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Devon Hall leads way as No. 9 Virginia beats VaTech 71-48

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — London Perrantes says he knew all along that No. 9 Virginia had the answers it needed to questions about its offense.

More and more, his teammates are proving him right, and the Cavaliers showed it in drubbing rival Virginia Tech 71-48 on Wednesday night.

Devon Hall had 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists, and Isaiah Wilkins scored a career-best 15 with nine rebounds to lead Virginia. Perrantes added 14 points for the Cavaliers (17-4, 7-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who led throughout after scoring the first 10 points and were never threatened.

“From the jump, ever since we started practicing and during the summer, I knew we had weapons from the top to the bottom,” said Perrantes, the team’s point guard and lone scholarship senior. “It just comes with game experience. … They all have a lot of game experience and it’s just building their confidence and we’re just building chemistry around it.”

The game was Virginia’s first since losing on a tip-in at the buzzer against defending national champion Villanova on Sunday , and its sixth win in the last seven games. The emergence of Wilkins, who has scored in double figures in four of the last five, has been a big reason.

“I just think back to how I played in high school, how I would just take shots when they were there,” said the junior, who made all six shots at Villanova and his first six against the Hokies. “If I’m open I’m going to shoot the ball.”

The Hokies (16-6, 5-5) got 14 points from Seth Allen and 12 from Zach LeDay, but were held 33 points below their season average by the nation’s stingiest scoring defense. Virginia Tech became the sixth team held under 50 points by the Cavaliers this season.

The Cavaliers outscored the Hokies 18-3 off offensive rebounds, grabbing 11 to just three for Virginia Tech.

“It started bad and it stayed bad,” Hokies coach Buzz Williams said, noting that Virginia scored on four putbacks in the opening minutes.

The loss was the 17th in a row for the Hokies in road or neutral-site games against ranked teams since they won at Virginia in 2012.

Virginia led by as many as 15 in the first half and by 35-21 at halftime. They pushed the lead as high as 19 early in the second half before an 8-0 run by the Hokies pulled them to 52-41 with 8:42 left. Virginia scored the next nine points.

The Hokies played the game with retired Hall of Fame football coach Frank Beamer joining them on the bench throughout.

“I just wanted to honor him, would be the quickest explanation,” Williams said.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech: The Hokies have vastly improved under Williams and began the night over .500 in the ACC after nine league games for the first time since the 2010-11 season. But winning on the road is often the hardest thing to learn for a team on the rise.

Virginia: The continuing emergence of willing and capable scorers bodes well for the Cavaliers. Virginia freshman Ty Jerome took it upon himself to take the big shot late against Villanova, and Wilkins has scored in double figures in three straight and four of his last five games.

After his performance in the final seconds at Villanova, Jerome was greeted like a new crowd favorite when he entered the game.

UP NEXT

The Hokies have some time to work on things before trying to get their road game going at Miami next Wednesday night.

Virginia goes back on the road for a game against Syracuse on Saturday at noon.

Comic-Con forces Providence to play at Alumni Hall for home opener

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Providence will play its first game at Alumni Hall, the on-campus facility, for the first time in 35 years this fall.

The Friars unveiled their 2017-18 non-conference schedule on Thursday afternoon. The team’s home opener will play either Houston Baptist or Belmont in Mullaney Gym inside Alumni Hall.

According to Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal, the reason for that is a schedule conflict at Providence’s home arena, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, in downtown Providence. A Comic-Con convention is scheduled Nov. 10-12. As McNamara notes, it’s a busy part of the season for The Dunk. The arena also is home to the Providence Bruins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Boston Bruins, and by mid-November, their season is in full swing.

The Friars haven’t played at Alumni Hall since 1972, the same year the Dunkin’ Donuts Center was opened. In the three decades since Providence last played a regular season game there, the facility has gone under necessary renovations, as you could imagine. Even with added seats, Mullaney Gym can host a maximum of 1,549. That’s a fraction of what The Dunk’s capacity of 12,400.

Providence will return to its downtown home on Nov. 13, hosting Minnesota as part of the Gavitt Games. The Golden Gophers will likely be a top-20 team to open the season. The Friars, who bring back every notable player from last year’s NCAA Tournament team, is a fringe top-25 team.

Jalen Coleman-Lands to transfer out of Illinois

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The already-thin Illinois roster got thinner on Thursday afternoon.

Evan Daniels of Scout.com reported that sophomore guard Jalen Coleman-Lands has requested and received his release from the program. He will have to sit out next season but will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Coleman-Lands was a top-40 recruit in the Class of 2015, according to Rivals. He becomes the second player from that recruiting class this month to exit the school. Reserve guard D.J. Williams elected to transfer on May 8. With Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett, two incoming recruits, both previously reopened their recruitments following John Groce’s firing.

Even with the addition of Wright State graduate transfer Mark Alstork, who officially joined the Fighting Illini on Wednesday, Illinois is left with only nine scholarship players as of right now.

