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Georgetown’s Jessie Govan declaring for draft without an agent

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Georgetown’s double-double machine is off to see what the NBA has to say about his game.

Jessie Govan, who averaged 17.9 points and 10 rebounds per game last season, will declare for the NBA draft, but will not initially hire an agent, he announced Wednesday.

“This allows me to become one step closer to my dreams without giving up my college eligibility,” Govan wrote on social media. “Thank you to all my coaches, teammates, and everyone that has watched me on this journey, and it’s not over yet.”

The 6-foot-10 Govan had a breakout junior season after averaging 10.1 points and 5 rebounds per game as a sophomore. He saw his role expand, and his defensive rebound percentage explode under first-year coach Patrick Ewing. He also shot 52.9 percent on 2-pointers while converting at 34.8 percent on 46 attempts from 3-point range.

The 2018 draft is top-heavy with bigs, so Govan could find it difficult to break into the first round, but after such a big junior campaign, it’s certainly worth getting in front of NBA decision-makers to hear their opinions on his game.

Hart leads Villanova past Hoyas 81-67 in Big East quarters

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
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NEW YORK (AP) Josh Hart scored 25 points, Ryan Arcidiacono added 19 points and six assists, and third-ranked Villanova pulled away from Georgetown in the second half to open its bid for consecutive Big East Tournament titles with an 81-67 quarterfinal win Thursday.

Kris Jenkins added 15 points for the top-seeded Wildcats (28-4), who made 13 of their 21 3-point attempts.

The eighth-seeded Hoyas (15-18), whose first-round game ended about 15 hours earlier, led 47-46 midway through the second half before Arcidiacono and Hart led Villanova on a game-breaking run.

Georgetown had 16 offensive rebounds to just four for the Wildcats but converted them into only 12 second-chance points. Villanova, meanwhile, took full advantage of the Hoyas’ mistakes, turning 11 turnovers into 20 points.

The Wildcats had been 0-5 against Georgetown at the Big East Tournament.

L.J. Peak led the Hoyas with 19 points.

Villanova meets Butler or Providence in Friday’s semifinals.

With his team down a point with just over 10 minutes left, Hart knifed through the defense for a layup that put Villanova ahead for good. Arcidiacono hit two 3-pointers then dished to Hart in transition off a turnover for a three-point play that made it 60-48 with 7 1/2 minutes remaining.

Villanova big man Daniel Ochefu, playing on a sprained ankle, had no points and no rebounds in 13 minutes. But the taller Hoyas weren’t able to take advantage enough inside. Center Bradley Hayes, who returned Wednesday night with 10 points after missing six games with a broken left hand, wasn’t able to get many touches other than one stretch at the start of the second half.

Neither team scored for nearly five minutes late in the first half before Jenkins hit a 3-pointer with 8 seconds remaining to give Villanova a 28-27 lead at the break.

FOULS OUT

There were just eight fouls called and no free throws shot in the first half, with the referees allowing physical play more reminiscent of a 1980s Big East game. It was a complete reversal from the tournament’s previous game that ended about 12 hours earlier, when Marquette and St. John’s combined for 53 fouls and 66 free throws Wednesday night.

There were 27 fouls and 37 free throws in the second half, though many of those came when Georgetown was playing catch-up.

TIP-INS

Georgetown: Leading scorer D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera was poked in the eye with just under four minutes left in the first half. He returned in the final seconds. Georgetown failed to score in his absence. Smith-Rivera finished with eight points on 4-of-11 shooting, missing all four 3-point tries. … Hayes had 13 points and nine rebounds.

Villanova: Arcidiacono twice went diving into the stands, once in each half. … Darryl Reynolds had four blocks and three steals.

UP NEXT

Villanova plays Butler or Providence in Friday’s semifinals.

Georgetown’s season likely ends with a 15-18 record.

