Friday’s Shootaround: Wisconsin lands a big home win

0 Comments

No. 25 Wisconsin 57, No. 17 Indiana 50: Its really unfair to judge Indiana too heavily on what happened in the Kohl Center on Thursday night. You don’t win on the road in the Big Ten this season, and while the Badgers have struggled early on in the season in their own building, this is still Wisconsin. The final difference ended up being seven points, but this was a one possession game until the final minute. That, frankly, is not a bad performance by any stretch and it shouldn’t really change any opinion that you currently have of Indiana.

What this win should tell you is that the Badgers may actually be closer to the team that we thought they were early in the season. This is a different group that last year, when the Badgers couldn’t stop anyone and flourished thanks to an offense that was as potent as anyone in the country. Without Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil, Bo Ryan’s club simply isn’t the same team on that end of the floor. What they are is a group that can absolutely lock down defensively. They don’t need to score to win. Case in point — the Badgers shot 39.6% from the floor and 4-17 from three in this one.

No. 20 St. Mary’s 71, Loyola Marymount 64: The Gaels us a 12-0 run near the end of the first half and a 10-0 run to start the second half as they improved to 9-0 in WCC play. The Gaels needed to get this win. While they have a bit of a cushion in the league, they haven’t done the work on the road yet; their wins over BYU and Gonzaga both came in Moraga. The Lions might have had some struggles earlier in the year, but they are healthy now and are fresh off of a win at BYU. Many, including myself, thought that the Lions had a chance to actually win this game.

And while the Gaels picked up the win on the road, the most impressive part is how they did it. Rob Jones went 5-14 from the floor. Matthew Dellavedova took just four shots and turned the ball over five times. But this isn’t just a two man operation. Stephen Holt went for 19 points to carry the St. Mary’s.

No. 13 Florida 64, Ole Miss 60: The Gators found themselves in a 20-4 hole against the Rebels, and it set twitter ablaze crowing about how the Gators were overrated. You’ve heard the arguments by now — Florida is too reliant on their perimeter, they have no impressive wins beyond Florida State when Florida State was struggling and they’ve done absolutely nothing on the road.

But something strange happened: the Gators came back. And they won. Patric Young led the way with 15 points off the bench (he’s still battling ankle issues) and the duo of Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker combined for 22 points and 11 assists with just a single turnover. A win over Ole Miss by four points, in a vacuum, is not all that impressive. Coming back from 16 down on the road against a good defensive team is. The Gators need to have more consistency and a slow start like this will bury them against a better team, but escaping Oxford with a win is a good thing.

No. 8 North Carolina 74, North Carolina State 55: NC State came into this game in a tie for first place in the ACC, but Wolfpack fans were brought back to earth as the Heels jumped all over Mark Gottfried’s team. The Heels got 21 points and 17 boards out of Tyler Zeller as they got up by as much as 31 in the second half. The highlight of the game, however, came from Lorenzo Brown:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AufYP9NOgUc%5D

No. 21 Virginia 66, Boston College 49: Mike Scott had 18 points, but Virginia needed a late 22-3 run to get complete control of the game. Akil Mitchell and Jontel Evans both added 10 points.

Nevada 68, New Mexico State 60: Deonte Burton had 17 points and Dario Hunt went for 15 as the Wolf Pack went into Las Cruces and picked up a key win. Nevada, who is one of the least talked about good teams in the country, is now 6-0 in league play, a full two games ahead of NMSU.

Pac-12:

– Washington 60, Arizona State 54
– Arizona 85, Washington State 61
– UCLA 76, Utah 49
– Colorado 74, USC 50

Davidson 64, Chattanooga 63: JP Kuhlman scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half, but it was a Nik Cochran free throw with one second left on the clock that saved the Wildcats from blowing a seven point lead with just 1:22 left in the game. Davidson still has an outside chance of earning an at-large bid.

Oakland 92, South Dakota State 87: Nate Wolters outplayed Reggie Hamilton, going for 21 points, 12 assists and eight boards, but the Jackrabbits still lost to the Grizzlies and fell two games behind Oral Roberts in the Summit League standings. Why? Travis Bader went 10-14 from three and scored 37 points.

UNC-Greensboro 77, Appalachian State 73 OT: Wes Miller took over UNCG in the middle of the season. They had two wins at the time and were mired in a massive losing streak. They won their first game of the season at College of Charleston and haven’t lost since, winning five in a row. And now, they are tied for second in the SoCon’s north division. Who saw that coming?

Robert Morris 75, LIU 66: Robert Morris did the rest of the NEC a favor by knocking off the Blackbirds on the strength of 23 points, seven assists and six boards from Velton Jones. RMU was up by as much as 15 in the second half. Wagner, RMU and St. Francis (NY) are now tied for second in the league at 7-2, a game behind LIU.

Other notable results:

– UNC-Asheville 90, High Point 70
– Gardner-Webb 78, Campbell 72
– Nebraska 79, Iowa 73
– Coastal Carolina 52, Prebyterian 49
– Milwaukee 53, Butler 42
– Middle Tennessee State 71, Troy 58
– Oral Roberts 97, South Dakota 64
– Green Bay 75, Valpo 60
– LBSU 77, UC Riverside 70 OT
– Weber State 75, Sacramento State 60

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK
0 Comments

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies

Joe Rondone/USA TODAY NETWORK
1 Comment

SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

uconn
Michael Hickey/Getty Images
0 Comments

STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.

Dream’s McDonald returning to Arizona to coach under Barnes

Getty Images
0 Comments

TUCSON, Ariz. — Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald is returning to Arizona to work under coach Adia Barnes.

The school announced that McDonald will serve as director of recruiting operations while continuing to fulfill her WNBA commitments. She will oversee all recruiting logistics, assist with on-campus visits, manage recruit information and social media content at Arizona.

McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after transferring from Washington as a sophomore. She was an All-American and the Pac-12 player of the year in 2020-21, leading the Wildcats to the national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.

McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career scoring average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick of the 2021 WNBA draft.

South Carolina, Staley cancel BYU games over racial incident

Getty Images
1 Comment

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina and women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley have canceled a home-and-home series with BYU over a recent racial incident where a Cougars fan yelled slurs at a Duke volleyball player.

The Gamecocks were scheduled to start the season at home against BYU on Nov. 7, then play at the Utah campus during the 2023-24 season.

But Staley cited BYU’s home volleyball match last month as reason for calling off the series.

“As a head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and staff,” Staley said in a statement released by South Carolina on Friday. “The incident at BYU has led me to reevaluate our home-and-home, and I don’t feel that this is the right time for us to engage in this series.”

Duke sophomore Rachel Richardson, a Black member of the school’s volleyball team, said she heard racial slurs from the stands during the match.

BYU apologized for the incident and Richardson said the school’s volleyball players reached out to her in support.

South Carolina said it was searching for another home opponent to start the season.

Gamecocks athletic director Ray Tanner spoke with Staley about the series and supported the decision to call off the games.