Jesse Morgan, Kwamain Mitchell

Report: Former UMass guard Jesse Morgan denied appeal to play at Temple this season

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Jesse Morgan had his season ended with a torn ACL back in January. Despite rehabbing his knee, Morgan’s college basketball career may have come to an end on Monday after meeting with NCAA officials.

Morgan, who was forced to withdraw from the University of Massachusetts in April, had enrolled in Temple with the hopes that he could use his final year of eligibility with his hometown Owls.  However, multiple sources informed Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette, that Morgan’s appeal was denied by the NCAA.

As Vautour points out, it appeared to be a long shot that Morgan would be able to suit up this year for Temple:

1. The 2013-14 season would have been his fifth and final season eligible in college. NCAA requires transferring athletes to sit out a season. If Morgan sat out, he’d be out of eligibility.

2. NCAA rules mandate that a student athlete must continually be making progress toward their degree in each semester. He didn’t make progress during the spring because UMass denied him the ability to take classes on campus or online.

This past school year in Amherst had been a difficult one for Morgan. It began when he — along with teammates Cady Lalanne and Trey Davis — was suspended from a preseason exhibition game for unknown disciplinary reasons. He torn his ACL on Jan. 10 in a loss to Saint Louis. Four months later he withdrew from the university.

The 6-foot-5 Morgan was the Minutemen’s second-leading scorer from this past season with 13.4 points per game, playing in only 14 games.

VIDEO: Duke’s Grayson Allen beats No. 7 Virginia at the buzzer

Duke's Grayson Allen (3) and Marshall Plumlee (40) react during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Durham, N.C., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Duke won 72-65. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia sparks come-from-behind win over No. 13 Louisville

Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) goes up for a shot over Boston College’s Idy Diallo (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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Demetrius Jackson scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half and Steve Vasturia scored 15 of his 20 points in the final 20 minutes as Notre Dame landed a 71-66 win over No. 13 Louisville on Saturday afternoon.

The Fighting Irish trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but Vasturia’s hot shooting combined with Notre Dame holding Louisville to just 15 points in the final 15 minutes made all the difference.

The Fighting Irish are not as good as they were last season, but they are built in a similar mold. Jackson, as we expected, as become one of the nation’s most dynamic point guards, impossible to slow-down in isolation and ball-screen actions. Steve Vasturia emerging as a legitimate secondary option offensively and Zach Auguste is one of the nation’s most underrated big men and one of the most dangerous as the roll-man in ball-screens.

Combine all of that with a handful of shooters creating space and Bonzie Colson’s emergence as a force on the offensive glass, and Mike Brey once again has one of the nation’s most lethal offensive attacks.

Where they struggle is on the defensive end of the floor, which is what makes the end of Saturday’s win so meaningful. The Irish entered the day ranked 232nd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which more or less means they’re as good as a bad mid-major program at keeping their opponents from scoring.

But they don’t have to be great to be able to win games.

They have to be good enough and they have to get important stops.

That’s precisely what happened on Saturday.

Whether or not that actually becomes a trend for this group will be something to monitor — it happened for Duke during last year’s NCAA tournament — but the bottom-line is this: Notre Dame does something better than just about anyone else in college basketball, and that’s score the ball.

On the nights they are able to gets some stops, they are going to be able to win some games. In the last eight days, they’ve proven that, beating North Carolina, Clemson on the road and Louisville.

And that makes them dangerous in March.