Jerome’s 31 lead No. 9 Virginia past BC, 59-58

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Ty Jerome has said all along that his confidence remained high, even when his shot wasn’t falling.

Now that it is falling, he’s given No. 9 Virginia another offensive weapon for opponents to worry about.

Jerome hit 6 of 9 3-point tries and scored a career-high 31 points, including two free throws with 53 seconds left, as the Cavaliers held off Boston College 59-58 on Saturday.

“My confidence never wavers so it’s not really a relief,” Jerome said of an offensive surge that has seen him reach a career high in two of his last three games. “I expect it to fall and I’m going to keep being aggressive no matter what.”

It helps, he said, that on a team with many potential scorers, a hot hand is rewarded.

“That’s huge. You can’t do it without good teammates,” he said. “That’s one thing I think we have that makes it special. That’s what makes this a special team on and off the court. There’s no jealousy here.”

Kyle Guy added 11 points and Isaiah Wilkins had eight with 14 rebounds and four blocks for the Cavaliers (12-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who ended BC’s five-game winning streak.

Jerome Robinson led the Eagles (10-4, 1-1) with 29 points and Jordan Chatman had 18. Boston College scoring leader Ky Bowman (16.8 ppg) didn’t score until just 11:03 remained and finished with five points on 2-for-10 shooting.

The Eagles had two chances to win it, each while inbounding the ball under their basket with 3.1 seconds left. Wilkins knocked the ball away on the first try, but the officials ruled the clock hadn’t started on time, giving the Eagles another chance. On the second try, they inbounded it to Nik Popovic, who was called for pushing off before attempting an 8-footer that missed.

“That’s a big step for us,” Eagles coach Jim Christian said. “One of our key guys didn’t play as well as he probably would have liked and we were still in a one-possession game with 2 seconds left and the ball.”

Jerome, who also had two assists, two steals and five rebounds, hit six 3-pointers, the last two breaking a 51-all tie and then giving Virginia a 57-53 lead with 3:21 left.

“He was unbelievably confident and he took big shots,” Christian said.

After Chatman hit two free throws to pull BC within 57-55, Jerome hit a pair of free throws with 53.8 seconds remaining, allowing Virginia to withstand Robinson’s 3-pointer with 44 seconds to play.

BOARD GAME

Wilkins’ rebound total was a career high.

“I was trying to steal as many rebounds as I could,” he joked. After a teammate took a rebound away early, he said, “I was like, now I’m stealing everybody else’s.”

BIG PICTURE

Boston College: The Eagles got halfway to their conference victory total of last season with an 89-84 victory against Duke on Dec. 9 and were within 42-39 of the Cavaliers after Bowman got his first points of the game on a 3-pointer. They also were without No. 4 scorer Deontae Hawkins (12.4 ppg), who will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Virginia: Jerome’s offensive emergence has been big for Virginia and comes as conference play starts. He’s scored in double figures in three consecutive games and twice established career highs after only hitting double figures twice in the first 10 games. His previous high was 17 points against Savannah State three games ago.

UP NEXT

The Eagles return home and face Clemson on Wednesday night.

Virginia plays at Virginia Tech on Wednesday night.

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.