Otto Porter dominates Syracuse again, just not in the scoring column

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Otto Porter was a one-man wrecking crew last month when Georgetown went into Syracuse and knocked off the Orange, 57-46.

He scored 33 points on 12-19 shooting, hitting 5-10 from three while collecting eight boards and five steals. It’s not an exaggeration to say that he single-handedly sent the 35,000-plus Orange-clad fans that showed up to the Carrier Dome home disappointed.

It was a game that thrust Porter into the National Player of the Year conversation, a place that he has remained ever since, which is why the casual observer might be surprised to see that Georgetown’s dominating, 61-39 win over Syracuse on Saturday afternoon came in a game where Porter finished with just 10 points on 3-7 shooting from the floor.

It may also surprise that casual observer to know that, while his numbers won’t look quite as impressive in the box score, Porter absolutely dominated this game on the offensive end. In addition to those 10 points, Porter finished with eight boards and seven assists without committing a turnover. He put on a clinic of how to beat a zone: flash from the baseline to the high-post, turn and face the basket, knock down a 15 foot jumper if left open or kick it out to the open shooter if the defense collapses.

Markel Starks and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored a combined 34 points and shot 8-14 from three.

“I’m extremely confident in them. I know what they’re capable of,” Porter said of his team’s sharp-shooting back court. “The whole game, I was just trying to get open looks for them, put pressure on the defense with me in the middle, making everything else open up.”

As good as Porter has been this season, as dominant as he was the last time these two teams tangled, the Hoyas are more than just a one-man show. It starts on the defensive end of the floor, where the Hoyas were able to seamlessly switch between a 2-3 zone and a stifling man-to-man against the Orange, holding them to 32.6% shooting and forcing 14 turnovers.

It continues to the offensive end of the floor, where Starks and Smith-Rivera have been terrific down the stretch of the season knocking down enough threes to keep the floor spread and creating enough off the bounce to keep defenses honest. Nate Lubick has played well down the stretch of the season, and while he struggled on Saturday, Mikael Hopkins and Moses Ayegba stepped up, coming up with four points and nine boards.

Georgetown doesn’t win on Saturday — they don’t win the Big East — without the “other guys” being more than just Porter’s background singers.

“No one has looked at [themselves] as ‘other guys’,” John Thompson III said. “Everyone has a role to play, Everyone’s role is importnat. Obviously Otto’s gotten a lot of attention, and he should, but he understands, all of us understands, everyone in that locker room has a role to play. Every night, everyone has to do their job.”

And there-in lies the reason why Porter is so dangerous and why this Georgetown team will be such a threat in March.

‘Bubba’ is good enough to be the National Player of the Year. He’s talented enough to take over games against NCAA tournament competition on the road; ask UConn, they’ll confirm what Syracuse is telling you.

But Porter is also unselfish enough to understand that he’s simply not capable of scoring 30 points on a nightly basis.

He’s going to need help, and not only does use it, he takes advantage of the nights when his supporting cast plays the leading role.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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.