Hauser, Murphy lead No. 14 Virginia past NC State, 64-57

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
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RALEIGH, N.C. — Sam Hauser and Trey Murphy III each scored 18 points and No. 14 Virginia produced a strong finishing stretch to beat North Carolina State 64-57 on Wednesday night.

Jay Huff added 12 points for the Cavaliers (12-3, 8-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who had their 15-game ACC winning streak stretching to last season halted Saturday night at then-No. 20 Virginia Tech.

“I think we learned from that game. We were kind of in the same position,” Hauser said. “They had their run. Instead of folding and giving in, we responded with our own run.”

Jericole Hellems poured in 23 points before fouling out for N.C. State (7-7, 3-6), which won just one game in January.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett questioned his team’s toughness after the weekend setback. They Cavaliers heard that.

“I just took it personally,” Murphy said. “(I told myself) I’m going to make sure I don’t give him a reason to call me soft. We just knew we had to come out and really fight this game.”

Virginia players were intent on being more aggressive.

“You never want your coach to call you soft,” Hauser said. “We’re still getting better in that area and that showed tonight.”

Hellems’ jumper gave the Wolfpack a 46-45 lead with less than 6 1/2 minutes remaining as Virginia endured an eight-minute span without a field goal.

Hauser hit a 3-pointer to break the drought, allowing the Cavaliers to build a 50-46 edge with 5:38 to play. Huff converted a three-point play to stretch the lead to 55-48.

“I was proud of these guys for their fight,” N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts said. “I think this team has learned a lot about themselves these last couple games.”

Hauser scored 11 points in the first 10 minutes, pushing Virginia to a 19-13 advantage.

Five minutes later, Hellems reached the 14-point mark and the Wolfpack led 22-19, aided by the Cavaliers’ 6 1/2-minute scoring drought. Virginia scored the next nine points and led 28-24 at the break.

Virginia won its seventh straight road game in the series.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia: While the ACC-leading Cavaliers had trouble scoring from the field at times, they made 20 of 22 free throws (90.9%). They entered the week third nationally in free-throw shooting at 80.4%.

“That’s important,” Bennett said. “It’s good to see we got a few more (attempts by) driving.”

Virginia had attempted only 24 foul shots in the previous four games combined.

N.C. State: Hellems, a junior swingman, has put up career-high point totals in consecutive games since the Wolfpack lost scoring leader Devon Daniels to a season-ending knee injury last week.

“He’s getting what he’s earned,” teammate Braxton Beverly said of Hellems. “I couldn’t be any more proud of him for what he’s doing, the way he’s stepping up. He’s been a huge lift for us.”

STARTING POINTS

All of Virginia’s scoring came from its starters. Four substitutes played, going a combined 0-for-4 from the field and collecting one rebound, one assist and one steal.

Each of the Virginia starters played at least 33 minutes, with Hauser logging a team-high 38 minutes.

“We had to ride them and go with them,” Bennett said. “We had to use our timeouts to the best of our ability.”

N.C. State received scoring from eight players. Bennett said the Cavaliers will need more well-rounded contributions.

“That doesn’t mean the bench won’t help at times,” he said.

WELCOME BACK

N.C. State forward D.J. Funderburk, who was held out of Sunday night’s loss at Syracuse because of “university policies,” was back in action. He entered about five minutes into the game, finishing with nine points – all in the second half. He scored a team-high 14 points in last season’s win at Virginia.

SEE YA LATER

N.C. State will travel to Virginia for a rematch in three weeks. The Feb. 24 pairing was announced earlier Wednesday amid several schedule adjustments within the ACC. The teams were slated to meet Jan. 20, but that game was postponed because of N.C. State’s coronavirus protocols.

UP NEXT

Virginia: Hosts Pittsburgh on Saturday, a matchup announced earlier Wednesday after the Louisville-Virginia game was nixed because of Louisville’s coronavirus issues.

N.C. State: At Boston College on Saturday.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK
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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

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK
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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

Joe Rondone/USA TODAY NETWORK
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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.