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No. 7 Creighton loses at home in first game without Mo Watson

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Playing their first game without Mo Watson, No. 7 Creighton dug themselves an early hole and could never climb out, losing at home to Marquette, 102-94.

On the surface, it’s pretty clear what happened here, right? The Bluejays lost their all-american point guard, the guy that set the tone for their high-octane offense, and the result was a mollywhopping in front of their home fans.

And their may be something to that. It took Creighton a while to find their footing offensively – they missed 23 of their first 34 shots from the floor – and that’s before you consider the mental side of losing the leader of your team.

But Creighton’s issue on Saturday wasn’t on the offensive side of the ball. They put up 94 points. They shot 49.3 percent from the floor and 11-for-24 from three. They only committed 11 turnovers. Isaiah Zierdan, who started in Watson’s place, finished with 15 points and hit all four of his threes. Davion Mintz, who played the majority of the minutes at the point guard spot, had 17 points and eight assists while turning the ball over just two times. Marcus Foster looked like the Marcus Foster that was first-team all-Big 12 as a freshman, finishing with 30 points.

Their transition game wasn’t quite as lethal as with Watson, but overall, Creighton scored enough to win.

Their may have been some mitigating factors there – and I’ll get to those in a second – but on paper, the defensive side of the ball was far more concerning. Simply put, you aren’t going to win many games when you give up 1.275 points-per-possession or allow an opponent to shoot 60 percent from the floor.

Now maybe there was a reason that Creighton struggled so much early in the game. Maybe there numbers are somewhat inflated by the fact that Marquette was trying not to foul down the stretch. Maybe Creighton’s effectiveness offensively had just as much to do with them as it did with a Marquette team that entered Saturday ranked 143rd in KenPom’s defensive efficiency metric.

Calling a home loss to a likely NIT team promising is silly.

But there is reason to be optimistic if you are a Creighton fan.

They got lit up by a team with one of the nation’s most efficient offenses. It happens. But if they can keep scoring at this clip, maybe their ceiling didn’t fall quite as far as we thought it would in a post-Mo Watson world.

VIDEO: Jay-Z’s nephew posterizes nation’s No. 1 recruit Marvin Bagley III

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Nahziah Carter is an unsigned 6-foot-6 wing in the Class of 2017.

He’s also Jay-Z’s nephew, and he just so happened to posterize Marvin Bagley III — the clearcut No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018 — while Hova was in the stands watching him.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.