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Cassius Stanley, Wendell Moore spark come-from-behind win for No. 1 Duke over Georgetown

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NEW YORK — Cassius Stanley scored 20 of his 21 points in the second half and Wendell Moore chipped in with 11 of his 17 as No. 1 Duke erased an 11 point first half deficit to knock off a feisty Georgetown team, 81-73, in the finals of the 2K Classic.

Stanley chipped in with eight rebounds and the pair combined to make all four of their threes in the win.

Vernon Carey paced Duke in the first half, scoring 16 of his 20 points, and finished with 10 boards as well.

Here are three things we can take away from the game:

1. DUKE IS DISCOVERING WHAT THEY HAVE IN VERNON CAREY

There was some skepticism coming into the season about just how good of a player and a prospect Vernon Carey was going to be.

How he fits in the modern NBA is certainly something that will be worth discussing down the road, but in the present – in terms of Duke basketball and the 2019-20 season – Carey is proving himself as one of, if not the dominant big man in college basketball.

On Friday night, he put Duke on his shoulders and carried the Blue Devils through Georgetown’s first half surge. Duke dug themselves a 29-18 hole late in the first half, and Carey had 12 of those 18 points. He scored 16 of his 20 points in the first half. This came a night after he popped off for 31 points, 12 boards and four blocks against Cal.

He’s making threes. He’s moving his feet better on the perimeter than anyone expected. He’s showing himself to be, at the very least, an adequate rim protector. And he is an absolute behemoth when he gets the ball eight feet from the rim with a defender on his hip.

“When we recruited him, everyone said he didn’t have a motor and was just a big guy,” Mike Krzyzewski said. “I always thought he was a really good basketball player that had to learn how to run and play hard. He had a great attitude. Every day he works with us and Nate James. He’s invested, and he has finesse, too. He has good feet. He’s not just a big guy, he is a good basketball player.

“He’s better than I thought. He’s a really good competitor and he shows poise. He checks a lot of boxes. [Marvin] Bagley was more of a power forward, [Jahlil Okafor] was a center and this kid is a little bit of both. He’s a really good player and a helluva teammate.”

Tre Jones is the leader for this team and, maybe, the most important player in all of college basketball. Cassius Stanley has been a pleasant surprise, and Wendell Moore played the best game of his young career on Friday despite the fact that he turned the ball over seven times.

There’s more to this roster than some of us realized in the preseason.

But Carey is the anchor, the star that an offense can be built around.

And he’s only going to get better.

2. GEORGETOWN MADE A STATEMENT IN NEW YORK CITY

It comes in waves with the Hoyas.

There are times where it looks like they could end up being the worst team in the Big East. Then they’ll go on a run where it looks like they’re going to end up getting to the Final Four.

We’ve seen it in just about every game they have played this year.

Against Mount St. Mary’s, they dug themselves a 19-point second half hole before winning fairly easily. They needed a late run against Georgia State to win. Then, after a sluggish first half against Texas, the Hoyas spent the second 20 minutes looking like the Georgetown of yesteryear, like John Thompson Jr. was on the sideline with a towel over his shoulder as Patrick Ewing swatted shots into the second deck. That run continued for the first 15 minutes against Duke.

It came in flashes, but in those flashes we saw just how good Georgetown has the potential to be this year.

“This whole trip is something that we can build on,” Ewing said. “Everyone that we have on our team is capable of playing and playing well. We went toe to toe with the No. 1 team in the country and had an opportunity to win the ball game. We beat the No. 22 team yesterday. I think that our future is bright.

“We’re improving. It’s an ongoing process. We’re getting better every day, every week. We have a lot of talent on this team. It takes a while to get. I think we’re still going through that process.”

What Ewing has at his disposal is a team with length and athleticism everywhere that is bookended by good guard play and great post play. When he can stay out of foul trouble, Omer Yurtseven is the best low-post scorer in college basketball. He played six minutes in the first half on Friday because of fouls. He didn’t have foul issues in the second half and scored 21 points. James Akinjo is still learning how to be a point guard, and there are things that you can tell drive Ewing crazy, but he is as tough and as talented as anyone at the lead guard spot in the Big East.

The x-factor is the seemingly never-ending string of long, athletic wings Ewing has. Jamorko Pickett, Galen Alexander, Josh LeBlanc, Myron Gardner, Jagan Mosley. They play hard, they play tough and they thrive in the helter-skelter, pressing style that Ewing seems to prefer.

We’ll see what Georgetown’s ceiling ends up being this season, but the thing Ewing said on Friday that I agree with more than anything is this: “At the end of the year there’s going to be a lot of teams that don’t want to play us.”

