Late Night Snacks: No. 5 Wisconsin wraps up share of Big Ten title while Pitt, Stanford suffer damaging losses

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Ohio State 65, Purdue 61

The Boilermakers led by 12 points at the half, but Ohio State shot nearly 55 percent in the second half and ultimately won by four in Columbus. D’Angelo Russell led the way with 28 points and seven rebounds, and guards Shannon Scott and Kam Williams made some key free throws down the stretch with the freshman star on the bench with four fouls. A.J. Hammons led three Boilermakers in double figures with 16 points to go along with six rebounds and three blocks. Purdue is still in control of its own fate when it comes to wrapping up a double bye in the Big Ten tournament, but their cushion shrinks by a game as a result of this loss.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. Wake Forest 69, Pittsburgh 66

For teams on the bubble, these final weeks before Selection Sunday are just as much about bad losses as they are quality wins. While Danny Manning’s Demon Deacons have come up short in multiple close games in ACC play, this was a loss Pittsburgh could not afford to suffer. The Panthers are 19-11 on the season, but they’ve won just two road games (2-8) and their best non-conference victory came against Kansas State. With games against Miami and Florida State left to be played before the ACC tournament, Jamie Dixon needs his team to rebound from Sunday’s disappointing defeat in short order.

2. No. 5 Wisconsin 68, Michigan State 61

Faced with an opponent that was looking to rebound from a disappointing overtime loss to Minnesota on Thursday, the Badgers led by as much as 22 as they wrapped up a share of the Big Ten title. On Senior Day, senior Frank Kaminsky led the way for the Badgers with 31 points and eight rebounds. Wisconsin shot 52 percent from the field, and on the other end they limited Denzel Valentine to ten points on 3-for-9 shooting.

3. UConn 81, No. 21 SMU 73

Kevin Ollie’s Huskies are in all likelihood going to need their conference’s automatic bid to return to the NCAA tournament, even with Sunday’s win over the Mustangs in Hartford. But with the Huskies hosting the conference tournament, getting Rodney Purvis (career-high 28 points) going is certainly a positive. The biggest beneficiary of this result: Tulsa (14-2), which now leads SMU (14-3) by a game in the loss column atop the American standings. The Golden Hurricane and Mustangs meet next weekend in Dallas, with the winner getting the top seed in the conference tournament.

STARRED

1. Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky

Kaminsky added another quality game to his national Player of the Year resume, scoring 31 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the Badgers’ win over Michigan State.

2. Providence’s LaDontae Henton

Henton’s one of the candidates for Big East Player of the Year, and he didn’t disappoint in the Friars’ win over Marquette. Henton scored 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, corralling his 1,000th career rebound in the process.

3. UConn’s Rodney Purvis and Ryan Boatright

With Purvis scoring a career-high 28 points and Boatright adding 23, the Huskies were able to beat No. 21 SMU 81-73.

STRUGGLED

1. Michigan State’s Branden Dawson

Dawson finished with four points and two rebounds in the Spartans’ loss at Wisconsin. Tom Izzo needs more from his senior forward at this point in the season.

2. Fairfield’s Mike Kirkland Jr.

Averaging 8.4 points per game this season, Kirkland missed all seven of his shots and went scoreless in the Stags’ one-point loss at Niagara.

3. Stanford’s Chasson Randle

Randle scored 17 points and dished out six assists in the Cardinal’s 73-70 loss to Oregon, but he scored those points on 6-for-18 shooting and struggled down the stretch.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • LaDontae Henton scored 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as No. 25 Providence beat Marquette 77-66. Fellow Friar Kris Dunn added 16 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals.

NOTABLES

  • Saint Peter’s limited Iona to 31.6% shooting from the field, winning 68-60 in Jersey City and grabbing the seven-seed in next week’s MAAC tournament.
  • Manhattan will be the three-seed in the MAAC tournament thanks to their 69-65 win over Quinnipiac. With the Jaspers and Iona on opposite sides of the bracket, the two rivals could meet in the MAAC title game for a third consecutive year.
  • California went on a 24-2 second half run to turn an eight-point deficit into a 14-point lead as they beat Oregon State 73-56 in Berkeley.
  • Oregon completed its first sweep of the Bay Area road swing since 1976 with a 73-70 win over Stanford. The Ducks also locked up a first round bye in the Pac-12 tournament. As for the Cardinal, they’re headed in the wrong direction with a trip to the Arizona schools remaining on the schedule.
  • Norman Powell scored a career-high 28 points to lead UCLA to a 72-67 home win over Washington State. The Bruins close out the regular season Wednesday night against rival USC.

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.