Saturday’s Snacks: No. 4 Duke rebounds to beat No. 2 Virginia, and No. 8 Notre Dame falls

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 4 Duke 69, No. 2 Virginia 63

It’s been a busy week for the Duke basketball program. First there was Mike Krzyzewski’s 1,000th career win on Sunday, followed by a loss at No. 8 Notre Dame on Wednesday and the dismissal of Rasheed Sulaimon on Thursday. Saturday night, the Blue Devils erased an 11-point second half deficit to hand the previously undefeated Cavaliers their first loss of the season. Quinn Cook and Tyus Jones made huge shots down the stretch, with Jones’ dagger of a three shutting the door with 9.9 seconds remaining. Jones scored 17 points, with Cook and Justise Winslow adding 15 apiece and Jahlil Okafor ten. Malcolm Brogdon scored 17 to lead the way for Virginia but it wasn’t enough, as Duke became the first team to shoot better than 50% against the Cavaliers this season. .

BUZZER-BEATER OF THE NIGHT: If you haven’t seen Trevor Lacey’s buzzer-beater to give N.C. State a road win at Georgia Tech, I suggest you check it out.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. Pitt 76, No. 8 Notre Dame 72

Earlier this week, Pitt fell on the road to Virginia Tech and Notre Dame beat Duke. So, naturally, the No. 8 Fighting Irish lost to the Panthers on the road on Saturday as the ACC continued its crazy conference season. Notre Dame had a tough time getting stops in the second half and James Robinson’s go-ahead runner with 12 seconds left gave Pitt the huge win. Robinson had his first career double-double with 14 points and 10 assists while Jamel Artis chipped in 20 points and eight rebounds.

2. No. 10 Louisville 78, No. 13 North Carolina 68 (OT)

When the Tar Heels led by 18 with 17:51 left in regulation the game was in their favor, as Roy Williams’ team defended well and kept the Cardinals out of the open floor. But Rick Pitino’s team kept fighting, ramping things up on both ends of the floor and eventually forcing overtime. From there it was all Louisville, with Terry Rozier rebounding from a slow start to score 22 points and grab ten rebounds with Montrezl Harrell adding 22 points of his own along with 15 rebounds. Marcus Paige, who left the game in the second half after rolling his ankle (he did return), scored 15 to lead the way for UNC but their foul shooting (11-for-20; minus-16 in points from the foul line) opened the door for a Louisville comeback.

3. No. 1 Kentucky 70, Alabama 55

With Virginia losing there’s just one undefeated team left in college basketball, with that team being the Kentucky Wildcats. UK took care of Alabama in Lexington, with Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns leading four double digit scorers with 12 points apiece. The Crimson Tide shot 4-for-16 from three and finished the game with four assists and 13 turnovers. If there’s a negative to take from this game for Kentucky it would be rebounding, as Alabama posted an offensive rebounding percentage of 42.9%. Kentucky’s Trey Lyles missed the game due to illness.

STARRED

1. Saint Joseph’s Deandre Bembry

The Hawks trailed by 13 at the half against Davidson and made a major second-half rally for a nice home win in the Atlantic 10. Bembry was the catalyst, as he went for 21 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists.

2. Illinois’ Malcolm Hill

Hill drove and made a go-ahead layup with a little over four seconds left to give Illinois a Big Ten home win over Penn State. Hill scored 27 and picked up the slack as Rayvonte Rice and Aaron Cosby were suspended before the game.

3. Drexel guard Damion Lee

Lee tallied 32 points on 10-for-14 shooting, 13 rebounds and three assists in the Dragons’ 85-76 win over UNCW.

4. USC Upstate’s Ty Greene

In USC Upstate’s 79-74 win at North Florida, Greene scored 39 points (13-for-19 FG, 8-for-11 3PT) to go along with four rebounds and three steals. UNF entered the game 6-0 in Atlantic Sun play.

STRUGGLED

1. Auburn’s Trayvon Reed

The freshman big man was ejected from the Tigers’ loss to Tennessee as he committed a silly technical foul after not lining up properly during a free throw. Reed only played three minutes and was also assessed a flagrant foul before being ejected. Reed on Saturday was like the basketball version of a hockey goon.

2. Creighton

Saturday was a bad day for the Bluejays, who lost 67-40 to Georgetown in Omaha. Greg McDermott’s team shot 20.8% (11-for-53) from the field.

