Hall leads No. 13 Virginia past Robert Morris, 79-39

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Devon Hall’s offense is coming around after a slow start to the season, and on a Virginia team that lacks a go-to scorer, it’s an important development as the 13th-ranked Cavaliers head into the more challenging part of their schedule.

Hall matched his career high with 13 points and the Cavaliers returned from a 10-day layoff for final exams with a 79-39 victory over Robert Morris on Saturday.

“Devon’s always an intense player and he’s physical so I’m glad to see him have a little success, either a drive and a finish or making a 3 or getting to the foul line,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said of the 6-foot-5 redshirt junior. “His intensity and his physicality were key tonight.”

Hall came into the game ninth on the team with a 5.0 scoring average, and became the seventh Cavalier to at least share top scoring honors in a game.

“We do not have a guy you can say, `He’s going to get you 20 tonight, or even 15 or 18,”‘ Bennett said, so the balance is critical.

Freshman Kyle Guy also scored 13 points and Jack Salt had a career-best 10 for the Cavaliers (9-1), who overcame a sluggish start and broke the game open with a 38-8 run spanning halftime. It turned a 13-12 deficit into a 50-21 lead early in the second half.

Isaiah Still led Robert Morris (3-9) with 16 points and Dachon Burke had seven. The Colonials shot just 23.9 percent (11 of 46) and became the fourth team held to fewer than 40 points by the Cavaliers, who lead the nation in scoring defense (47.6).

“They wear you down,” Colonials coach Andrew Toole said. “Once they kind of get that lead, you’re in a world of trouble.”

Jarred Reuter also scored 10 points for Virginia, which outscored the Colonials 48-8 in the paint and 41-14 off the bench.

BIG PICTURE

Robert Morris: The Colonials appear to be in a youth movement with sophomore scoring leader Still (15 ppg) and freshmen Braden Burke and Dachon Burke all getting significant minutes. They won the Northeast Conference two years ago under Toole and have been to postseason play four times in the past five seasons, but seem more likely to suffer through growing pains with their future stars gaining experience than to make much noise this season.

Virginia: The Cavaliers were wise to schedule a lesser opponent for their first game in 11 days after a break for finals because they came out looking sluggish and sloppy before finally getting it together and closing the half on a 20-5 run. They will need to be sharper at California on Wednesday night.

HOMECOMINGS

Virginia’s game at California is the best Bennett could do in giving London Perrantes, from Los Angeles, a game before his home fans, but the senior point guard won’t be the only Cavalier with lots of family in attendance.

Salt, who is from New Zealand, said eight family members are making the 13-hour flight to see him play.

SHOOTING BLANKS

Still was 5 for 10 from the field for Robert Morris. The rest of the team was 6 for 36.

PASSING FANCY

Virginia forward Isaiah Wilkins and reserve point guard Ty Jerome shared the team lead with six assists each. Jerome’s came in just 16 minutes of playing time as Bennett substituted liberally and gave his younger players extended floor time before the schedule toughens.

Wilkins finished with seven points, six rebounds, six assists, a block and a steal in 21 minutes.

UP NEXT

Robert Morris is at home next Wednesday against Buffalo in its final game before beginning Northeast Conference play.

Virginia heads west to face California in its last non-conference game before ACC play begins.

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky will play its annual Blue-White men’s basketball scrimmage in Eastern Kentucky to benefit victims of the devastating summer floods.

The school announced that the Oct. 22 event at Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville will feature a pregame Fan Fest. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

Wildcat players will also participate in a community service activity with local organizations in the relief effort.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide a temporary escape with basketball and community engagement.”

The scrimmage traditionally is held at Rupp Arena. It will occur eight days after its Big Blue Madness public workout at Rupp.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies

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SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.

Dream’s McDonald returning to Arizona to coach under Barnes

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald is returning to Arizona to work under coach Adia Barnes.

The school announced that McDonald will serve as director of recruiting operations while continuing to fulfill her WNBA commitments. She will oversee all recruiting logistics, assist with on-campus visits, manage recruit information and social media content at Arizona.

McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after transferring from Washington as a sophomore. She was an All-American and the Pac-12 player of the year in 2020-21, leading the Wildcats to the national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.

McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career scoring average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick of the 2021 WNBA draft.