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 NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Virginia, Seton Hall, Rhode Island, Vandy in NIT Tip-Off

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NEW YORK (AP) — Virginia and Vanderbilt will meet in one semifinal of the NIT Preseason Tip-Off on Thanksgiving Day at Barclays Center.

Rhode Island and Seton Hall face off in the other semifinal with the winners meeting on Friday, Nov. 24.

This is the third straight year the Tip-Off has been held at Barclays Center. Eventual NCAA champion Villanova won the event in 2015. All games will be televised on ESPNU.

Non-bracketed teams in the NIT Season Tip-Off who will play games at campus sites are: Austin Peay, Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, Oakland City and UNC Asheville.

Miles Bridges explain why he returned to Michigan State

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Miles Bridges changed the landscape of the 2017-18 college basketball season on April 13.

The Michigan State forward spurned the NBA for another year in East Lansing. The decision not only meant that Bridges was a frontrunner for national player of the year, but solidified the Spartans as a national title contender.

But Bridges’ choice to return was still puzzling to many. The 6-foot-7 forward was projected as a lottery pick. Bridges explained his decision to Mike Decourcy of Sporting News in a story published on Thursday.

“He says, ‘You know what, Coach? I want to get better. I don’t want to be in the D-League. I’ve got buddies that are, and I just want to make sure when I go, I’m ready,’ ” Izzo recalled to Sporting News. “I looked at him and I said, ‘Done deal.’ For me, that was a done deal. It was a reasonable, sensible argument.”

Agents, friends, reporters, scouts, acquaintances, fans, strangers and family members — oh and, as we said, coaches — all had one opinion about how Bridges should spend the next year of his life. Miles had another, opposing, viewpoint.

Bridges told Decourcy that support came from his teammates, many of whom were returning to the team as well. Assuming the backcourt of Cassius Winston and Josh Langford make a leap forward, as well as incoming freshman Jaren Jackson providing an immediate impact, the Spartans’ title hopes could become a reality.

Bridges averaged 16.9 points, 8.3 boards, 2.1 assists and 1.5 blocks as a freshman at Michigan State. He’s rated as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.

Four conferences sign on to basketball officiating alliance

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Four more Division I conferences will join a men’s basketball officiating alliance formed last year by the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Atlantic 10 and Colonial Athletic Association.

The Big South, the Ivy League, the Northeast and the Patriot League are joining ahead of the 2017-18 season, according to announcements from the leagues Thursday. The alliance launched last summer for conferences to work together on officiating matters and enhance training, development, recruitment, retention and feedback for officials.

John Cahill, the Big East’s supervisor of officials, and Bryan Kersey, the ACC’s coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, will continue to lead the alliance operations.

ACC commissioner John Swofford says the new additions to the alliance “provide an even greater opportunity to build chemistry and quality” across the officiating ranks.

North Carolina to unveil national championship banner in October

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The latest addition to the rafters of the Dean Dome will be unveiled this fall.

North Carolina will raise the banner for its 2017 national championship on Oct. 13, according to a report from Inside Carolina.

The event will coincide with the Tar Heels’ “Late Night With Roy” event that marks the public start to the season for the program and also serves, like many other top programs, as a recruiting tool.

North Carolina won its sixth NCAA national championship in April by defeating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Phoenix to avenge its last-second loss in the title game to Villanova the year prior. It was the Tar Heels’ first championship since 2009.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.