Coleman-Lands’ production dipped from his freshman campaign, ending the 2016-17 season averaging 8.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, shooting 38 percent from three.

One destination that will likely be rumored will be nearby DePaul. Coleman-Lands played for new DePaul assistant coach Shane Heirman at prep school powerhouse La Lumiere School. Heriman quickly tapped into that prep pipeline, helping secure a commitment from La Lumiere from five-star 2019 point guard Tyger Campbell earlier this month.

Coleman-Lands had taken official visits to Notre Dame and UNLV before committing to the Illini in September 2014.

North Carolina releases response to latest NCAA Notice of Allegations

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North Carolina is still trying to convince the NCAA that their investigation into the paper classes given by the university’s African-American Studies Department is not, in fact, an NCAA matter.

On Thursday afternoon, the University released their response to the NCAA’s third iteration of the Notice of Allegations, and the core argument in that response is that the school’s “inadequate academic oversight” does not fall under the jurisdiction of the NCAA’s bylaws. In other words, North Carolina is arguing that a rogue professor creating fake classes is not an NCAA issue. It’s a school issue.

What’s more, North Carolina is also arguing that athletes taking these classes should not be classified as an extra benefit because they were available to the entire student body.

“No special arrangements were made for student-athletes in violation of NCAA extra-benefit legislation,” the response reads. “Student-athletes were not treated differently than other students who took the Courses.”

“The public narrative for the last six years, popularized by media accounts, is that Department of Athletics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took advantage of ‘fake classes’ in the Department of African and African-American Studies to keep student-athletes eligible. That narrative is wrong and contradicted by the facts in the record.”

The NCAA’s allegations center around the idea that UNC’s athletes, most notably members of the football and men’s and women’s basketball teams, were guided to the fake classes within that department in order to keep their GPAs high enough to remain eligible. The classes in question had a disproportionate percentage of athletes.

A hearing in front of the Committee on Infractions is expected to take place at some point this summer.

No indictment for escort, staffer in Louisville sex scandal

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A grand jury declined to indict an escort and former Louisville men’s basketball staffer in a sex scandal that engulfed the program.

The Jefferson County grand jury decided Thursday there wasn’t enough evidence for charges of prostitution and unlawful transactions with a minor against Katina Powell and Andre McGee.

Powell wrote in a book published in 2015 that McGee hired her to provide dancers to perform sex acts for Cardinal recruits and players from 2010-2014.

The announcement by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office comes as the school awaits discipline in early June by the NCAA after an investigation.

Louisville has imposed its own penalties, including a postseason ban in 2015-16 and reductions in scholarships and recruiting visits by coaches.

2017 NBA Mock Draft: Post Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline

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Last week, the fearless leaders of Pro Basketball Talk and College Basketball Talk joined forces to put together a comprehensive mock of the first round of the NBA Draft.

That podcast was recorded prior to the NBA Draft Lottery, which took place last week, and the NCAA’s deadline for underclassmen to return to school, which was Wednesday night at midnight. At a later date, we’ll roll through the updated draft order more in depth, but for now, here is a new mock draft based on the order the teams will actually be picking in.

At the bottom of this post you can find the original podcast, with all of our prospect analysis and thought processes for each team’s draft needs:

1. BOSTON (via Brooklyn) – Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
2. LAKERS – Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
3. PHILADELPHIA – Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
4. PHOENIX – De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
5. SACRAMENTO – Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
6. ORLANDO – Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
7. MINNESOTA – Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona
8. NEW YORK – Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
9. DALLAS – Jonathan Isaac, PF, Florida State
10. SACRAMENTO (via New Orleans) – Dennis Smith Jr., PG, N.C. State
11. CHARLOTTE – Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga
12. DETROIT –  Donovan Mitchell, CG, Louisville
13. DENVER – O.G. Anunoby, SF, Indiana
14. MIAMI – Justin Jackson, SG, North Carolina
15. PORTLAND – Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
16. CHICAGO – Luke Kennard, SG, Duke
17. MILWAUKEE – Justin Patton, C, Creighton
18. INDIANA – John Collins, C, Wake Forest
19. ATLANTA – Terrence Ferguson, SG, Austrailia
20. PORTLAND (via Memphis) – Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
21. OKLAHOMA CITY – Semi Ojeleye, PF, SMU
22. BROOKLYN (via Washington) – Isaiah Hartenstein, C, Lithuania
23. TORONTO (via Clippers) – Harry Giles III, C, Duke
24. UTAH – T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA
25. ORLANDO (via Toronto) – Tyler Lydon, PF, Syracuse
26. PORTLAND (via Cleveland) – Ivan Rabb, PF, Cal
27. BROOKLYN (via Boston) – Bam Adebayo, PF, Kentucky
28. LAKERS (via Houston) – Rodions Kurucs, SF, Barcelona
29. SAN ANTONIO – Jonathan Jeanne, C, France
30. UTAH (via Golden State) – D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan