Alex Len, Rodney Cooper, Nick Jacobs

Maryland beats Alabama, first team to reach the semifinals of the NIT

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Alex Len had 15 points and 13 boards, but it was his defense that made the difference for Maryland on Tuesday night.

The seven-foot Ukranian finished with five blocks, none bigger than the one he had on a Rodney Cooper layup attempt with three seconds left. Len swatted Cooper’s shot into the third row, and after Trevor Lacey’s jumper at the buzzer bounced off the rim, Maryland escaped Tuscaloosa with a 58-57 win in the quarterfinals of the NIT.

The Terps are headed to the Garden, where they will take on the winner of Wednesday night’s matchup between Iowa and Virginia.

“We’ve been talking about trying to get a great road win, and to get a postseason win against a team that I thought should have been in the NCAA tournament was just a great win,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “Our defense was just spectacular all night.

“We just held on. I don’t like just holding on, but this time of year any win is a great win.”

What’s more impressive is that the Terps were able to get this win despite playing without freshman Seth Allen, who broke his hand.

Dez Wells and Jake Layman both finished with 13 points for the Terps.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Louisville’s Rick Pitino on allegations: ‘We will get through this’

Rick Pitino
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Louisville coach Rick Pitino remains defiant that his program will survive the allegations in a book by an escort alleging that former Cardinals staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players.

Pitino said Tuesday that the Cardinals “will get through this the right way.”

The coach told a packed room at a tipoff luncheon that he understands the motivation behind Katina Powell’s book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” but questions the need for the alleged activities given the talent his program has produced.

Pitino added, “We will find out the truth, whatever it may be, and those responsible will pay the price.”

Georgia Tech lands Class of 2016 guard

Brian Gregory
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Georgia Tech picked up its third Class of 2016 commitment on Tuesday as the Yellow Jackets landed a pledged from three-star guard Josh Okogie.

The 6-foot-4 guard is considered the No. 143 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016 rankings and Okogie played with a very talented Team CP3 in the Nike EYBL. In 22 games this spring and summer, Okogie averaged 10.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 45 percent from the field.

Okogie joins three-star wing Christian Matthews and four-star big man Romello White in head coach Brian Gregory’s Class of 2016 at Georgia Tech. The group is definitely a solid influx of talent with some coming from successful grassroots programs.