SEC Basketball Tournament - First Round

Kevin Stallings adds assistants Adam Cohen, Derrick Jones to Vanderbilt coaching staff

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With David Cason (VCU) and Yanni Hufnagel (California) moving on to new assistant coaching positions, Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings had two openings to fill on his staff this spring. Friday the news of two new hires was made official by the school, with Adam Cohen (from Harvard) and Derrick Jones (Louisiana Tech) making the move to Nashville.

Cohen spent one season at Harvard, helping head coach Tommy Amaker lead the Crimson to a third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and a win over Cincinnati in the Round of 64. Prior to joining Amaker’s staff, where he filled the vacancy left when Hufnagel moved from Harvard to Vanderbilt, Cohen was an assistant at Rice for the 2012-13 season.

As for Jones, he arrives at Vanderbilt after having spent the last four seasons on Michael White’s staff at Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs won 29 games in 2013-14, reaching the title game of the Conference USA tournament and playing in the Postseason NIT.

“I am excited to have Adam Cohen and Derrick Jones join the Commodore basketball family,” Stallings said in the release. “Both are extremely hard workers, great recruiters, and good men, and have very impressive backgrounds. We look forward to these men interacting and mentoring our current players, and helping me find the next generation of Commodore basketball on the recruiting trail. We are thrilled to have them and their families in Nashville.”

Cohen and Jones join Tom Richardson on Stallings’ staff heading into the 2014-15 season. Richardson has been with the Vanderbilt program since 2003.

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)