Wednesday’s Snacks: No. 15 North Carolina wins, and Michigan State rebounds

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: New Mexico 71, UNLV 69

A key strip by Arthur Edwards in the final seconds preserved a two-point win for the Lobos, who were led by a 22-point performance from senior guard Hugh Greenwood. Greenwood made six of his nine attempts from three, and down the stretch Deshawn Delaney got into the act with some timely drives to the basket. As for UNLV, Christian Wood scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds but their 13 turnovers were converted into 18 points by New Mexico. So while New Mexico remains part of the Mountain West conversation, the Runnin’ Rebels are now 1-5 in conference play with a team that people expected a lot more from before the season began.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 15 North Carolina 87, Wake Forest 71: Roy Williams’ Tar Heels used a balanced effort to take care of the Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem, with four starters scoring in double figures and a fifth (J.P. Tokoto) scoring eight points. Brice Johnson (19 points, six rebounds) and Kennedy Meeks (16 points, eight rebounds) both shot 8-for-11 from the field, and as a team North Carolina made more than 60 percent of its field goals. Codi Miller-McIntyre led all scorers with 20, but it’s tough to win when you shoot 40 percent from the field and give up 50 points in the paint.

2. Michigan State 66, Penn State 60: After falling at Maryland on Saturday, the Spartans needed to rebound Wednesday night with the Nittany Lions in town and they were able to do so despite a 27-point night from Penn State’s D.J. Newbill. Branden Dawson led five Spartans in double figures with 12 points, and he combined with Gavin Schilling to grab 17 rebounds. As a team Michigan State rebounded just over 40 percent of its misses, and outside of Newbill they managed to keep Penn State in check on the other end.

STARRED

1. Rico Gathers, Baylor: Sure, Huston-Tillotson wasn’t a top-level opponent. But in Baylor’s 81-61 victory Gathers scored 25 points and grabbed 28 rebounds. with Paul Millsap (2006) being the last Division I player to grab that many rebounds in a single game.

2. DeAndre Bembry, Saint Joseph’s: In the Hawks’ 62-56 win over UMass the sophomore accounted for 25 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, five steals and three blocks.

3. Omar Prewitt, William & Mary: Scored 30 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the Tribe’s 84-80 loss at Delaware.

STRUGGLED

1. Maxie Esho, UMass: Esho shot 1-for-6 from the field, finishing with two points, three rebounds and three turnovers in 26 foul-plagued minutes in a 62-56 loss at Saint Joseph’s.

2. IPFW: The Mastodons committed 24 turnovers in their 82-53 loss at South Dakota State.

3. San Jose State: Tough night for the Spartans, who lost 86-36 at Boise State. Dave Wojcik’s team shot 25 percent from the field and finished with more turnovers (20) than made baskets (11).

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • In a matchup of 5-1 teams No. 20 Northern Iowa held off Indiana State 66-60 in Cedar Falls. Matt Bohannon led four starters in double figures with 17 points.
  • No. 14 Wichita State remained undefeated in the Missouri Valley with a 76-53 win at Missouri State. Ron Baker, Tekele Cotton and Fred Van Vleet scored 15 points apiece, and Darius Carter added 14 for the Shockers.
  • No. 12 Utah rebounded from its loss at Arizona with an 86-64 win over Washington State. Brandon Taylor (18 points, seven assists) and Delon Wright (17 points, eight assists) led the way, and the Utes converted 17 Cougar turnovers into 21 points.

NOTABLES

  • Tulsa moved to 6-0 in the American with a 73-55 win over Memphis. Shaquille Harrison led the way with 18 points, ten rebounds and six assists.
  • St. John’s picked up a much-needed home win, beating Marquette 60-57 despite Matt Carlino scoring 21 for the Golden Eagles. Sir-Dominic Pointer and Rysheed Jordan scored 15 apiece for the Red Storm.
  • Chris Hass scored 26 points on 10-for-15 shooting from the field as Bucknell moved to 5-2 in the Patriot League with a 75-61 win at Loyola (MD). The Bison are tied atop the Patriot League with Colgate.
  • Denver closed the game on a 20-1 run as they beat Oral Roberts 73-66. Nate Engesser led the way with 18 points, and Marcus Byrd added 11 off the bench.
  • Illinois received solid performances from multiple players in their 66-57 win over Purdue. Malcolm Hill scored 18 points, Leron Black posted a double-double (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Nnanna Egwu accounted for 11 points, seven rebounds and five blocks.
  • Rick Ray’s Mississippi State team snapped two streaks in their 78-71 win at Auburn. The Bulldogs had lost their last 22 road games, and there was also a streak of 19 straight losses in SEC road games.

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.