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Jan. 19, 2010
7:48 p.m.

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Here’s another example of how far Jerome Meyinsse has come as a basketball player this season:

When the 6-9, 233-pound center went to the line Monday night for two shots, with 2:32 left and UVa trailing UNC Wilmington 64-60, I thought there were a good chance he’d make both. I felt certain he’d make at least one.

He hasn’t always inspired such confidence. As a freshman in 2006-07, Meyinsse hit 9 of 13 free throws (69.2). But he was 4 for 12 (33.3 percent) as a sophomore and 13 for 22 (59.1 percent) as a junior.

In his first season under Tony Bennett, however, Meyinsse is 22 for 29 (75.9 percent) from the line.

In UVa’s 69-67 win over UNCW, Meyinsse attempted a career-best nine free throws. He made eight, also a career high. He was 4 for 4 in the final 6:35.

“You just gotta knock down those clutch free throws,” Meyinsse said. “We shoot hundreds of them during the week, during the season, and those are the ones that count. So you gotta take your time and make them.”

In his third straight start, Meyinsse scored a career-best 14 points and, as usual, played rugged defense.

“His play was significant, no doubt,” Bennett said after the game.

Assistant coach Jason Williford, filling in for his boss, was asked about Meyinsse on Bennett’s weekly radio show Tuesday night.

“We’re going to miss him,” Williford said. “I wish we could have him for three more years.”

Jeff White

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