NCAA

Key's clutch free throw gives Virginia OT win over Notre Dame

Key's clutch free throw gives Virginia OT win over Notre Dame

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Braxton Key made a free throw with 2:04 left in overtime and Virginia held off Notre Dame on a rough shooting night for both teams, 50-49 on Tuesday night.

Mamdi Diakite scored 20 points for the Cavaliers (16-7, 8-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), including the basket with 2:51 left in regulation that eventually forced the overtime. Jay Huff added eight points and nine rebounds.

Prentiss Hubb scored 12 and John Mooney had 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Fighting Irish (15-9, 6-7), who saw their four-game winning streak end. The Irish had a chance to win, but Rex Pflueger's 3-pointer from in front of the Notre Dame bench in the final seconds missed and Key tapped the ball away.

The Irish finished 20 of 61 from the field (33%) and Virginia was 19-51 (37%).

In the overtime, Diakite hit a pair of free throws to give Virginia the lead, and Hubb's fall-away tied it again with 3:29 left. Key's free throw was the only point the rest of the way, the ball bouncing in after he air-balled the first attempt.

Virginia had trailed since the early going before a 10-0 run gave them a 43-38 lead. Diakite started it with a pair of free throws and Huff scored the last eight points, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and a baby hook. A basket by Diakite made it 45-40 with 6:48 left, but the Irish scored the next seven points until Virginia ended a nearly four-minute scoreless stretch on Diakite's turnaround with 2:51 left.

Neither team scored again in regulation.

BIG PICTURE

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish's winning streak coming in came at a good time, putting them in position to contend for an NCAA Tournament berth. It also came against teams they needed to beat in Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh and on the road at Clemson, all below .500 in league play.

Virginia: Virginia has reached 30 points in the first half just once in its last six games with 30 at Louisville on Saturday. Entering the second half against the Irish, the Cavaliers had scored as many as 30 just three times in their last 11 halves

UP NEXT

The Irish wrap up a three-game road trip at No. 7 on Saturday.

Virginia also goes on the road, playing at North Carolina in Saturday.

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VCU forward Marcus Santos-Silva declares for 2020 NBA Draft

VCU forward Marcus Santos-Silva declares for 2020 NBA Draft

In this time of mass quarantining, live sports have come to a standstill across the country, but that hasn’t stopped college basketball’s offseason from churning along.

Players across the nation are deciding where they want to play next season, and the latest impactful player to take a step toward next year is VCU’s Marcus Santos-Silva.

The junior forward announced on his Instagram his intentions to enter the 2020 NBA Draft.

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It’s not yet clear how limited the NBA’s draft preparation will be as a result of COVID-19, but Santos-Silva does mention in his announcement that he will be maintaining his college eligibility in case he decides to return for his senior season.

Santos-Silva came off the bench his freshman season, but has started all 64 games in the last two years for VCU. As a junior, he averaged 12.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in 27.2 minutes.

He does all of his damage close to the rim, as he has yet to attempt a three-point shot in his college career.

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How Howard University coach Larry Scott is leading his team from home

How Howard University coach Larry Scott is leading his team from home

Starting any new job can be stressful, but starting it under a COVID-19 outbreak? A whirlwind.  

That’s exactly how Howard University’s new head football coach, Larry Scott, describes it.  

“You take the job beginning of February and ask yourself, what all has to be done?” Scott said. “And you go, ‘Everything.’”   

And yet you can’t do anything outside of your home. 

Scott is challenged with trying to change the culture of a team that finished the 2019 season 2-10, seventh in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. He’s had to evaluate his roster, hire a new coaching staff, and hopefully bring in the right recruits.  Seems impossible, but Scott sees it completely the opposite.  

“It’s all about people, it’s all about building a strong connection within a team,” Scott said.  “Thank god I had some really good strong relationships with some coaches that I have worked with and admired from afar."

Scott coached under Dan Mullen at the University of Florida and Butch Jones at the University of Tennessee, learning leadership skills he has relied upon while installing his own system at Howard -- especially during this trying time.   

“It actually plays well into the whole concept -- football is still about people and how you make them feel,” Scott said. “Trust factors are built though connections.” 

Howard’s football team holds position meetings two times a week, staff meetings once a week, and uses Zoom to communicate with players daily.  Scott held his first full team meeting on Monday using Microsoft Teams while his strength and conditioning coach sends out daily workouts via Twitter challenging players to find creative ways to stay in football shape.  

Full-body workouts can be better than weights. Packing a book bag or finding water bottles can substitute creativity when the normal tools are not available. It’s about taking ownership of your body, when no one is telling you what time to be in the gym or standing over you counting reps.   

But all that is expected for a football team. Scott is also holding meetings that involve the full academic staff.  

“We have a plan for how we’re attacking academics and our online classes,” Scott said.  

A big part of that are talks on shifting the grade system to pass-fail concepts and where to accept letter grades. Scott wants his players to keep their scholarships and stay eligible. If they don’t keep their studies up, all the training in the world won’t matter. There is no football. Not even when football returns.   

For Scott, the cool thing about communicating all this to young men, is just that. They’re young. The virtual world is more their reality than any previous generation. They order all their food through Uber Eats. They have endless apps on their phones. They can adapt because technology lets them. And in so doing they help their coach adapt, too, during tough times. Together, when they finally return to the field, Scott believes they’ll all have a deeper appreciation for college football. 

“It’s kind of fun entering into their world into how they see things and view things and being able to still reach them and relate to them and teach them on a level that is expanding our mind,” Scott said. “It’s still about seeing young people find ways to have success, create avenues of opportunity.”   

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