Late Night Snacks: Top-ranked Kentucky tops No. 6 Texas, No. 11 Kansas erases large halftime deficit

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 11 Kansas 71 Florida 65

Kansas trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half, however, behind an energized crowd and the best offensive outing of the season for sophomore Wayne Selden, the Jayhawks stormed back going on a 17-0 run to take a six-point lead with under 4:30 to play. The win also saw Cliff Alexander’s first career double-double.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 1 Kentucky 63, No. 6 Texas 51

The Wildcats didn’t shoot well, were heavily outrebounded to start the first half and wre tied heading into halftime. But the frontline and their defense led the charge against No. 6 Texas. Willie Cauley-Stein was a force on both ends, as he helped spark an 18-2 run that started the second half. Kentucky still has non-conference meetings with No. 12 North Carolina, UCLA and No. 5 Louisville left in the month of December.

Yale 45, UConn 44

Yale led for the first 33 minutes, but almost let the win slip from its hands as UConn stormed back late. Down two, with seconds remaining, Jack Montague hit his only field goal of the night, a baseline three — the same shot Jonathan Holmes connected on in Texas’ win over UConn on Sunday — to hand the Huskies their third straight loss. The Bulldogs are a real threat in the Ivy League, and tonight was further proof. Justin Sears went for 12 points and 15 rebounds.

Boston College 69, Providence 60 

The Friars have been a pleasant surprise this season after reaching the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade a season ago. However, they’ve dropped two straight. One was two the No. 1 team, but Friday PC suffered a tough loss to former conference foe, Boston College. Kris Dunn and Carson Desrosiers accounted for 39 of the team’s 60 points. LaDonate Henton and Tyler Harris were both held to single digits.

STARRED

Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky: White platoon or blue platoon, Willie Cauley-Stein was staying on the floor for Kentucky. The junior center recorded 21 points, 12 rebounds, five steals and three blocks in top-ranked Kentucky’s win over Texas.

Wayne Selden, Kansas: The sophomore guard scored 27 points (7-of-25 shooting) in three games in the Orlando Classic. On Friday night, Selden scored at the rim and hit from the perimeter, going for a season-high 21 points.

Olivier Hanlan, Boston College: In the biggest win of the year for BC, Hanlan scored a team-high 24 points, grabbed eight rebounds with three assists and three steals.

STRUGGLED

UConn: The Huskies were beat up on the boards and saw the same shot take them down for the second time this week. It also hasn’t been a good start to the season for the entire American Athletic Conference.

LaDontae Henton, Providence: After scoring a career-high 38 points in a win over Notre Dame, one of the nation’s best scorers has gone cold. The 3 points, off 1-of-8 shooting on Saturday had a lot to do with Kentucky, but on Friday night in a loss to Boston College, Henton was 4-of-16, again being held to single digits.

Florida’s second half: The Gators offense was great in the first half, but that changed in the second half with an improved effort from the Kansas defense. Florida shot 19 percent lower in the second half than it did in the first. The result was an 18-point lead vanishing, as the Gators left with their fourth loss of the season, one more than the entire 2013-14 season.

TOP 25

  • No. 1 Kentucky 63, Texas 51
  • No. 5 Louisville 82, FIU 57
  • No. 11 Kansas 67, Florida 57
  • No. 22 Oklahoma 82, Missouri 63

NOTABLES

  • Boston College avenge last season’s loss to Providence with a 69-60 win. Olivier Hanlan went for 24 points and eight rebounds
  • Stephen F. Austin dropped Long Beach State. Good win for the Lumberjacks. The 49ers are now 5-5 and will have a five-game road trip to end out the month. Here are their opponents: No. 13 San Diego State, No. 6 Texas, St. John’s, Syracuse, No. 5 Louisville
  • Montrezl Harrell recorded a double-double with 13 points and 12 boards in Louisville’s win over FIU
  • SMU trailed Wyoming by six in the second half, but turned that into a 13-point win. Nic Moore had 25 points.
  • Fairfield upset Manhattan, 67-54, in the MAAC season-opener
  • Pittsburgh beat crosstown rival Duquesne, 76-62
  • Minnesota topped Western Carolina by 20
  • Coastal Carolina upset Auburn, 58-54. The Bruce Pearl era is under .500
  • Ryan Spangler (18), Buddy Hield (17) and Isaiah Cousins (16) were three Sooners in double figures in No. 22 Oklahoma’s win over Missouri.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK
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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

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK
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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.