Late Night Snacks: Kansas, Arizona land big wins

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 10 Kansas 63, No. 13 Utah 60

The Jayhawks blew a 21-point second half lead, allowing the Utes to go on a 34-11 run to take a two-point before they regrouped, got a couple of stops and left Kansas City with a win.

We’ve touched on both of these teams recently. Bill Self has made it very clear that he’s no where near satisfied with his team right now, and considering that they’ve now beaten Utah, Michigan State, Florida and Georgetown (in DC), that’s a scary thought. As far as Utah is concerned, playing this tough non-conference schedule is going to be a major boost to them once we hit the heart of Pac-12 play.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 1 Kentucky 84, No. 21 North Carolina 70

Without junior wing Alex Poythress, Kentucky’s offense looked tremendous, as they shot 46 percent from the three-point line in an easy win. Willie Cauley-Stein and Devin Booker each had 15 points to lead the Wildcats while Aaron Harrison added 14 points. Kentucky’s defense slowed down North Carolina junior point guard Marcus Paige in the first half, but Paige still finished with 14 points while Brice Johnson added 15 to pace the Tar Heels.

2. No. 3 Arizona 80, Michigan 53

So this didn’t go all that well for the Wolverines. Michigan’s guards struggled to handle Arizona’s perimeter pressure and the Wildcat big men absolutely manhandled the John Beilein’s young bigs in the paint, which is a really bad combination of things to happen. Stanley Johnson looked like an all-american for the first time this season, finishing with 17 points, seven boards and three assists.

3. VCU 93, No. 23 Northern Iowa 87 (2OT): What a game this was.

Treveon Graham had 21 points — including a layup to force the first overtime and a huge three at the shot block buzzer in the second overtime to put VCU up four — as VCU picked up a win they desperately needed on Saturday night. Seth Tuttle, UNI’s best player, was pretty ineffective against the Rams, but Wes Washpun came off the bench to chip in with 27 points.

STARRED

1. Tashawn Thomas, Oklahoma: In his best game as a Sooner, Thomas finished with 25 points and shot 9-for-12 from the floor as No. 16 Oklahoma rolled Tulsa.

2. Aaron Bright and Kerry Carter, St. Mary’s: Bright and Carter combined for 41 points on 15-for-27 shooting (8-for-15 on threes) as the Gaels managed to beat Creighton in Omaha in overtime, 71-67, despite getting just two field goals from superstar Brad Waldow.

3. Cam Payne, Murray State: The sophomore point guard finished with 32 points and eight assists as the Racers went into Evansville and knocked off the Purple Aces and a game-winning layup with 1.1 seconds left.

4. Dillon Brooks, Oregon: Brooks had 24 points as the Ducks landed a nice win over Illinois. He’s not the most well-known freshman in the Pac-12, but he’s one of the best.

STRUGGLED

1. The Memphis backcourt: Five Tiger guards combined to go 4-for-16 from the floor and finish with nine points, five assists and 12 turnovers in a 73-55 loss to an Oklahoma State team that just lost to Oklahoma by 26. This team is bad.

2. Jarvis Summers, Ole Miss: Summers finished just 2-for-14 from the floor and had no answer for T.J. Price, who went for 26 points, 10 boards and five assists, as Western Kentucky knocked off the Rebels in Oxford.

3. Cincinnati at the foul line: The Bearcats shot 12-for-24 from the foul line at Nebraska, and that proved to be the difference as they lost 56-55 in double overtime.

NOTABLES

  • Arkansas is who we thought they were. Bad on the road, good at home. They beat Dayton 69-55 today.
  • Chasson Randle was 2-for-14 from the floor, but Anthony Brown had 17 points in a 49-43 win for Stanford over Denver.
  • Jakeenan Gant made his debut for Missouri today. He finished with 13 points in 15 minutes off the bench, but Missouri got smacked around by Xavier, 74-58.
  • Maryland struggled to make shots in the first half and trailed at halftime, but Melo Trimble finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds and Jake Layman added 17 in a 67-57 win over USC Upstate.
  • No. 11 Wichita State went on a 15-3 run to seal a win at Detroit as Darius Carter finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds and Ron Baker added 19 points. Juwan Howard Jr. had 27 in a losing effort for the Titans.
  • A.J. English was just 1-for-11 from the floor, but David Laury had 30 points and 11 boards and Isaiah Williams had 27 points in a 91-84 win over Indiana State.
  • Aaron Bowen had 16 points as Georgetown cruised past Radford, 76-49.
  • Zach Auguste scored 26 points to lead No. 25 Notre Dame to a 83-63 win over Florida State in the ACC opener for both.
  • Ohio State’s Sam Thompson had 15 points, five assists and five rebounds in a win over Morehead State. And did this.
  • Another productive outing for LaDontae Henton, as the Providence senior forward had 19 points and five rebounds in a win over Stony Brook.
  • Shaquielle McKissic had 22 points and 11 boards in an 81-74 win for Arizona State over Pepperdine.
  • Freshman Riley LaChance scored a career-high 26 points to help lead Vanderbilt to an 81-71 win over Purdue in Nashville.
  • California erased a nine-point halftime deficit to beat Princeton 67-57, and they limited the Tigers to 20 points in the second half. Tyrone Wallace led the way for the Golden Bears with 23 points and eight rebounds.
  • Kyle Wiltjer and Byron Wesley combined to score 44 points to lead No. 9 Gonzaga to an 87-74 win at UCLA.

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

Joe Rondone/USA TODAY NETWORK
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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.