NCAA

Cincinnati stuns Virginia Tech on late TD

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Cincinnati stuns Virginia Tech on late TD

By Joseph White
AP Sports Writer

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- Munchie Legaux hit Damon Julian for a 39-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds to play, and Cincinnati beat Virginia Tech 27-24 Saturday.

Trailing by four after a Hokies touchdown, the Bearcats (3-0) took over at their own 15 with 1:43 to play and moved downfield in nine plays for the score, capping a seesaw fourth quarter that brought to life a sleepy game.

Cincinnati dominated in every way but the scoreboard, piling on the yards all game, and managed to finally escape with the win. Legaux completed 19 of 42 passes for a career-high 376 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Kenbrell Thompkins also set career highs for Cincinnati with seven catches for 134 yards and a score.

Logan Thomas was 17 for 30 for 242 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for the Hokies (3-2), who have lost two games to unranked Big East schools in one of the most trying Septembers in recent history under coach Frank Beamer. A 35-17 loss to Pittsburgh two weeks ago knocked Virginia Tech out of the Top 25.

The game was played at the Washington Redskins stadium, with Cincinnati giving up a home game for a chance to play in the vicinity of the nation's capital. Still, the Bearcats fans were an overwhelming minority compared to the Hokies' faithful, who had to travel half the distance of their counterparts.

The teams combined for 21 points in the fourth quarter after putting up just 20 in the first three. Michael Holmes spun into the end zone from 3 yards out with 8:37 to play to put Virginia Tech ahead 17-13, but Ralph David Abernathy IV's 76-yard catch-and-run score put the Bearcats back in front less than a minute later.

The Hokies then responded with Corey Fuller's 56-yard touchdown catch with 1:49 remaining.

The Bearcats run a spread offense, but they had more success with conventional drop-back pass plays. They took a 13-7 lead midway through the third quarter when Legaux, with plenty of time to throw, hit Thompkins wide open over the middle for a 29-yard touchdown.

Virginia Tech was outgained 165 to 72 -- yet the Hokies had a just 7-6 lead to show for it. They didn't get a first down until Fuller's 15-yard reception with 5:17 to go in the half, and the offense struggled to capitalize even when linebacker Bruce Taylor shifted momentum with a couple of big plays.

Taylor stripped the ball from Travis Kelce for a fumble near midfield, but the Hokies ended up punting. On Cincinnati's next possession, Taylor tipped a pass that was intercepted by Kris Harley, giving Virginia Tech the ball at the Bearcats 13-yard line.

That set up the Hokies' only first-half touchdown, but it took four plays to accomplish, with Thomas scampering up the middle for a 5-yard scoring run on fourth-and-2 with 2:41 left in the half.

The day's blooper highlight was provided by Thompkins, who had an amusing pratfall when he tripped over the chains when they were brought out for a measurement after a fourth-and-1 run. Cincinnati got the first down, and the drive led to one of two first-half field goals by Tony Miliano.

Cincinnati had an even more unusual play in the first half -- a touchdown negated by a holding call on the quarterback. Legaux was whistled for giving Kyshoen Jarrett an extra shove while Abernathy was running 11 yards for a score on a double reserve. The drive ended when the Bearcats faked a field goal by throwing a pass to defensive tackle Silverberry Mouhon, who made only 16 yards on the fourth-and-18.

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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USA TODAY Sports

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.

MORE NCAA: TOP BUZZER BEATERS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

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USA TODAY Sports

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

SAN ANTONIO -- Virginia coach Tony Bennett isn't going to waver from his foundation, whether it's the philosophy that built the Cavaliers into a contender or the big-picture perspective that helps him handle the sting of a historically improbable loss.

Both ends of that approach are fully on display now as he is named The Associated Press men's college basketball coach of the year.

Bennett won the honor Thursday after his Cavaliers set a program single-season record for wins, dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference and reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era. Yet that wildly successful season ended abruptly in the most unexpected way: with the Cavaliers falling to UMBC to become the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history.

"They experienced things a lot of guys don't," Bennett said in an interview with the AP. "That kind of success? Oh my gosh. And then that kind of loss? ... But again, their body of work deserves to be celebrated.

"And then so much of what society looks at -- it begs the question -- is it just about how you do in March? Or is it about the whole thing? It's a fair debate (on) what matters. But I told them: I wouldn't trade this team for anything. Even the experiences, as hard as they are, this is part of the process."

Bennett was the runaway winner for the award, which is being presented at the Final Four. He earned 50 of 65 votes from AP Top 25 writers with ballots submitted before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee's Rick Barnes was second with five votes after leading the Volunteers to 26 wins and an NCAA bid despite being picked to finish 13th in the 14-team Southeastern Conference. First-year Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann was third with four votes.

This marks the second time Bennett has won the award, the other coming in 2007 when he was at Washington State.

In Bennett's ninth season, the Cavaliers (31-3) went from being picked to finish sixth in the ACC to winning the regular-season race by four games -- the first to win the ACC by that wide a margin since 2000. It then won the ACC Tournament to complete a 20-1 run against league opponents.

MORE NCAA: BEST BUZZER BEATERS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Virginia also reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since December 1982 and stayed there the final five weeks of the regular season, the last two unanimously.

And yet, the 48-year-old coach knows much of the focus will be on how things ended: that 74-54 loss to the Retrievers while playing without ACC sixth man of the year De'Andre Hunter.

Dealing with a roster of players in pained disbelief, Bennett said he has told them that they have "an unbelievable captive audience" waiting to see how they would handle it.

"I said how you respond to this will matter to your mom and dads, to your brothers, your sisters, your friends," Bennett said. "If they see that you're not fake about it, that yeah, of course you're going to be discouraged and down after a loss like that, but that you're OK. You can live with it.

"I said: you don't know the power that that's going to have in their life and in your life."

Bennett said he appreciated other coaches offering support, which included Syracuse Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim noting: "If I could hire a coach in this country and I could get Tony Bennett, there would be nobody in second place."

He said he's still reviewing what worked and what didn't, but "certainly you don't overreact" by changing everything that had brought the Cavaliers to this point.

This is, after all, a program that has been a 1-seed three times in the past five seasons with three ACC regular-season titles.

And Bennett won't be deterred from chasing more, even if it means stumbling a few more times on the way to reaching his goals.

"You better have something beyond the opinion of man or just how you feel, because this stuff is fleeting," Bennett said.

"So that's where obviously my faith is everything to me. You hear people talk about their faith in the lord and the relationship with the people that they care about, their family and their trusted friends. Those things stand the test of time. And that's what you have to draw from. And then you move on."