Saturday’s Snacks: No. 1 Kentucky, No. 15 Oklahoma among Saturday’s winners

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 3 Duke 84, No. 19 North Carolina 77

Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook combined to score 44 points as the Blue Devils completed the season sweep of their rivals in Chapel Hill. North Carolina led by two at the half, but the combination of Duke’s ball screens on offense and pressure on defense proved to be too much for the Tar Heels to handle. Duke will be the two-seed in next week’s ACC tournament, with North Carolina getting the five-seed.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 1 Kentucky 67, Florida 50

John Calipari’s Wildcats put the finishing touches on an undefeated regular season, using a balanced effort to take care of the Gators in Lexington. Trey Lyles led the way with 14 points and Karl-Anthony Towns added 13, nine rebounds and six blocks for Kentucky. Next up for both teams is the SEC tournament, with the Wildcats beginning play Friday thanks to the double-bye they’ve earned.

2. No. 16 Louisville 59, No. 2 Virginia 57

Prior to Saturday’s game Mangok Mathiang made one field goal since January 31. His jumper with 2.5 seconds remaining gave the Cardinals a lead they would not relinquish against the Cavaliers, and they wrapped up the four-seed in the ACC tournament as a result. Playing in his final home game, Montrezl Harrell led the Cardinals with 20 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Malcolm Brogdon, whose three-pointer gave Virginia a one-point lead with 13.7 seconds remaining, scored 17 and grabbed five rebounds in the loss.

3. No. 15 Oklahoma 75, No. 9 Kansas 73

The Jayhawks played without Perry Ellis (knee), Brannen Greene (suspension) and Cliff Ellis (NCAA investigation), but thanks to three Frank Mason free throws they were one defensive stop away from forcing overtime. Buddy Hield made sure the game ended in regulation, as his follow of a Jordan Woodard miss with two-tenths of a second remaining gave the Sooners the win.

4. Michigan State 74, Indiana 72

Could this loss spell doom for the Hoosiers’ NCAA Tournament hopes? By dropping Saturday’s home game against the Branden Dawson-less Spartans, Indiana has now lost eight of its last 11 games and they’re squarely on the bubble before next week’s Big Ten Tournament. Although Hanner Mosquera-Perea threw down one of the best tip slams of the year, it wasn’t enough for the Hoosiers, who rallied late but couldn’t get over the hump. After a bizarre final minute, Yogi Ferrell had a chance to tie with two free throws, but missed the second free throw as Michigan State escaped.

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STARRED

1. Iona’s A.J. English

Iona might be the top seed in the MAAC Conference Tournament but they still needed 32 points from English to get past Siena for a three-point win. The junior also added three rebounds and three assists and was 6-for-10 from the 3-point line.

2. Northwestern State’s Jalan West

West tallied 33 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in the Demons’ 88-74 win over New Orleans.

3. Duke’s Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook

Jones and Cook combined to score 44 points, with Jones also accounting for seven assists and six rebounds, in the Blue Devils’ win at No. 19 North Carolina.

4. Washington’s Nigel Williams-Goss

Williams-Goss was outstanding in the Huskies’ 77-68 win over No. 13 Utah, scoring 28 points (11-for-18 FG) while also grabbing six rebounds and dishing out three assists.

STRUGGLED

1. Abilene Christian

The Wildcats shot 9-for-48 from the field in a 58-27 loss at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Their starting guards, Parker Wentz, LaDarrien Williams and Jalen Little, combined to score four points and shot 0-for-15 from the field.

2. DePaul’s Billy Garrett Jr.

Garrett Jr. scored just two points in a loss at Marquette, shooting 1-for-9 from the field.

3. Syracuse’s Kaleb Joseph

Joseph shot 1-for-6 from the field, scoring three points in the Orange’s loss at NC State.

4. San Francisco’s Kruize Pinkins

Pinkins scored five points on 2-for-10 shooting in the Dons’ 81-72 loss to No. 7 Gonzaga.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 21 Butler earned a nice Big East road win over No. 24 Providence as Roosevelt Jones had 16 points and Kellen Dunham added 15 points.
  • Leading by just four at the half, No. 4 Villanova went on a 43-10 run in the second half of their 105-68 demolition of St. John’s. Daniel Ochefu led five Wildcats in double figures with 21 points while also grabbing nine rebounds, taking advantage of a Red Storm team playing without the injured Chris Obekpa.
  • No. 5 Arizona defeated Stanford 91-69, with T.J. McConnell accounting for ten points, 11 assists and three steals. Brandon Ashley led five Wildcats in double figures with 15 points.
  • A Keith Hornsby three-pointer gave LSU an 81-78 win over No. 18 Arkansas, adding a quality win to its NCAA tournament resume.
  • Daishon Knight scored 25 points, 16 of which came in the second half, as Illinois State knocked off No. 8 Wichita State in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley tournament.
  • The Redbirds will take on No. 11 Northern Iowa in the title game Sunday, as UNI beat Loyola (IL) 63-49 in St. Louis.
  • Jerian Grant and Zach Auguste scored 19 points apiece as No. 12 Notre Dame beat Clemson, 81-67.
  • Nigel Williams-Goss led Washington to a 77-68 win over No. 13 Utah in Seattle. With the loss, Utah drops to the three-seed in next week’s Pac-12 tournament and Oregon will be the two.
  • Once again playing without the injured Gary Browne and Juwan Staten, No. 20 West Virginia rebounded from a tough loss at No. 9 Kansas, beating Oklahoma State 81-72. Devin Williams led the way with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
  • No. 7 Gonzaga erased a two-point halftime deficit, as they beat San Francisco 81-72 in a WCC quarterfinal. Next up for the Bulldogs is Pepperdine on Monday.
  • No. 17 Iowa State won 89-76 at TCU, and the Cyclones will be the two-seed at the Big 12 tournament thanks to this win.

CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS

  • Big South semis: The Big South title game is set, as Winthrop beat Longwood 71-58 and Coastal Carolina edged Gardner-Webb 73-70. Cliff Ellis’ Chanticleers, who won the tournament last year, are the hosts.
  • Colonial quarters: Hofstra pulled off an upset of sorts, as they beat four-seed James Madison 74-57. Next up for the Pride is top-seed William & Mary, which beat Elon in the first game of the day. UNCW and Northeastern also advanced, with the Seahawks taking care of College of Charleston and the Huskies beating Delaware by three. Sunday’s semifinals on NBCSN: William & Mary vs. Hofstra, UNCW vs. Northeastern.
  • Horizon semis: Green Bay advanced to the title game with a 70-56 win over UIC. Keifer Sykes scored 30 points to lead the way for the Phoenix. They’ll take on Valparaiso Tuesday, as the Crusaders (who will host the tile game) beat Cleveland State 60-55.
  • MAAC quarters: Top-seed Iona managed to hold off Siena thanks to 32 points from A.J. English. They’ll take on Monmouth in one semifinal on Sunday, which beat Canisius 60-54. Saint Peter’s upset two-seed Rider and Manhattan beat Marist in the evening session. Sunday’s semifinals: Iona vs. Monmouth, Saint Peter’s vs. Manhattan.
  • Missouri Valley semis: Sunday’s title game is set, with Illinois State upsetting No. 8 Wichita State and No. 11 Northern Iowa taking care of Loyola (IL).
  • Northeast semis: Both home teams won Saturday, with Robert Morris beating Bryant 66-53 and top-seed St. Francis-Brooklyn beating Saint Francis (PA) 62-48. The Colonials and Terriers meet Tuesday night in Brooklyn.
  • SoCon quarters: Furman pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament thus far, beating Chattanooga 69-67. Also advancing Saturday were top-seed Wofford, Western Carolina and Mercer. Sunday’s semifinals: Wofford vs. Western Carolina, Furman vs. Mercer.
  • Summit quarters: South Dakota State took care of business, as they whipped Western Illinois 87-50. North Dakota State also advanced, beating Denver 61-50. Sunday’s quarterfinals: Fort Wayne vs. South Dakota, Oral Roberts vs. IUPUI.
  • West Coast quarters: Six-seed Portland knocked out Saint Mary’s, winning 69-52, and Pepperdine edged out San Diego by three in the second game of the day. Also advancing was No. 7 Gonzaga, which beat San Francisco after trailing by two at the half. In the final game of the day BYU beat Santa Clara 78-76, with Tyler Haws’ jumper with 2.5 seconds remaining being the difference. Monday’s semifinals: Gonzaga vs. Pepperdine, BYU vs. Portland.
  • Bids clinched: Ohio Valley (Belmont).

NOTABLES

  • Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner each had 19 points as N.C. State ended Syracuse’s season with a loss. After the game, Orange head coach Jim Boeheim opted to skip the postgame press conference.
  • Georgetown held off Seton Hall for a home win as Jabril Trawick had 19 points. The win gave the Hoyas the No. 2 seed in the Big East Tournament and it was also a chance for Georgetown to honor Tyler Adams on Senior Day.
  • Iowa cruised past Northwestern for a Big Ten win as Aaron White had 25 points and eight rebounds.
  • The late-season slide continues for Pitt as they fell on the road at Florida State. Xavier Rathan-Mayes had 19 to pace the Seminoles.
  • Miami kept its NCAA Tournament hopes alive by winning at Virginia Tech. The win won’t help the resume very much, but it’s better than losing and bursting the bubble. Manu Lecomte led the Hurricanes with 20 points.
  • Texas A&M’s NCAA Tournament hopes took a huge hit as the Aggies blew a 14-point
  • La Salle knocked off Dayton 55-53, meaning that Davidson will be the top seed in next week’s Atlantic 10 tournament. Quite the achievement for the league newcomer, which was picked to finish 12th in the preseason media poll. Davidson is also the outright regular season champ, as they rolled to a 107-78 win at Duquesne.
  • Purdue picked up its 12th Big Ten win, as they beat Illinois 63-58 in West Lafayette. Matt Painter’s Boilermakers would be the four-seed in the Big Ten tournament if Wisconsin beats Ohio State Sunday.
  • A Kris Yanku runner with 3.6 seconds remaining gave Northern Arizona a 70-68 win over Sacramento State. The combination of this loss for Sacramento State and Montana’s win at Montana State means that the Grizzlies will host the Big Sky tournament.
  • Harvard, which beat Brown, received the help it needed as Dartmouth knocked off Yale 59-58. The Crimson and Bulldogs will meet next weekend at the Palestra to decide recipient of the Ivy League’s NCAA tournament bid.
  • Boise State will be the top seed in the Mountain West tournament, as they beat Fresno State 71-52 to move to 14-4 in conference play. The Broncos, who were last the top seed in a conference tournament in 1999 (Big West), have won 14 of their last 15 games.
  • Stephen F. Austin won its second consecutive outright Southland title Saturday night, as they beat Sam Houston State 64-55.
  • Corey Hawkins scored 30 points to UC Davis to an 80-61 win over UC Irvine. The Aggies will be the top seed in the Big West tournament but keep an eye on UCSB, which has won five straight to end the regular season.

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.

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.