No. 7 Saint Mary’s survives No. 10 VCU

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No. 7 Saint Mary’s fended off a second-half comeback attempt by No. 10 VCU, advancing to the second round following an 85-77 win on Thursday night in Salt Lake City.

It was a matchup of contrasting styles. For the majority of the night, it was Saint Mary’s efficient offense, one that plays at a methodical pace, getting the better of VCU and its Havoc defense.

The Gaels led by as many as 17, but VCU was able to string a 15-2 run together by turning Saint Mary’s over. That cut the deficit to 56-54 with more than nine minutes remaining in regulation.

Saint Mary’s countered that by controlling the pace for the remainder of the evening. The Gaels committed five turnovers during VCU’s run. They had only a single miscue in the final nine minutes.

Saint Mary’s committed 15 turnovers on the night, but 10 of them came in spurts. The Gaels had a handful of turnovers in the opening minutes, however the Rams couldn’t take advantage of those errors. Once they settled in, the Gaels offense dominated the first half thanks to a combined 22 points from Aussies Jock Landale and Tanner Krebs. As a team, Saint Mary’s shot 64 percent from the field, taking a 46-31 lead into halftime.

VCU’s comeback attempt was curbed by a lack of 3-point threats, and the fact that Saint Mary’s spent a lot of Thursday night at the free throw line. The Gales connected on 29-of-39 from the charity stripe.

Landale ended the game with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Calvin Hermanson and Joe Rahon each had 16. JeQuan Lewis ended with a game-high 30 points.

Saint Mary’s advances to the second round to play the winner of No. 2 Arizona and No. 15 North Dakota.

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.