 run to take a one-point lead, with Cashmere Wright and JaQuon Parker did all the damage in the second half run. Parker’s jumper with 6:54 to go gave Cincy’s first since it was 7-6 with 12:46 to remaining in the first half.

While Otto Porter, Jr. was carrying four fouls, Markel Starks lifted the Hoya offense, scoring four consecutive points that gave Georgetown the lead back and for good. After making 1-of-2 free throws, the junior point guard heaved up a contested three and drilled it to give the Hoyas a 54-51 advantage.

Cincinnati got it to one, 54-53, with 3:54 to go, but the Bearcats hurt themselves with missed threes and turnovers late in the game. Cincy missed the last four 3-pointers – on a 4-of-24 night from deep — and had three turnovers. The Bearcats were held with a field goal for over six minutes after taking the lead.

In the meantime, Georgetown didn’t hit a field goal either after Starks’ three. The Hoyas went 8-of-10 from the line in the last 3:35 to secure the road win.

Georgetown, the team that scored 37 in a win against Tennessee on Nov. 30 now leads the Big East by half a game. The Hoyas are 9-1 since losing Greg Whittington to academic issues, and have won games in South Bend, and against then-No. 5 Louisville during this seven-game winning streak.

Porter’s play has picked up in conference play. The sophomore has gone for 20 or more four times in the last nine games, as opposed to  just once in the first 13 games. Starks, who made the big shot on Friday, also has picked up the production as of late, averaging 16.3 over the last six games.

With an improved offense, the Hoyas are making a move at the right time with six games remaining until the Big East tournament.

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

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.