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Saint Mary’s appeals some sanctions handed down by NCAA

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On March 1 the NCAA announced the sanctions given to Saint Mary’s as a result of NCAA rules violations in regards to recruiting and individual workouts. In response to the penalties, Saint Mary’s has appealed some of the sanctions as reported by the San Jose Mercury News.

Saint Mary’s, which is not disputing the NCAA’s findings, is appealing the loss of two scholarships for both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons and a two-year ban on skill instruction.

Head coach Randy Bennett, who was handed a five-game suspension (WCC conference games) for his failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance, is appealing both the findings and the sanctions (he’s required to file a separate appeal in regards to penalties assessed to him).

In addition to the suspension, Bennett is banned from recruiting off-campus for the entire 2013-14 season.

According to Saint Mary’s director of media relations Mike McAlpin, the school’s concern that the penalties would affect the student-athletes is the reason for the appeal.

In addition to the penalties being appealed by Saint Mary’s, there’s also the NCAA decision to ban the program from taking an overseas trip until the start of the 2017-18 season.

It remains to be seen how big of a deal this is, but given how much success the program’s had recruiting Australia the possibility of an off-season “homecoming” trip would be a nice carrot to offer prospective recruits.

With that option removed from the table, will that have an adverse impact on the Gaels’ recruiting efforts in Australia?

Saint Mary’s is also banned from taking part in a multi-team event for the next two seasons, which means they’ll need to do a better job with their non-conference scheduling in order to position themselves for an at-large NCAA tournament bid.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

WATCH LIVE: James Madison battles UNC-Wilmington on NBCSN

James Madison guard Shakir Brown, left, drives past Hofstra forward Denton Koon (12) during the first half of an NCAA basketball game in Harrisonburg, Va., Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. (Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
(Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record via AP)
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Two of the top teams in the CAA battle on Saturday afternoon as James Madison travels to UNC-Wilmington. You can catch this matchup live on NBCSN at 3 p.m. EST.

UNC-Wilmington (19-5, 11-2) is currently the class of the conference as they hold a two-game lead over James Madison, William & Mary and Hofstra. The Seahawks have won 10 consecutive games and they’re led by guard Chris Flemmings, who is averaging 16.6 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game.

James Madison (19-7, 9-4) has won three consecutive games as they try to make up ground on UNC-Wilmington. Guard Ron Curry leads the Dukes in points (16.8 ppg) and assists (3.9 apg) as he’s having a very solid season.

These two teams played on Jan. 28 with UNC-Wilmington winning 78-73 on the road.

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Saturday afternoon.

VIDEO: Winthrop’s Keon Johnson goes coast-to-coast for buzzer-beater

Winthrop's Keon Johnson (5) shoots a layup while defended by Coastal Carolina's Warren Gillis during the first half of the Big South Conference Championship college basketball game Sunday, March 8, 2015, in Conway, S.C. Coastal Carolina won 81-70. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
(AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
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Winthop earned a Big South road win at Radford on Saturday afternoon as junior guard Keon Johnson raced coast-to-coast and buried the game-winner at the buzzer.

The 5-foot-7 Johnson erupted for 32 points in the win and he’s been one of the most potent mid-major scorers in the country this season. The win moves Winthrop to 18-7 on the season and their 10-4 mark in the Big South ties them with UNC Asheville atop the conference standings.

(H/T: LiveonASN)