Late Night Snacks: Bubble teams Pittsburgh, LSU and Tulsa suffer home losses

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Bryant 91, Sacred Heart 85 (2OT)

Three of the four Northeast Conference tournament quarterfinal games were decided by nine points or more, with this wild affair being the exception. Up three late in regulation Sacred Heart decided to play defense, and the decision looked to be a good one…until Bryant’s Joe O’Shea knocked down a desperation three-pointer as time expired. O’Shea led the Bulldogs with 23 points and six rebounds, and Dyami Starks added 22 on 8-for-25 shooting from the field. Cane Broome, a freshman guard who’s going to be really good down the line, led six Pioneers in double figures with 23 points.

NEC semifinal matchups (Saturday): No. 5 Saint Francis (PA) at No. 1 St. Francis-Brooklyn; No. 3 Bryant at No. 2 Robert Morris

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES 

1. No. 12 Notre Dame 71, No. 16 Louisville 59

Jerian Grant had his issues in the second half, scoring two points on 1-for-5 shooting, but Bonzie Colson and Demetrius Jackson stepped forward for the Fighting Irish. Those two scored 11 points apiece in the final 20 minutes to lead the way for Notre Dame, which made its last seven field goal attempts. With the win Notre Dame wraps up the three-seed in next week’s ACC tournament, and the double-bye means that they won’t play until Thursday.

2. Miami 67, Pittsburgh 63

In a matchup of ACC teams in dire need of wins the Hurricanes won on the road despite not having Angel Rodriguez due to injury. Sheldon McClellan, who’s been banged up himself recently, scored 20 points and Davon Reed added 19 to lead the way. Michael Young led the Panthers with 22 points and seven rebounds, but the Panthers attempted 21 three-pointers and made just six. By comparison, Miami shot 6-for-12 from deep.

3. Michigan State 72, Purdue 66

Travis Trice scored 27 points to lead Michigan State to the six-point win at home, with the Spartans remaining in contention for a double-bye in the Big Ten tournament. Matt Costello was also key for the Spartans, as his play on both ends of the floor (13 points, seven rebounds and four blocks) helped Michigan State hold their own against Purdue’s big men despite losing Branden Dawson to an injury after just nine minutes. Kendall Stephens led the Boilermakers, who host Illinois over the weekend, with 16 points.

READ MORE: Wednesday’s Bubble Banter

STARRED

1. Duke’s Grayson Allen

Allen scored 27 points, shooting 9-for-11 from the field, and grabbed four rebounds in the Blue Devils’ 94-51 win over Wake Forest.

2. UNC Asheville’s Andrew Rowsey

Rowsey made seven of his ten three-point attempts, scoring 34 points in the Bulldogs’ 80-70 win over Liberty.

3. St. Francis-Brooklyn’s Brent Jones

31 points and five assists in the Terriers’ 79-70 win over LIU-Brooklyn.

STRUGGLED

1. Wake Forest’s Devin Thomas

Thomas finished a 94-51 loss at No. 3 Duke with more turnovers (four) than points scored (zero).

2. LSU’s Jalyn Patterson

Shot 0-for-5 from the field, going scoreless in 33 minutes of play in the Tigers’ 78-63 loss to Tennessee.

3. La Salle’s Cleon Roberts

Roberts shot 1-for-9 from the field, scoring four points in the Explorers’ 55-50 loss at Saint Joseph’s.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • It was senior night for starter Quinn Cook as No. 3 Duke rolled to a 94-51 win over Wake Forest. Freshman Grayson Allen scored 27 points off the bench for the Blue Devils, who will be the two-seed in the ACC tournament.
  • LaDontae Henton became the second player in program history to reach the 2,000-point/1,00-rebound plateau (Ryan Gomes is the other) to lead No. 24 Providence to a 79-61 comeback victory at Seton Hall. Ben Bentil led the Friars with 21 points.
  • D’Angelo Russell scored 28 points and Jae’Sean Tate and Shannon Scott added 13 apiece as No. 23 Ohio State won 77-67 at Penn State.

CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS

  • The America East tournament tipped off Wednesday night, with the four home teams all taking care of business. Albany and Vermont won comfortably, with Stony Brook beating Binghamton by five and New Hampshire needing overtime to beat Hartford. Sunday’s semifinal matchups: No. 3 Stony Brook at No. 2 Vermont, and No. 4 New Hampshire at No. 1 Albany.
  • Seeds six through eleven were in action at the Big South tournament, with No. 9 Longwood beating No. 8  Presbyterian 65-61 in the opener. No. 6 UNC Asheville and No. 7 Gardner-Webb were the other winners. Thursday’s quarterfinal matchups: No. 9 Longwood vs. No. 1 Charleston Southern, No. 5 Winthrop vs. No. 4 Radford, No. 7 Gardner-Webb vs. No. 2 High Point and No. 6 UNC Asheville vs. No. 3 Coastal Carolina.
  • Seeds five through eight tipped things off at the Ohio Valley tournament in Nashville, with No. 5 Morehead State beating No. 8 Southeast Missouri 79-74 in the opener and No. 6 Eastern Illinois beat No. 7 SIU-Edwardsville 78-66 in the nightcap. Thursday’s quarterfinal matchups: No. 5 Morehead State vs. No. 4 UT Martin and No. 6 Eastern Illinois vs. No. 3 Belmont.

OTHER NOTABLES

  • Tennessee shot nearly 70 percent from the field in the second half as they won 78-63 at LSU. Not only does the loss hurt the Tigers, but it also hurts the profile of a Texas A&M team that has two wins over LSU on its resume and not much else.
  • NJIT, which announced Wednesday afternoon that it will be playing in the CIT, beat Howard 71-62 for its 18th win of the season.
  • Cincinnati won 56-47 at Tulsa, dropping the Golden Hurricane into a tie for first in the American with SMU. Tulsa closes its regular season with a game at SMU, and the winner gets the conference title outright.
  • Rayvonte Rice led four players in double figures with 23 points and Illinois pulled away from Nebraska, 69-57.
  • Anthony Hickey and Le’Bryan Nash scored 20 points apiece to lead Oklahoma State to an 82-70 win over TCU. The win ends a four-game losing streak for the Cowboys.
  • Boise State moved one step closer to its first-ever Mountain West title, as they won 68-51 at San Jose State. The Broncos host Fresno State Saturday night. They remain tied with San Diego State, which won 60-58 at UNLV.
  • Oregon completed its regular season with a 65-62 win at Oregon State, moving to 13-5 in the Pac-12. Dana Altman’s team is playing well at the right time, and has likely sewn up an NCAA tournament bid as a result.

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.