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: No. 11 Providence, No. 20 Kentucky fall

AP Photo/Wade Payne
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: DePaul 77, No. 11 Providence 70

Ben Bentil left the game with an ankle injury, Kris Dunn struggled and no one else could get going for the Friars. When that happens the Friars are in trouble, as Rob Dauster notes here. Myke Henry was the standout for the Blue Demons, scoring 27 points and grabbing 11 rebounds with Billy Garrett Jr. adding 16 points, six rebounds and four assists. Dunn led Providence with 14 points and eight assists, but he shot 5-for-20 from the field, and as a team the Friars shot 39.3 percent from the field.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

Tennessee 84, No. 20 Kentucky 77: The Volunteers came back from 21 points down late in the first half to beat the Wildcats in Lexington, with Kevin Punter leading the way with 27 points. Armani Moore also played well for the Vols, adding 18 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Jamal Murray scored 21 points and Tyler Ulis 20 for the Wildcats, who lost to an unranked opponent for the fifth time this season. And for the young Wildcats, some familiar issues got them in trouble Tuesday night.

No. 14 West Virginia 82, No. 13 Iowa State 77: Jaysean Paige scored 23 points off the bench and Devin Williams added 17 points and 18 boards as the Mountaineers erased a 15-point deficit to win in Ames. Georges Niang scored 20 points for the Cyclones but he also turned the ball over eight times, with fellow front court starter Jameel McKay having four turnovers himself. As for WVU, after getting blown out at Florida Saturday Bob Huggins’ team showed the toughness we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from them.

Butler 87, Georgetown 76: Kelan Martin put forth an outstanding showing in Butler’s win over Georgetown, scoring 35 points and grabbing eight rebounds in a key matchup for both teams. This is Butler’s first Big East win over a team other than DePaul or St. John’s, and even with their non-conference slate the Bulldogs were trending in the wrong direction prior to Tuesday night. This win helps, and on the other side of the equation the Hoyas find themselves in even greater trouble when it comes to the NCAA tournament.

MORE: Tuesday’s Bubble Banter

STARRED

Ray Lee, Eastern Michigan: Lee played just 24 minutes in the Eagles’ 94-69 win over Miami (Ohio). He scored 46 points, shooting 9-for-11 from three (11-for-16 from the field), so took full advantage of his time on the court.

Kelan Martin, Butler: Martin scored 35 points and grabbed eight rebounds off the bench in the Bulldogs’ win over Georgetown.

Shawn Long, Louisiana-Lafayette: 28 points and 17 rebounds in the Ragin’ Cajuns’ overtime win over UL-Monroe.

Devin Williams, West Virginia: Williams scored 17 points and grabbed a career-high 18 boards in the Mountaineers’ win at No. 13 Iowa State.

STRUGGLED

Reed Timmer, Drake: Timmer finished the Bulldogs’ loss at Indiana State with 15 points, ten rebounds and four assists. But he scored those points on 5-for-20 shooting from the field.

Kris Dunn, Providence: Losing Ben Bentil after 14 minutes didn’t help matters for Dunn, who shot 5-for-20 from the field in the Friars’ loss at DePaul.

