Late Night Snacks: Omar (Strong) comin’, yo

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Games of the Night

No. 19 Colorado 85, Texas Southern 80 2OT: Double overtime against a team that was 1-5 on the season with four losses by more that 18 points is not impressive. Winning despite the fact that someone named Omar Strong goes for 39 and your star player — Andre Roberson — fouls out at the end of regulation is. So take this for what it is worth: a terrific basketball game. Texas Southern tied the game with a three with 13 seconds left at the end of the first overtime, after Askia Booker his a tough, shot clock-beating three from the corner 20 seconds earlier. Regulation ended as Strong missed a decent look at a step-back three.

No. 3 Michigan 79, No. 18 NC State 72: We talked about this game plenty here, so I want to get into Lorenzo Brown a little bit. He entered this game averaging 11.4 points and 4.4 assists, which isn’t bad but certainly comes no where near the expectations he had coming in to the season. Brown solved his distribution issues on Tuesday, improving his nearly 1:1 assist-to-turnover ration by handing out ten assists while committing just a single turnover. His scoring, however, is a different issue. Brown lowered his 34.8% shooting from the floor with a 3-10 performance against Michigan, and is now just 1-10 from beyond the arc this season. That’s a problem because he’s not finishing around the rim well at all. A disappointing start, without a doubt.

Important Outcomes

No. 1 Indiana 83, No. 14 UNC 59: Indiana looked superb. UNC? Not so much. Not sure what else needs to be said here.

Southern Miss 61, Denver 50: Denver, the WAC’s one-year rental that was supposed to come in and potentially win the league, is now off to a 1-4 start after losing an ugly affair with the Golden Eagles. The score was 23-15 at the half, and USM used a 14-5 run early in the second half to open up a 17 point lead. Dwayne Davis had 22 points to lead the way, as Southern Miss won their 24th straight home game, the sixth best streak in the country. Chris Udofia had just six points on 3-6 shooting.

Virginia Tech 95, Iowa 79: Erick Green had 24 points, five boards and five assists as the Hokies ran through an Iowa team that was supposed to be pretty good this season. The Hokies have no problem putting up points. This is the third game they’ve scored at least 95, something they didn’t do once a season ago. Jarell Eddie and Robert Brown have proven to be solid complimentary pieces. If the Hokies had Dorian Finney-Smith and Montrezl Harrell this year, they might actually be a tournament team.

Starred

Sandro Carissimo, Vermont: Carissimo went for 25 points and six assists in a win at Harvard.

Trey Burke, Michigan: Burke was absolutely dominant in a win over No. 18 NC State. He finished with 18 points, 11 assists and no turnovers in the win. He went scoreless in the first half, handing out nine of his assists, while taking the game over in the second half as a scorer.

Omar Strong, Texas Southern: 39 points. Double OT. At No. 19 Colorado. While cramping. With 52 points on the season coming in. Omar. Strong.

Struggled

James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina: No. 14 North Carolina got embarrassed by No. 1 Indiana on Tuesday night as their star, McAdoo, was put into his place by Cody Zeller. He finished shooting 4-15 with just 10 points.

Drew Crawford, Northwestern: Northwestern suffered their first loss of the season, but it was a bad one, losing at home to Maryland by 20. Crawford was 4-14 from the floor and finished with just 10 points. As a team, the Wildcats were 6-25 from three.

Michael Snaer, Ian Miller and Devon Bookert, Florida State: Michael Snaer: 3-9, 12 points. Ian Miller: 1-7, 2 points. Devon Bookert: 0-1, 0 points, 10 minutes. That ain’t gonna cut it. FSU lost to Minnesota 77-68.

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

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.