Late Night Snacks: Saturday’s Elite Eight matchups set

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 1 Arizona 70, No. 4 San Diego State 64

For 37 minutes Arizona’s Nick Johnson couldn’t buy a bucket, as he missed all ten of his shots from the field. But complete players find other ways in which to help their team when the shots aren’t falling and Johnson did that, continuing to defend, rebound (eight rebounds) and distribute (three assists) the basketball. And when it was winning time the Pac-12 Player of the Year stepped forward, scoring 15 points in the final three minutes.

Just as important for Arizona was their improvement in keeping Josh Davis off of the boards, as the forward corralled 11 rebounds in the first half. His second-half rebound total: three. Xavier Thames scored 25 points and Dwayne Polee II added 13 for the Aztecs, who end their season with a record of 31-5. Next up for Arizona, which also received 15 points and six rebounds from Aaron Gordon, is No. 2 Wisconsin.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 1 Florida 79, No. 4 UCLA 68

After shooting no better than 39% in either of their two games in Orlando last weekend the Gators shot 50% from the field against UCLA, with Michael Frazier II scoring 19 points and Scottie Wilbekin adding 13. Also of note for Florida was their bench, with Dorian Finney-Smith (ten points, six rebounds and four assists), Kasey Hill (six points, ten assists and six rebounds) and Chris Walker (seven points, three rebounds) all having productive evenings. UCLA had its chances to get wrestle away control of the game, but the Bruins were unable to get the stops they needed in the second half.

2) No. 2 Wisconsin 69, No. 6 Baylor 52

The Badgers removed any doubt early, limiting the Bears to 16 points and 20% shooting in the first half. Frank Kaminsky led Wisconsin with 19 points and six blocked shots, and against Baylor’s zone defense the Badgers were able to get many of the quality looks they desired. Baylor shot just 31.6% against Wisconsin’s pack line defense, and after going off against Creighton on Sunday guards Kenny Chery and Brady Heslip combined to shoot 3-for-14 from the field.

3) No. 11 Dayton 82, No. 10 Stanford 72

Balance and depth have been keys for Dayton throughout the season, and that was once again the case as the Flyers advanced to their first Elite Eight in 30 years. Jordan Sibert scored 18 points to lead four Dayton players in double figures, and Archie Miller’s reserves combined to score 34 points. Stanford had its issues on both ends of the floor, with Chasson Randle shooting 5-for-21 from the field and the defense struggling to limit Dayton’s quality looks in both zone and man-to-man. Next up for Dayton, which last reached the Final Four in 1967, is No. 1 Florida.

STARRED

1) Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin) 

19 points (8-for-11 FG), six blocks, four rebounds and three assists in Wisconsin’s 69-52 win over Baylor.

2) Michael Frazier II (Florida)

19 points (5-for-8 3PT), six rebounds and three assists in Florida’s 79-68 win over UCLA.

3) Jordan Sibert (Dayton) 

18 points (7-for-12 FG), three rebounds and two assists in the Flyers’ 82-72 win over Stanford.

STRUGGLED

1) Brady Heslip and Kenny Chery (Baylor)

Chery scored 12 points but did so on 2-for-8 shooting from the field in Baylor’s 69-52 loss to Wisconsin, and Heslip scored three points on 1-for-6 shooting.

2) Chasson Randle (Stanford)

Randle scored 21 points but did so on 5-for-21 shooting while also accounting for five rebounds, five turnovers and three assists.

3) Anthony Brown (Stanford)

Brown scored just four points on 1-for-5 shooting from the field in Stanford’s loss to Dayton.

CIT: Murray State advances to semifinals

Murray State advanced to the semifinals of the CIT with an 85-73 win over Towson in Murray. Cameron Payne led four Racers in double figures with 24 points to go along with seven assists, four rebounds and five steals, and as a team Murray State shot 10-for-23 from beyond the arc. In his final game at Towson senior forward Jerrelle Benimon scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and Mike Burwell scored a team-high 20 points.

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.