Boston College upsets No. 18 Virginia, 60-53

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BOSTON — Sloppy. Lethargic. Lukewarm effort. Lack of composure.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett knows what the problems were in Tuesday night’s loss to Boston College. Now he’s got to fix them.

“I think the tape’s going to reveal some things that are going to hurt and sting,” Bennett said after unranked BC beat the 18th-ranked Cavaliers 60-53. “But you move on and get ready for the next one.”

Jared Hamilton hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 37 seconds left and added a pair of free throws to clinch it as the Eagles sent the defending national champions to their first Atlantic Coast Conference loss of the season.

Jay Heath scored 17 for BC (9-6, 3-1), which had not beaten Virginia in six tries since 2013. It was BC’s first win over a ranked team since beating No. 11 Florida State last January, and Virginia’s first loss to an unranked ACC opponent in almost two years.

“We’re trying to do the same thing as everyone else,” BC coach Jim Christian said, whose team was a 10 1/2-point underdog coming off a 39-point loss to Duke. “These guys are not surprised they won this game.”

Braxton Key scored 16 points with eight rebounds for the Cavaliers (11-3, 3-1). The 2019 champs, who a year earlier were the first team to lose as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, have now lost two of their last four games.

BC scored eight of the first 10 points in the game and still led 42-30 with 14 minutes left before Virginia scored 10 in a row. With about seven minutes left, Key missed a layup and Mamadi Diakite slapped the rebound out to the top of the key, where Kihei Clark hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 45-all.

Diakite followed with a three-point play to give Virginia its first lead since the opening basket of the game. Clark scored seven points during the 20-3 run, while BC was held to just one basket over almost nine minutes.

BC took a 53-51 lead with just over two minutes left, but Key scored from underneath to tie it. Hamilton scored from in front of the Eagles bench to put them ahead, then leaned back into the embrace of his teammates to celebrate.

“Feeling the support of the guys,” Hamilton said. “That was a great feeling.”

UNDERMANNED

Boston College was without starting point guard Derryck Thornton, who injured his ankle, and Nic Popovic, who has been out a month with a sore back. Forward Steffon Mitchell, who was nauseated and had migraine headaches, needed two IVs to get ready for the game.

Christian said he didn’t know if Mitchell would be available until about five minutes before the tipoff. He played almost 30 minutes and scored 10 points with eight rebounds.

“There’s a beauty to it,” Christian said. “It’s effort, it’s character, it’s determination.”

EARLY STRUGGLES

The Cavaliers committed four fouls in the first 67 seconds, and Diakite went to the bench with two. The biggest man in Virginia’s starting lineup — and the only one listed as a forward, along with four guards — played just 4:36 in the first half, with two points and two rebounds.

After making its first shot, Virginia missed the next seven, and it was still just 8-2 with almost six minutes gone.

“I thought we were kind of lethargic in the beginning of the game,” Clark said. “And once you dig yourself that big of a hole … it’s hard to get back in it.”

BIG PICTURE

Virginia: After climbing as high as No. 5 in the AP Top 25, the Cavaliers have now lost to South Carolina and Boston College in the last two weeks. They have lost as many games as they did all of last season.

Boston College: The Eagles were able to quickly forget about their 88-49 loss to Duke on Dec. 31.

“We had a week to get ready for this game, so we had the benefit of time to get it out of our system,” Christian said. “When you’re playing great teams in this league, if you dwell too much on one game, you’re going to struggle.”

UP NEXT

Virginia: Hosts Syracuse on Saturday.

Boston College: Hosts Georgia Tech on Saturday.

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.