3. Colorado’s Xavier Johnson

The junior forward had a tough go of it in the Buffaloes’ 72-59 loss at UCLA, going 0-for-7 from the field and failing to score.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Wisconsin earned a road win at Iowa as the No. 5 Badgers had 24 points and nine rebounds from Player of the Year candidate Frank Kaminsky.
  • Kansas jumped all over in-state rival Kansas State in the first half and never looked back as Perry Ellis had 16 points and 12 rebounds. The 9th-ranked Jayhawks moved to 7-1 in the Big 12 with the win.
  • It was tight for a half, but No. 15 Iowa State pulled away from TCU for an 83-66 home win. Georges Niang finished with 23 points and eight rebounds.
  • After only leading by six at the break, No. 17 West Virginia pulled away in the second half for an easy win over Texas Tech. Devin Williams led the Mountaineers with 18 points and eight rebounds.
  • No. 14 VCU suffered its first conference loss, 64-55 to Richmond, but the bigger loss was senior point guard Briante Weber. Weber will miss the remainder of the season after tearing the ACL, MCL and meniscus in his right knee.
  • Defense was a big key for No. 21 Georgetown as they held Creighton without a field goal for 17 minutes in a road Big East win.
  • Seth Tuttle scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead No. 18 Northern Iowa to a 70-54 win over No. 12 Wichita State. The two teams are now tied atop the Missouri Valley standings.
  • Kenny Chery accounted for 23 points, five assists and four rebounds, and Royce O’Neale added 20, eight rebounds and five assists as No. 20 Baylor rolled to an 83-60 win over No. 19 Texas.
  • No. 24 Oklahoma made things a bit more interesting than they needed to be down the stretch at Oklahoma State, but the Sooners managed to remain in front and win 64-56. Jordan Woodard led four starters in double figures with 17 points.
  • No. 3 Gonzaga took care of business at home, beat Memphis 82-64 with Przemek Karnowski scoring 17 to lead four players in double figures.

NOTABLES

  • Tulsa moved to 9-0 in the American with an overtime win over feisty South Florida. Junior forward Rashad Smith led the Golden Hurricane with 21 points.
  • Florida escaped with a controversial win over Arkansas as Michael Frazier was fouled with 1.9 seconds left and made both free throws for the one-point win.
  • Sterling Gibbs netted 22 points as Seton Hall defeated Xavier for a Big East home win. In his first game back from injury, Isaiah Whitehead had 19 points.
  • Tennessee cheered the return of former head coach Bruce Pearl and then cheered even more when the Volunteers beat Pearl’s Auburn team 71-63. Armani Moore had 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead Tennessee.
  • St. John’s held off Providence at home as Sir’Dominic Pointer had 20 points, including a sweet buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the first half.
  • Temple held off Tulane for an American home win as Quenton DeCosey finished with a team-high 17 points.
  • A surprising win for Cleveland State over Green Bay in the Horizon League as Trey Lewis had 25 points and 12 rebounds.
  • Despite 25 points and 20 rebounds from Jordan Mickey, LSU lost on the road to Mississippi State.
  • Rhode Island is now in sole possession of second place in the Atlantic 10 after beating George Washington, 59-55. The Rams may be young but they don’t lack for talent, led by sophomores Hassan Martin (15 points, ten rebounds) and E.C. Matthews (ten points, four rebounds) and freshman Jared Terrell (17 points, six steals).
  • Texas A&M is a team to keep an eye on with regards to at-large bids in the SEC. Billy Kennedy’s team has now won six straight, as they beat Vanderbilt 69-58 in College Station.
  • South Dakota State moved to 8-2 in the Summit League with a 69-39 win over Denver, limiting the Pioneers to 12-for-36 shooting with 16 turnovers.
  • Wyoming and San Diego State remain tied atop the Mountain West standings, with both winning comfortably at home. The Cowboys took out Nevada, with the Aztecs beating Utah State by 20.
  • Washington State beat Stanford 89-88 in Pullman, with DaVonte’ Lacy scoring 25 points and Josh Hawkinson posting another double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Wazzu shot 55.3% from the field, and they won despite Chasson Randle scoring 33 points.
  • Murray State moved to 9-0 in OVC play with a 65-62 win over UT-Martin.
  • Stephen Austin is now 8-0 in Southland play after beating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 61-51. Brad Underwood is the fifth-fastest head coach to 50 wins in Division I history.
  • Texas Southern moved into a tie for first place in the SWAC with an 80-65 win over Alabama State, which entered the game 7-0 in conference play.
  • In a matchup of two one-loss teams in Big Sky play, Sacramento State defended their home court in beating Montana 70-69 on a Dylan Garrity three with six seconds remaining. The Hornets are now 9-1 in Big Sky games.

NCAA steering farther and farther away from harsh penalties

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The days of postseason bans and crippling scholarship reductions to punish schools for breaking NCAA rules appear to be winding down.

