D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera

Georgetown knocks off Providence to continue recent surge

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Georgetown looked dead in the water as of two weeks ago. The Hoyas had lost five straight games in Big East play and it didn’t seem like head coach John Thompson III and Georgetown had a lot of hope going into February.

But after a win at Madison Square Garden over a top-10 program in Michigan State, and three Big East wins, are the Hoyas ready for a run in the Big East? Following Georgetown’s 83-71 win over Providence at home on Monday, the Hoyas certainly have some hope.

At 15-9 — and 6-6 in the Big East — Georgetown’s record is hardly something to fawn over, but they’ll have plenty of opportunities to win against quality opponents down the stretch.

Georgetown has a ridiculous six-game Big East stretch that includes games at St. John’s, at Seton Hall, home against Xavier, at Marquette, home against Creighton and on the road at Villanova. Of the six teams I just mentioned in Georgetown’s remaining schedule, the Hoyas lost to five of them during that aforementioned Big East losing streak.

So have the Hoyas changed since that losing streak and are they turning it around?

The short answer is, yes, and the return of Jabril Trawick is a big reason why. The 6-foot-5 guard doesn’t have gaudy statistics — he’s averaging 7.4 points a game in nearly 24 minutes of action — but he gives the Hoyas the guard depth that they were lacking without him on the bench when he was injured in January.

Trawick missed four out of the five Georgetown losses during that losing streak and he only returned to play 12 minutes in the fifth loss against Villanova.

With Trawick getting 20-plus minutes a game — as he has in his last four — Georgetown has been able to win because he stabilizes their backcourt enough to be a big difference maker for a team that struggled on offense at times without him.

Georgetown now has another secondary ball handler to alleviate the pressure thrown at D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Markel Starks and it gives them another dribble-penetrator that can do a bit for himself off-the-bounce.

Nobody is mistaking Georgetown for any kind of major contender, but with Trawick back in the lineup, they’ll make for a really tough out during the rest of Big East play.

The question remains, can Georgetown get revenge on those teams that beat them during this difficult final six-game stretch, or are the Hoyas overmatched and in for a mediocre finish to a mediocre season?

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.