Four McGlynn, Rhode Island: With the Rams playing without Jarvis Garrett (jaw) and Kuran Iverson (concussion), McGlynn had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders Tuesday night. He finished the Rams’ overtime loss at UMass with 13 points and four assists, but he shot 3-for-16 from the field and committed six turnovers.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Buddy Hield led six Sooners in double figures with 17 points as No. 1 Oklahoma blew out TCU, 95-72. Hield’s failed to reach 20 points in a game just three times in Big 12 play this season, but the Sooners have won all three of those games (West Virginia and Baylor being the others).
  • After getting off to a slow start Indiana flipped the switch in a big way, outscoring the Wolverines 41-9 over the final 14:31 of the first half and going on to win comfortably 80-67. Yogi Ferrell scored 17 points and dished out nine assists to lead the way for Indiana, which continues to make strides defensively.
  • Yante Maten accounted for 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks at Georgia beat No. 25 South Carolina 69-56. The Gamecocks are now 19-3 on the season, but given their non-conference slate Frank Martin’s team doesn’t have a large margin for error down the stretch.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • Josh Williams scored 20 points, shooting 7-for-8 from the field, as Akron went on the road and beat Ohio, 80-68. Keith Dambrot’s Zips are now alone atop the MAC East standings at 7-2, one game ahead of Kent State (which lost at Central Michigan).
  • Ben Simmons tallied 21 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists to lead LSU to an 80-68 win at Auburn.
  • Clemson outscored Wake Forest 56-34 in the second half of their 76-62 win in Winston-Salem. Jaron Blossomgame posted a double-double, finishing with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
  • Michael Gbinije scored 17 points and Tyler Roberson added 12 points and 15 rebounds as Syracuse beat Virginia Tech 68-60 in overtime. The Orange have now won five of their last six games.
  • Louisiana-Lafayette won its seventh straight game, moving to 8-3 in the Sun Belt with a 72-65 overtime win over UL-Monroe. Shawn Long finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds.
  • Grayson Allen scored 27 points and grabbed seven rebounds, and Brandon Ingram chipped in 15 points, ten boards and four blocks despite an off shooting night to win at Georgia Tech 80-71. The Blue Devils were without head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who remained in Durham due to illness.
  • James Webb III scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds as Boise State held off Utah State, 70-67. The Broncos held the Aggies without a point over the final 2:49.
  • San Diego State moved to 10-0 in Mountain West play with a 69-67 win over Colorado State. Trey Kell scored 19 points and Jeremy Hemsley added 16 and five assists for the Aztecs, who host second place New Mexico (7-2) on Saturday.

BIG EAST CONFERENCE RESET: Can anyone dethrone Villanova?

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
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College basketball’s non-conference season is coming to a close, and to help you shake off post-holiday haze and the hangover of losing in your fantasy football playoffs, we’ll be providing you with some midseason primers to get you caught up on all the nation’s most important conferences.

Today, we’re taking a look at the Big East.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kris Dunn, Providence

This decision was made somewhat difficult by the combination of Dunn missing some games due to illness and other players excelling in non-conference play. But it’s hard to overlook his influence on a team that enters Big East play ranked 12th in the AP poll after being projected as a bubble team in the preseason. Dunn’s averaging 16.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game for the Friars, and his turnovers (2.9) are down more than one per game from last season’s average (4.2).

ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM

  • Kris Dunn, Providence
  • Trevon Bluiett, Xavier
  • Josh Hart, Villanova
  • Ben Bentil, Providence
  • Henry Ellenson, Marquette

[2015 REVIEW: Best Dunks | Best Games]

WHAT WE’VE LEARNED

  1. The Big East is one of the nation’s best leagues: The preseason conversations regarding the best conference in college basketball centered on the ACC, Big 12 and Big Ten, but through non-conference play the Big East has stepped forward into that discussion. Xavier’s been one of the most impressive teams in the country to this point, two-time defending champion Villanova’s lone defeats came against two Top 10 teams in Oklahoma and Virginia, and Butler is 10-1. Joining those contenders has been 12-1 Providence, and both Marquette and Seton Hall are off to good starts as well.
  2. Xavier’s depth and talent make it Villanova’s biggest threat: The biggest question for the Musketeers entering the season was how they’d fill the hole left by the graduation of Dee Davis at the point. Would Edmond Sumner be ready to take the reins after redshirting last season? To this point Sumner has indeed been the answer Chris Mack needed at the point, giving the Musketeers an athletic finisher who continues to improve as a floor general. And he’s surrounded with a host of experienced options, including Trevon Bluiett, Myles Davis and Jalen Reynolds, who can put points on the board. That makes Xavier the team best equipped to challenge reigning Big East champ Villanova.
  3. To look at Providence as “Kris Dunn and some other dudes” would be a big mistake: While Dunn was a preseason favorite for National Player of the Year honors, many didn’t know what to make of the rest of Ed Cooley’s team. Heading into their conference opener against Butler the Friars are ranked in the top ten, and this has been no one-man operation. Sophomore Ben Bentil has been one of the nation’s most improved players, Rodney Bullock’s given them another quality front court option, and role players such as Junior Lomomba have been productive as well. Will the Friars be a top ten team throughout league play? That remains to be seen, but this has been an impressive group worthy of Big East contender status.

