Florida Gulf Coast

No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast weathers late push to stun No. 2 Georgetown


Move over, Harvard. You’ve now got company atop the list of biggest upsets in this 2013 NCAA Tournament.

No. 15-seed Florida Gulf Coast, a school that was founded during the presidency of George H.W. Bush in 1991, pushed the tempo, emphasized its strengths, and outmuscled No. 2-seeded Georgetown in an upset win, 78-68, in the Round of 64 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa.

Florida Gulf Coast came into the tournament as a No. 15 seed after winning the Atlantic Sun tournament championship over Mercer and won most notably over now-No. 2 seed Miami early in the non-conference season.

On Friday, Atlantic Sun Player of the Year Sherwood Brown was one of three Florida Gulf Coast players who reached double figures in scoring. He had 24 points, along with 23 from Bernard Thompson and 12 from Brett Comer.

And it was all a matter of pace.

In the first half, Georgetown allowed Florida Gulf Coast to play to its strength. The Hoyas shot just 33 percent from the floor and turned the ball over seven times, leading to run-outs and transition baskets for FGCU. The Eagles were also aggressive in getting to the basket and drawing fouls. Four players had at least two fouls.

Otto Porter, a player in the conversation for the National Player of the Year, had 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting. His inability to get in a groove was at the center of Georgetown’s problem of stagnant offense.

The Eagles came out in the second half with the same kind of intensity, taking every Georgetown miss and every Georgetown turnover and igniting a fastbreak. That includes an emphatic alley-oop and big putback slam that left the Hoyas looking confused and bewildered, eventually increasing the lead to 52-33 after a backdoor cut and slam by Chase Fieler.

When the Eagles weren’t getting out in transition, Georgetown was having trouble stopping Florida Gulf Coast in the half court. Point guard Brett Comer worked well against the Hoyas when they were in a zone, posting 10 assists to go along with his 12 points.

It all comes back to a main point that was widely discussed coming into this tournament. With so much parity, nearly every game so far has been a matter of matchups. Georgetown, a team centered around defense and working at a slow pace, met Florida Gulf Coast, one most comfortable working in transition. Because the Hoyas were unable to set the pace early, Florida Gulf Coast settled into a quicker groove and dictated how the game would be played.

The Hoyas are not built to make big swings in points, so a deficit that grew to 14 points with 4:27 left became too much. Georgetown made a push to cut the lead to eight points with 2:25 to play and five points with 1:04 remaining.

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

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?