Memphis was placed on three years of probation earlier this week with a public reprimand and fined for NCAA violations related to the recruitment and short college career of James Wiseman, who is about to start his third season with the Golden State Warriors. The NCAA also wrapped up an investigation of Air Force football for breaking the COVID-19 recruiting quiet period.

No postseason bans or scholarship reductions in either case. The Independent Accountability Review Panel, the NCAA’s outside arm of enforcement, said in its decision in the Memphis case that it did not want to punish current athletes.

That sentiment is widespread in college athletics these days, even with millions of dollars suddenly flowing to athletes from various sources for their celebrity endorsements amid concerns over improper inducements. In fact, it is on the way to being codified: Last month, the Division I Board of Directors adopted three proposals to change the infractions process.

The board also committed to “identifying appropriate types of penalties and modifying current penalty ranges, including identifying potential alternative penalties to postseason bans.”

Trying to predict what those alternatives will be is difficult, but if the goal is to avoid harming athletes and others who were not involved in the violations the options are limited.

“I emphatically believe it’s the wrong direction to go,” said Nebraska law professor Jo Potuto, who spent nine years on the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“If you’re going to deter, the punishment has to fit the offense, right?” Potuto added. “You’re not going to deter serious violations with penalties that are not perceived to be really serious.”

Since January 2020, there have been at least 45 major infractions cases decided by the NCAA. Of those, at least 15 involved Level I allegations, the most serious and those carrying the most severe penalties; six cases resulted in some kind of postseason ban, with four of them self-imposed.

The Memphis case went through the IARP, which was created in response to the FBI’s investigation of college basketball corruption but is now being discontinued. Sunsetting the IARP was among several recommendations put forth by the NCAA’s Division I Transformation Committee earlier this year and recently adopted by the board.

As college sports moves toward less centralized governance by the NCAA and deregulation in general, the hope is to create a more streamlined enforcement process.

If justice is swift, the thinking goes, it is more likely to be applied fairly.

“The reality is the current system is broken,” said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner Jim Phillips, a member of the transformation committee. “I think everyone in the association, in the enterprise, understands it. When (an investigation) takes the amount of time that it does now and you start to penalize young men and women that were high school, if not middle school-age (when the violation occurred), it’s not an effective process.”

The IARP is still handling cases stemming from the FBI probe involving Louisville, Arizona, Kansas and LSU. Those have been in the NCAA enforcement pipeline for years. A related case against Oklahoma State did not go through IARP and the Cowboys did end up with a postseason ban.

David Ridpath, a professor at Ohio University and former compliance director for several schools, said even though the IARP failed, NCAA enforcement would be best handled by an independent organization.

“No system is perfect, but if you’re going to have an enforcement system at the end of the day you need to provide basic due-process protections and then you have to be able to consistently punish people,” he said.

In the Memphis case, Wiseman received $11,500 from Hardaway in 2017 while Hardaway was coach at a local high school. Hardaway was hired as Memphis’ coach in March 2018, and Wiseman committed to the Tigers in November 2018.

The NCAA accused Memphis of four Level I and two Level II violations, including lack of institutional control, head coach responsibility and failure to monitor. In the past, those types of allegations could strike fear into athletic directors but probation and fines seem much more likely to be the outcome now instead of the sweeping scholarship sanctions, vacated victories and postseason ban that Southern California received in 2010 for the Reggie Bush improper benefits case. Those penalties set USC football back years.

In the end, the IARP essentially reduced the charges against Memphis and cleared Hardaway of wrongdoing.

While the NCAA is losing sway in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court ruling, with more power being shifted to its member conferences, it also remains clear the schools still want the association to handle enforcement.

But what exactly is being enforced?

Athletes can now be paid for endorsement and sponsorship deals and college sports is still waiting on and hoping for help from federal lawmakers to regulate name, image and likeness compensation.

Plus, as revenue skyrockets for schools at the top of major college sports, the NCAA is trending toward fewer restrictions on what financial benefits can be provided to athletes.

“Until we have clarity and certainty on what schools and boosters and athletes can and can’t do, I think many recognize that it’s dangerous to hand down significant punishments when it’s not clear what you can and can’t do,” said Gabe Feldman, director of the sports law program at Tulane. “And I think unless you have clear rules, it’s hard to harsh punishment.”

Still, punishments directed at schools (fines) and coaches (suspensions) could become steeper and longer, Feldman said.

Potuto said with so much money flowing into the top of college athletics, it is doubtful fines could be large enough to be a true deterrent. While she understands the desire to not have current athletes pay for the sins of previous regimes, loosened transfer rules could mitigate the potential harm.

“I will make one prediction: If there is a move to impose penalties much less frequently in five years there is going to be a move to put them back in,” Potuto said.

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.