3. MATTHEW HURT’S PLAYING TIME DISAPPEARED IN THIS GAME

Matthew Hurt was a five-star, top ten recruit that was a projected first round pick and enrolled at Duke with the expectation that he could end up being the leading scorer for this team and the ideal fit alongside Carey at the four.

On Friday night, he played just five minutes, he did not get off the bench in the second half and went scoreless. This came one night after he scored all nine of his points against Cal in the final eight minutes of a 35 point win.

It begs the question: What in the world is going on here?

“Jack White was playing better,” Mike Krzyzewski said after the game. White finished with just five points, but he added three boards and three assists. He also led the Blue Devils with in +/- at plus-20.

The easy answer here is that this was just not the matchup for Hurt, who is a slow-footed stretch-four that is not exactly known for his strength or his toughness. The length and athleticism on Georgetown’s roster made White the better fit for this game.

But reading the tea leaves, there may also be more at play. Duke is a team that is going to be built on their defense this season.

“We felt starting practice that we could be food defensively with Tre there and with our depth,” Coach K said. “We’ve really devoted most of our practice to defense, and as a result we’ve gotten tougher and we’ve learned to play defense. We have also spent a lot of time on rebounding.”

Those two things are their foundation. Their strength. And they are also the weakness in Hurt’s game. His value is his ability to space the floor and stretch defenses, creating room for Carey to work in the paint, but Carey had the best two games of his college career this week in the Garden and Hurt was barely involved. If Moore is going to play the way he did Friday and Stanley is going to consistently knock down open threes, then Hurt’s shooting is not as valuable and his defensive frailty makes him a net-negative.

The caveat here is that it is the fifth game of five month season.

There is plenty of time for Hurt to develop into a valuable contributor. We knew that Duke’s roster makeup meant that they were going to be a team that is going to change based on matchup as well. It’s too early to make any grand proclamations at this point.

But it will be something that is worth monitoring for the rest of the season.

Three Things To Know: Memphis embarrassed; Luka Garza shows out again

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The story of the night in hoops was Zion Williamson’s return to the basketball court.

But there was plenty of action in the college ranks that is worthy of talking about.

Here are the three things that you need to know:

1. No. 20 MEMPHIS LOST BY 40 TO TULSA

That is not a typo.

The 20th-ranked team in the country went into Tulsa, Okla., and lost to the Golden Hurricane, 80-40. Tulsa was up 40-17 at halftime. This was a butt-whooping that was so bad that all Tulsa needed to do was score a single point in the second half and they would have been able to get the win.

Memphis shot 28 percent from the floor. They were 2-for-21 from three. They finished the night with more turnovers (20) and fouls (22) than field goals (16). This was the worst loss that a top 25 team has suffered against a ranked team in 27 years, since UConn beat then-No. 12 Virginia by 41 points.

For Tulsa, this is a massive, massive win. They are currently sitting all alone in first place in the American standings, a half-game up on Houston.

So good for Frank Haith.

But the story here is Memphis, because the Tigers, considered title contenders before the season began, look anything-but right now.

“We let our defense dictate our offense,” head coach Penny Hardaway told reporters after the game. “We didn’t play any defense today. I think today was the first day we’ve done that ll year. I don’t know if guys overlooked Tulsa because of the name. We did our due diligence as a coaching staff to let them know what was going to happen with the matchup zone and how hard they play.

“It’s pretty embarrassing.”

2. LUKA GARZA WENT NUTS AGAIN

If it seems like Garza is putting up monster numbers every games, it’s because he is.

On Wednesday night, the Hawkeyes welcomed newly-ranked Rutgers to campus and sent them home with an entertaining, hard-fought, 85-80 win. And Garza was the star of the show. He finished with 28 points, 13 boards, four blocks and two steals in the win, anchoring the paint as Iowa out-scored Rutgers 47-37 in the second half.

The big fella is now averaging 23 points and 10.5 boards.

Iowa has now won four straight games to move into a tie for third in the Big Ten standings — with Rutgers, among others — and they have won eight straight games in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. They are a third of the way through a three-game homestand as well.

3. VIRGINIA TECH TAKES DOWN NORTH CAROLINA

Virginia Tech kept up their push to finish as the fourth-best team in the ACC with a 79-77 double-overtime win over North Carolina.

The Hokies are now 14-5 overall and 5-3 in the ACC, but the more interesting story might actually be the Tar Heels.

They are 8-10 on the season and 1-6 in the ACC. They have been a disaster for the last month, but there may be some reinforcements on the way in the shape of Cole Anthony. If he returns and the Tar Heels, who are 2-7 in his absence but have wins over Alabama and Oregon with him, get things back on the right track, they are likely going to find themselves in an incredibly awkward situation on Selection Sunday.