[CONFERENCE RESETS: ACC | Big Ten | American]

KEY STORY LINES IN LEAGUE PLAY

  1. Villanova’s perimeter shooting: For a team loaded with quality guards, the Wildcats’ shooting in non-conference play was a surprise. Jay Wright’s team is shooting just 31.1 percent from three on the season, with nearly 52 percent of their field goal attempts being three-pointers. Josh Hart (39 percent) and Ryan Arcidiacono (37 percent) have been the best of the bunch, and they’ll need players such as Jalen Brunson, Phil Booth and Kris Jenkins to raise their perimeter accuracy moving forward.
  2. Does Georgetown have what it takes to rebound: With two of their first three losses coming against very good Maryland and Duke teams, not too many worried about the Hoyas’ 1-3 start after a five-game win streak made John Thompson III’s team appear to be okay. But after dropping games to Monmouth and UNC Asheville and escaping with a win at Charlotte, there are some significant issues to be addressed. Paul White’s struggled with health, and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera hasn’t been the player many envisioned him being when he changed course and decided to return for his senior year. Can they turn things around and be the contender many expected them to be?
  3. Marquette, Seton Hall looking to make NCAA tournament push: Both the Golden Eagles and Pirates put together quality records in non-conference play, which sets them up for run at NCAA tournament bids as conference play begins. And the strength of the Big East can help both in the quality wins department, with Seton Hall’s best win coming against Wichita State and Marquette’s being at the expense of Arizona State. Marquette’s Henry Ellenson has been one of the nation’s best freshmen, but their tournament hopes may hinge on the development of their perimeter rotation. As for the Pirates, this sophomore-laden group will lean on Isaiah Whitehead and Desi Rodriguez as they look for their first tournament bid since 2006.
Xavier's Edmond Sumner (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Xavier’s Edmond Sumner (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

[NEW PODCAST | NEW TOP 25]

BETTER THAN THEIR RECORD: On Monday’s podcast, my colleague Rob Dauster said that he believed that Villanova was the fourth-best team in the conference, that their issues shooting the ball combined with their question marks in the front court left them susceptible to being picked off. Jay Wright’s club has their issues, but they also have a total of four losses in Big East play the last two years.

BEAT SOMEONE AND WE’LL TALK: On paper, Marquette looks like the real deal. They have a slew of highly-regarded guards surrounding a pair of NBA-caliber big men in Henry Ellenson and Luke Fischer. And as good as they’ve looked in bursts this season, their best wins are over a depleted LSU, Arizona State and a Wisconsin team that has already lost five games. They were also embarrassed on their home floor by Iowa and lost to Belmont in Milwaukee. I want to believe in Marquette, but they need to beat one of the top four teams in the league for me to get there fully.

COACH UNDER PRESSURE: Georgetown has been by far the most disappointing team in the Big East and one of the most disappointing teams in the country. They have top 20 talent on the roster, but they’ve lost at home to Radford, UNC Asheville and Monmouth, the latter of which was a blowout. Given who his father is, it’s going to be very hard for the program to jettison John Thompson III, but if he can’t turn this thing around, he’s going to be a name that pops up on hot seat lists.

POWER RANKINGS, POSTSEASON PREDICTIONS

Tourney teams

  • 1. Xavier: Chris Mack’s team, which reached the Sweet 16 a season ago, has everything a team needs to not only reach that point but go further. And if Edmond Sumner continues to develop at the point, Houston is possible.
  • 2. Villanova: The Wildcats do have to shoot better from the perimeter than they have, and with players such as Arcidiacono, Brunson and Hart they’re capable of turning things around on that front. But do they have enough in the post to play deep into March?
  • 3. Butler: The Bulldogs don’t defend as well as they did in years past, but they’re better offensively thanks to the presence of two playmakers in Tyler Lewis and Roosevelt Jones.
  • 4. Providence: Dunn and Bentil have been excellent, but Ed Cooley’s had many other contributors step forward as well. And their play with Dunn out of the lineup can only help the confidence of those supplementary players moving forward.
  • 5. Marquette: The Golden Eagles’ best wins have come over teams likely to land on the bubble (Arizona State, LSU, Wisconsin). They’ve got an extremely talented front court tandem in Ellenson and Fischer, but the key moving forward: the guards keeping the turnovers (19.6 percent turnover rate) to a minimum.

