Late Night Snacks: Wildcats survive test, stay unbeaten

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Game of the Night

No. 3 Arizona 60, Utah 57: Solomon Hill led all scorers with 19 points and the Wildcats remained undefeated at 14-0. A surprisingly tough Utah squad dictated the tempo of the game and had a chance to send the game to overtime in the final second. Utes guard Jarred DuBois fired off a last-second shot that bounced around before dropping to the court.

Meaningful Outcomes

No. 10 Gonzaga 81, Santa Clara 74: Kelly Olynyk is rapidly becoming the sort of player who can put a team on his back. He scored 33 points and jump-started the offense for others by snagging nine defensive rebounds against the Broncs. Olynyk’s big day overshadowed another fine performance by Santa Clara’s Kevin Foster, who had 29 points in a losing effort in front of his home crowd.

No. 12 Missouri 66, Bucknell 64: Head Bison Mike Muscala was awesome. 25 points and 14 rebounds worth of awesome, in fact. Phil Pressey just managed to be a little bit awesomer, putting up a career-high 26 points to go with five assists. Pressey continues to control the rhythm of close games, giving the Tigers a steady hand at the tiller when it’s needed most. And, it appears, he can score a bit as well.

Murray St. 74, Southeast Missouri St. 66: Isaiah Canaan is a heck of a player, but imagine how tough it would be for him to win games without Ed Daniel on his side. Daniel scored 15 points and hauled down 17 rebounds against SEMO, a crucial complement to Canaan’s 28 points. Stacy Wilson chipped in 14 points to get the Racers to 2-0 in the young OVC season.

Starred

Stan Okoye, VMI: Okoye led the run-and-gun Keydets to their first Big South victory of the season. He was the nation’s top scorer with 39 points, and he added 8 rebounds and 3 steals in an 86-77 win over the Presbyterian Blue Hose.

D.J. Cooper, Ohio: Cooper’s scoring touch wasn’t required in this game, as Nick Kellogg broke out for 22 points. Cooper scored 12 points of his own, but found more joy in sharing the rock, dishing out 17 assists.

Notre Dame for three: Scott Martin scored 22 points for the Irish, leading the way with 6-7 three point shots. The rest of the team followed in train, going for 66.7% from deep.

Struggled

Ohio State: Illlinois is a tough team, but the Buckeyes were supposed to be a little more competitive than this. 33% shooting from the floor, 21% from deep, and 68% from the line. As bad as the offensive showing was, the porous defense the Buckeyes showed in this early Big Ten test will be much harder to overcome.

Drexel big men: Frantz Massenat, Damion Lee and Derrick Thomas did their part, scoring 46 of Drexel’s 66 points against Towson. But the surprising Tigers got another huge double-double from Jerelle Benimon and came away with the win. As effective as the Tiger frontcourt was on offense, the Drexel frontcourt was ineffective. Dartaye Ruffin and Daryl McCoy combined for just seven points in the loss.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky will play its annual Blue-White men’s basketball scrimmage in Eastern Kentucky to benefit victims of the devastating summer floods.

The school announced that the Oct. 22 event at Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville will feature a pregame Fan Fest. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

Wildcat players will also participate in a community service activity with local organizations in the relief effort.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide a temporary escape with basketball and community engagement.”

The scrimmage traditionally is held at Rupp Arena. It will occur eight days after its Big Blue Madness public workout at Rupp.

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.