No. 3 Florida State avoids upset from No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast

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Florida State, the No. 3 seed in the West Region, was on upset alert on several occasions and even left the door open for a last-minute comeback, but in the end the Seminoles took down No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast, 86-80, on Thursday night in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

Dwayne Bacon went for a game-high 25 points followed by Jonathan Issac’s 17. Brandon Goodwin had a game-high 28 points in a losing effort.

A fun game from the start — in front an expected big crowd in Orlando — with both teams jumping out to first-half runs, as well as Dwayne Bacon and Rayjon Tucker throwing down emphatic slams.

The Seminoles surrendered the lead late in the half following a 10-0 run from the Eagles but recaptured it just before halftime, up 40-36 at the break. Dunk City made several mini runs in the second half, but could never wrestle back the lead. Part of that is due to Florida State’s size and length finally taking its toll on them. Florida State help 46-26 advantage on the glass, and even though that didn’t result in many second-chance points, dominance in that department kept the Eagles to one shot almost every trip down the floor.

It also didn’t help that Demetris Morant, the Atlantic Sun Defensive Player of the Year, rolled his ankle early in the first half and did not return. The 6-foot-9 Morant had five points and five boards in 18 minutes of action and was doing a solid job against Florida State’s frontline.

The Seminoles advance to face No. 11 seed Xavier, who knocked off No. 6 seed Maryland earlier in the evening. The Musketeers are playing much better as of late, mainly because of the stellar second half performances from Trevon Bluiett. Florida State will once again have the size advantage, but Sean O’Mara had a promising outing on Thursday, scoring a career-high 18 points and grabbing seven rebounds off the bench.

Florida Gulf Coast ends the season 26-8. The program will now endure an offseason where its head coach of four seasons, Joe Dooley, will likely be linked to several coaching vacancies.

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.


N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.