NIT teams

  • 6. Seton Hall: The progress made by Desi Rodriguez has been huge for the Pirates, who have wins over Ole Miss and Wichita State on their résumé. Kevin Willard’s team will go as far as their sophomore class, led by Rodriguez, Isaiah Whitehead and Angel Delgado, can lead them.
  • 7. Georgetown: The Hoyas have NCAA tournament talent, but they haven’t played to that level on a consistent basis thus far. The biggest issues have been on the offensive end, but they need to be better on the glass as well (7th in defensive rebounding percentage).
  • 8. Creighton: With Maurice Watson Jr. on the leading a balanced offensive attack, the Bluejays could surprise some people in league play. But in order to do so, they’ll need to improve defensively (last in field goal percentage defense, ninth in three-point percentage defense).

Autobid or bust

  • 9. DePaul: The Blue Demons did manage to knock off a ranked George Washington squad, but they’re unlikely to make a major move up the Big East pecking order.
  • 10. St. John’s: This is a rebuilding year for the Red Storm, who still hope to add Marcus LoVett Jr. at some point in the near future. That being said, they compete and are capable of pulling off some upsets in league play.

Georgetown tops Indiana, 91-87, in an overtime thriller at Madison Square Garden

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Georgetown overcame a 10-point halftime deficit. Indiana (more like Yogi Ferrell) scored seven points in the last 90 seconds of regulation to force overtime.

But in the extra frame, the Georgetown duo of D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Joshua Smith were too much for the Hoosiers, as the Hoyas picked up an important 91-87 win on Saturday afternoon inside Madison Square Garden in one of the best games of the season.

For the Hoyas, this was a great way to end the non-conference portion of their schedule, as they hope to see similar results when they return to The Garden in March. Georgetown has the makings of a top-25 team, though, didn’t have the resume to match. In the Battle 4 Atlantis, Georgetown topped an injury-plagued Florida team, and took Wisconsin to the wire, only to lose by three. The Hoyas also hosted Kansas earlier this month, but suffered a five-point loss.

At different points of the game, both teams showed why they’ll both be tough outs in their respective conferences.

After being plagued by three fouls in the first half, Smith scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half and overtime, grabbing six boards (five offensive) and recorded two steals. He gave Georgetown the inside presence Indiana couldn’t handle.

In the first half, the Hoosiers opened up a double-digit lead thanks to 3-point shooting from Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr. The two guards combined for six of Indiana’s seven 3-pointers. The Hoosiers would score 26 of their 40 first half points off 3-point attempts, as Georgetown fouled two 3-point shooters, resulting in five points from the free throw line. Georgetown held dig itself into a whole, missing way too many point-blank shots.

Troy Williams had a great showing, especially in the second half, making plays for teammates, crashing the glass and hustling for 50/50 balls.

Smith-Rivera scored 24 of his game-high 29 after halftime and Aaron Bowen had a career-high 20 off the bench. Ferrell was one of three IU players to go over 20 with a team-high 27. Williams had 23 and Blackmon added 22.

Georgetown reveals new jerseys for 2014-2015 season (PHOTO)

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On Wednesday, Georgetown took team photos, unveiling the program’s new uniforms from Jordan. There aren’t too much changes to the new jerseys, which isn’t always a bad thing. Just ask Louisville.

The team’s Instagram account also posted a video of the photo shoot, which features brief glimpses of the road navy blue uniforms.

Georgetown begins its season on Nov. 15 against St. Francis (N.Y.) at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.