Big 12 hands down Kansas-Kansas State fight suspensions

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The Big 12 handed down suspensions to four Kansas and Kansas State players for their role in the fight that occurred in Phog Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday night.

Silvio De Sousa, who tried to fight three different Kansas State players and picked up a stool during the melee, received a 12 game suspension from the conference. David McCormack, who went into the stands to confront James Love III, received a two game suspension. Love was given eight games for part in the fight, while Antonio Gordon, the freshman that turned a messy situation into a fight, was hit with a three game suspension.

“This kind of behavior cannot be tolerated and these suspensions reflect the severity of last evening’s events,” said Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.  “I am appreciative of the cooperation of both institutions in resolving this matter.”

In the final seconds on Tuesday night, after DaJuan Gordon stole the ball from him at halfcourt, De Sousa blocked Gordon’s shot and towered over him. That sparked an incident that turned into a full-fledged brawl, as De Sousa threw punches at three different players on Kansas State before picking up a stool as the fight spilled into the handicapped section of Kansas seating.

Self called the fight “an embarrassment” after the game, adding on Wednesday that “we are disappointed in [De Sousa’s] actions and there is no place in the game for that behavior.”

McCormack will be eligible to return for Kansas on Feb. 1st when they play Texas Tech at home. De Sousa will be available to play in the final game of the regular season at Texas Tech. Gordon can return on Feb. 3rd, when the Wildcats host Baylor, while Love will be out until late February. But he has played just one game and two minutes on the season, so there is no clear indication of when he will actually put on a Kansas State jersey again.

The four most important questions after Kansas-Kansas State fight

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Very other sport can treat brawls like comedy, and I think it’s about time that we did the same for basketball.

So let’s take a look at the four funniest moments from last night’s Kansas-Kansas State fight. Shouts to Jomboy:

1. IS THE KANSAS MASCOT OK?

Throughout the entire fight, the mascot is just in utter disbelief. He cannot believe what he just saw, and he certainly cannot be consoled:

2. CAN JEREMY CASE START AT LINEBACKER FOR KU’S FOOTBALL TEAM?

Case is the video coordinator for Kansas. He’s also a former Kansas point guard. He knows what this rivalry is all about, and he also is not going to be afraid to get in the middle of it.

Case starts out on the wrong side of the melee:

But when he sees De Sousa and Love squaring up and throwing punches, he intervenes by throwing himself into a player six inches taller than him:

3. WHAT HAPPENED TO JAMES LOVE III’S SHOE?

James Love the third has played in exactly one game this season. He has spent more time on the court fighting that he has actually playing, but he still found a way to get into the middle of this fight and, in the process, lost his shoe:

He’s not dressed for the game.

Did he bring an extra pair of shoes? Did he have to head back onto the bus without a shoe on this right foot? So many questions, so few answers.

4. WHO IS THE MAN IN THE ORANGE HAT?

He’s some kind of photographer.

He got his shot, that’s for sure:

Kansas-Kansas State fight: Nuance, context the key in Silvio De Sousa discussion

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So I wanted to elaborate on a point that I made on twitter this morning because 280 characters just is not enough to be able to parse through the nuance of this situation.

If you missed it, the thread is here.

First and foremost, everyone involved in this needs to be punished. Silvio De Sousa needs to be suspended. Antonio Gordon needs to be suspended. James Love III needs to be suspended. David McCormack, and potentially Marcus Garrett, probably need to be suspended, although I’m not sure either of them actually through a punch. Point being, anyone else that threw a punch needs to be suspended.

Full stop.

I am not saying otherwise.

But I think that it is important to add some context to the conversation, and I also think that it is important to say this: This doesn’t make any of the young men involved in this fight bad people. Silvio De Sousa is not inherently a bad person because he picked up a stool, and the faux-trage of people calling for him to get booted out of school, arrested or even deported are, at best, completely over-reacting and, at worst, showing off a bit of their racial bias.

Before I get into this, one more thing: I am not condoning any of it. Fights like this should not happen.

But the reality of hyper-competitive athletics is that in emotionally charged situations, fights are going to happen. And if you’ve ever been in a fight like this, you know that things happen incredibly quickly. You’re not thinking, you’re reacting. You can’t call a 20 second time out to come up with a way to defend yourself when someone is throwing haymakers, you just do what you can in the moment.

So let’s talk about the moment, shall we?

De Sousa is the guy that set this entire thing in motion with the way that he reacted to DaJuan Gordon’s steal and layup attempt. The reason the Kansas State bench rushes over to the scene is because De Sousa is towering over one of their freshman teammates, and the reason the Kansas sideline runs over is because the Kansas State sideline does. What turned this incident into a full-fledged brawl was Antonio Gordon flying in and shoving De Sousa over the back of the basket stanchion. De Sousa reacts by throwing punches at two different Kansas State players when a third player — James Love III, in the black polo — comes flying in and squares up with him. They both throw a few punches at each other, knocking De Sousa back over the stanchion again as Kansas staffer Jeremy Case comes flying in to break them up.

