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Mamadi Diakite's double-double leads No. 11 Virginia past JMU

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Mamadi Diakite's double-double leads No. 11 Virginia past JMU

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Mamadi Diakite had 19 points and 13 rebounds and No. 11 Virginia used a 29-6 run spanning halftime to pull away for a 65-34 victory over James Madison on Sunday night. 

The Cavaliers (2-0) led by just 22-20 until Kihei Clark's 3-pointer started a 9-0 burst for Virginia. A 3-pointer by Darius Banks ended that, making it 31-23 at the half. 

Braxton Key scored seven straight for the Cavaliers. After Zach Jacobs' 3-pointer for JMU, Virginia reeled off 13 more points to lead 51-26 with just under 12 minutes to play. Key finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds and, like Diakite, spent most of the last 10 minutes watching. 

Matt Lewis led James Madison (1-1) with 14 points, 11 in the first half. The Dukes shot just 24%, making 12 of 50 shots. They turned the ball over 19 times, leading to 18 Virginia points. 

BIG PICTURE

James Madison: The Dukes were without 6-foot-8 Dwight Wilson, their top rebounder, and acquitted themselves well for a time against Virginia's front line other than Diakite, a freakish athlete whose quickness around the basket will give lots of big men trouble. That size won out after halftime.

Virginia: The Cavaliers are still clearly working on finding an offensive identity. They scored just 48 points and had 16 turnovers in their opener at Syracuse, but limited the Orange to just 34 points, the 24th time in Bennett's 11 seasons they have held an opponent to 40 points or fewer. The Dukes, then became the 25th team.

UP NEXT

James Madison is back at home to face Shenandoah on Wednesday night.

Virginia remains at home and faces Columbia next Saturday.

Heart condition linked to coronavirus a concern for Power 5 programs

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Heart condition linked to coronavirus a concern for Power 5 programs

As the Big Ten and other Power 5 conferences decide whether or not to have fall sports, numerous factors are part of the decision. The risk of infection during the coronavirus pandemic is enough in itself to halt plans, but a potential condition linked to the virus has become a major concern for many.

Myocarditis, which is the inflammation of the heart muscle, is a rare viral infection that studies have shown may be potentially linked to the coronavirus at a higher frequency than other viruses. It can be fatal if left untreated. Though uncommon, it has been found in several college athletes including five in the Big Ten, according to ESPN.

The Mid-American Conference postponed its fall season on Saturday, in part due to initial studies on Myocarditis.

"What we don't know was really haunting us, and that's why we came to our final decision," Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier said. "That's part of the data that our presidents used. This mom gave us a play-by-play. That stuff is extremely scary."

With much still unknown about conditions connected to the virus, Power 5 programs and administrators are now faced with the risk of exposing their athletes and staff to complications beyond the initial infection of COVID-19. 

Testing and lags are problems that exist as well, but there is a larger body of work to show how those factors can impact a person and team. As for the rare heart condition, there are still numerous unanswered questions about the long terms effects.

Though the desire is there to have football and other sports be played, many understand that the risk may outweigh the reward.

"We are collectively, as a sports nation, not quite ready to feel entirely comfortable with what that may look like for our young people down the line, and we are not going to put them in that situation," Dr. John MacKnight, the head primary care team physician at the University of Virginia, said during a recent availability.

"There have been some concerns raised for that very reason: Do you not have uneasiness about having athletes participating knowing that you don't know what that longer-range outlook is? The answer is of course, yes," MacKnight said. "We don't have enough information to say this is the likelihood that this will or will not happen."

So while some players and coaches are campaigning for a season, reports that the Big Ten and others may soon announce the cancellation of the season run deeper than the fear of infection. Though that is a concern, there are additional, long term problems that could arise. 

It's a legitimate concern, and one that could derail the fall season for college sports.

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President Trump favors college football being played in 2020 amid coronavirus pandemic

President Trump favors college football being played in 2020 amid coronavirus pandemic

President Donald Trump wants to see college football played this fall despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled," Trump tweeted on Monday.

Trump's post was a quote tweet response to Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, arguably the brightest star in college football and likely No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Lawrence was one of many notable players across the country to tweet the hashtag #WeWantToPlay on Sunday following multiple reports that the college football season could be canceled or postponed as early as this week.

Following Sunday's reports that the season likely won't happen, Lawrence was one of several stars from multiple Power 5 teams that joined a Zoom call Sunday evening to attempt and organize a plan for players to express their opinion on the why they should play and ultimately save the season. 

Other notable names such as Ohio State's Justin Fields, Alabama's Najee Harris, and Oregon's Penei Sewell were on the call, according to ESPN. Since then, college football players have reportedly attempted to unionize as one final push to save the season.

Lawrence also explained in detail on Sunday why he feels there should be a college football season. The Clemson QB tweeted Sunday night saying he believes that canceling the season would actually put college football players more at risk of the contracting virus.

"Players being safe and taking all of the right precautions to try to avoid contracting covid because the season/ teammates safety is on the line. Without the season, as we’ve seen already, people will not social distance or wear masks and take the proper precautions," Lawrence wrote on his Twitter thread. 

While the outlook for the 2020 college football season doesn't look promising, Lawrence and several of the sport's biggest names are not going down without a fight. And based off President Trump's tweet, it looks as if he's on the players' side.

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