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SPORTSBRIEFING

Big Ten defensive awards announced

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — The Big Ten announced Tuesday that Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson is its defensive player of the year and Michigan State’s Mel Tucker is the coach of the year.

Hutchinson leads the conference and is third nationally with 13 sacks, including three in the win over Ohio State last week.

Tucker has led the Spartans to a 10-2 record in his second year, including a win over rival Michigan, after they were 2-5 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

The Big Ten coaches’ all-conference first-team defense: linemen, Hutchinson; Haskell Garrett, Ohio State; Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State; George Karlaftis, Purdue; linebackers, David Ojabo, Michigan; Leo Chenal, Wisconsin; Jack Sanborn, Wisconsin; defensive backs, Dane Belton, Iowa; Riley Moss, Iowa; Dax Hill, Michigan; and Jaquan Brisker, Penn State.

The coaches’ all-conference first-team specialists: kicker, Jake Moody, Michigan; punter, Jordan Stout, Penn State; return specialist, Charlie Jones, Iowa.

Offensive honorees will be announced by the league Wednesday. The Associated Press will announce its Big Ten awards next week.

Pirates grab former Indians catcher

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Pirates didn’t waste time finding a replacement for Gold Glove catcher Jacob Stallings.

A person with knowledge of the decision tells The Associated Press the Pirates have agreed to a 1-year deal worth $5 million with former Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the deal had not been announced. The signing is contingent on Perez passing a physical.

Perez, 32, won Gold Gloves in 2019 and 2020 with Cleveland but struggled at the plate throughout his career and hit just .149 with seven home runs and 17 RBIs in 44 games in 2021. The Guardians declined his $7 million option for 2022.

Perez takes over for Stallings, a Gold Glove winner in 2021 who was traded to Miami on Monday for reliever Zach Thompson and a pair of prospects.

Perez is a year older and considerably more expensive than Stallings, but the Pirates were able to flip Stallings — who is under team control through 2024 — for minor leaguers, the main focus of general manager Ben Cherington’s franchise-wide reboot.

The trade left Pittsburgh, temporarily at least, without a catcher on the major league roster after Michael Perez was outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis last week.

Roberto Perez will take over as the primary receiver for a pitching staff in flux. The Pirates used 17 different starters in 2021 and the rotation is a bit of a jumble, though Pittsburgh did sign veteran left-handed pitcher Jose Quintana on Monday to a one-year deal worth $2 million.

Sherman powers WVU

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Taz Sherman scored 18 points and West Virginia pulled away in the second half to beat Bellarmine 74-55 on Tuesday night.

Sherman sank 7 of 12 shots from the floor for the Mountaineers (6-1), who improved to 4-0 at home. Sean McNeil hit two 3-pointers and scored 14. Jalen Bridges had nine rebounds as West Virginia won the battle of the boards 41-31.

The Mountaineers, who led 37-30 at halftime, got a 3-pointer from McNeil to cap a 6-0 run to open the second half that pushed their lead to double digits 43-30 with 17:19 left to play. The Knights, who have played the toughest schedule to date with road losses to top-five teams Gonzaga, Purdue and UCLA, never got closer than 12 after that.

Dylan Penn paced Bellarmine with 16 points and five assists. Curt Hopf had 12 points and eight rebounds, while Juston Betz scored 10 with seven boards. CJ Fleming scored 10 but hit just 3 of 10 shots.

West Virginia shot 47.7% from the floor and 36.8% from distance (7 of 19) but hit only half of its 10 foul shots. Bellarmine shot 40.4% overall but made just 2 of 17 from beyond the arc and 7 of 14 free throws in the first meeting between the schools.

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