Put yourself in De Sousa’s shoes here. In the span of 10 seconds, he’s fought three different Kansas State players, sees nothing but purple in front of him and just got knocked to the ground. Is he getting jumped? Does he have to fight them 1-on-3? That’s when he grabs the stool, to defend himself, and when he sees that no one is coming after him anymore, he drops it:

Context.

He should be suspended for 8-10 games.

He set this entire thing in motion.

But maybe, just maybe, tone down the rhetoric.

Women’s Wednesday: A new column dedicated to the women of college basketball

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Welcome to CBT’s first ever weekly women’s basketball column. I’m here to help provide you with some insight into the world of women’s college hoops.

Women’s sports are reaching new heights, especially in basketball. The WNBA announced a new collective bargaining agreement starting in the 2020 season that includes a 53 percent raise, maternity benefits, a base salary and performance-based bonuses. This year’s NCAA women’s basketball tournament will be broadcasted in its entirety on ESPN, with the semifinals and championship game premiering in primetime.

Female athletes are beginning to garner the attention they deserve. Sabrina Ionescu is drawing national attention for a historic senior season, as she has 22 career triple-doubles and became Oregon’s all-time leading basketball scorer in her career-high 37-point performance against Stanford last week. In the WNBA, women such as Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, and more are shattering gender stereotypes and proving that women can play basketball at a high level, just as men can.

While women’s sports have made a push into the public eye, there is still quite a way to go. It’s important to place an emphasis on the women who excel in their sport and give them the spotlight they deserve. Too many times women are only given credit through a masculine lens, whether that’s only getting attention after receiving praise from men, being compared to a male counterpart, or being a footnote in a male athlete’s story. Female athletes deserve to be their own story.

That’s what I’m hoping to do with this column over the rest of the season — give women a place to shine. I’d like to use this space to highlight some of the amazing women that play in the NCAA and hear from them about their experiences, the records they’re setting and their basketball journey. While I won’t even begin to make a dent in the breadth of talent available in women’s college basketball, I hope to use this column each week to take a deeper dive into some incredible women, as well as give you an idea of what’s happening around the country that week.

WEDNESDAY’S NEWS AND NOTES

South Carolina sits atop the world of college hoops, earning 22 first-place votes from the AP panel to nab the No. 1 spot. The Gamecocks have an 18-1 record with wins over ranked opponents such as Maryland, Baylor, Kentucky and most recently Mississippi State.

Baylor — the reigning national champs —- sits in the No. 2 spot in the rankings after dethroning UConn and ending its dominant 98-game winning streak at home. The Lady Bears received six of the first-place votes from the AP committee.

The rest of the top five is filled out by UConn at No. 3, Oregon at No. 4 after beating then-No. 3 Stanford, and Louisville rounds it out at fifth, receiving the last two first-place votes.

In a monster performance against Stanford, Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu had a career-high 37 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. She has four triple-doubles on the season and has a chance to become the NCAA’s first player to eclipse 2,000 career points, 1,000 career rebounds and 1,000 career assists. As of Jan. 18, she has 2,265 points, 904 rebounds and 928 assists.

DePaul remains unbeaten in the Big East, with Chante Stonewall leading the team with 17.9 ppg while Kelly Campbell has 102 assists on the season, ranking No. 8 in the country.

Baylor’s 40-point victory over then-No. 17 West Virginia is their 45th consecutive Big 12 win.

Mississippi State’s JaMya Mingo-Young and Aliyah Matharu combined for 24 points and four steals off the bench in a close 79-81 loss to South Carolina on Monday.

Star freshman and No. 1 recruit Haley Jones suffered an apparent right knee injury and left Stanford’s Sunday win over Oregon State. She is scheduled to have an MRI but the team has given no further updates.

North Carolina State’s Elissa Cunane has 20+ points in four of her last six games and 10 double-doubles on the season, helping the Wolfpack to a dominant win over Florida State last week.

UCLA became the last undefeated team to fall with a double overtime loss to USC — who hadn’t yet won a Pac-12 matchup —  on Friday.

Northwestern made its debut this season in the Top-25, coming in at No. 22 — its first ranking since the 2015-2016 season.

No. 3 Oregon faces rival No. 7 Oregon State on Friday in a crucial Pac-12 matchup.

Stanford freshman Fran Belini threw down a one-handed dunk in pregame warmup before facing Oregon that you HAVE to see: