D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera

Georgetown takes big step towards NCAA tournament with win over No. 13 Creighton

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Hoyas got the win they so desperately needed.

Georgetown entered Tuesday night’s tilt with No. 13 Creighton snuggled up with the wrong side of the bubble’s cutline, but thanks to a hot-shooting first half and some clutch plays from D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Markel Starks in the final minutes, John Thompson III’s club took a major step towards the NCAA tournament with a 75-63 win.

Smith-Rivera led the way with 18 points, 10 boards and three assists while Markel Starks added 17 points, 11 assists and the two biggest plays of the game.

Creighton had cut a 16 point lead to just six with two minutes left in the game and Starks answered with a vicious crossover and pull-up jumper to put the Hoyas back up eight. On the ensuing Creighton possession, Grant Gibbs hit his second straight three, but Starks followed that up with a beautiful dime to Aaron Bowen to put Georgetown up seven and all but ice the win.

The enormity of this win cannot be overstated for the Hoyas.

They had five top 50 wins entering the night, including a neutral court win over Michigan State at Madison Square Garden, but with a 16-12 record — including two losses to Seton Hall and an embarrassing defeat to RPI No. 221 Northeastern — nothing was guaranteed.

In fact, there still are no guarantees. If the Hoyas truly want to dance, they either need to win at Villanova on Saturday or pick up a couple of good wins in the Big East tournament. Their work isn’t done yet, but Tuesday’s win was a big step in the right direction.

If the Hoyas do manage to play their way into the dance, this is a team that could cause some trouble thanks to their two guards. Starks and Smith-Rivera can matchup with any back court in the country, particularly with their ability to hit shots.

The key for the Hoyas, however, is their supporting cast. Mikael Hopkins finally stayed out of foul trouble, and he was able to chip in with 10 points, five boards and five huge blocks. Jabril Trawick scored 13 points in the first half and combined with Aaron Bowen to fluster Doug McDermott and make him uncomfortable on the catch. McDermott never was in a rhythm, as he finished with 22 points and 12 boards but shot just 9-for-23 from the field and 4-for-11 from three. He missed some looks he usually makes and even bricked a couple of free throws.

North Carolina to wear black jerseys December 19 vs. UCLA

UNC Athletic Communications
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While there have been some alterations made to North Carolina’s basketball uniforms over the years, there haven’t been too many drastic shifts. Of course there was the move to the Alexander Julian-designed argyle print during the 1990’s, and there were also those jerseys in 1999 that had the interlocking “NC” logo as opposed to “North Carolina” on the front.

Friday the program announced a major uniform change for its game against UCLA December 19 in Brooklyn. North Carolina will be wearing black jerseys for the first time in school history. Senior guard Marcus Paige showed off the new look to his teammates, and it’s safe to say that they’re happy with the new uniforms.

Traditionalists probably won’t like the uniforms, and that’s fine. Changes such as these tend to focus more on the younger crowd (especially recruits), which in some instances like the status that can come with having something that’s both new and exclusive.

Villanova forward to undergo hip surgery

Jay Wright
Associated Press
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Two-time defending Big East champion Villanova will be down a man in its front court, as the program announced Friday that freshman forward Tim Delaney will undergo hip surgery. According to the release a torn labrum in Delaney’s left hip is the reason for the surgery, and it has yet to be determined how long the freshman will be sidelined.

“I’m disappointed for Tim,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “Tim had a great summer and preseason. He’s a very coachable young man and was picking up everything we do. The good news is that the doctors tell us this is an injury that can be fixed and we know Tim will be fully committed to his rehab.”

Villanova’s front court rotation will be led by senior Daniel Ochefu, who averaged 9.2 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds per game in 2014-15. Junior Darryl Reynolds and sophomore Kris Jenkins will also see minutes in the front court, with redshirt freshman guard/forward Mikal Bridges factoring into the competition as well.

Villanova also has Fordham transfer Eric Paschall, but he isn’t eligible to compete in games this season.