Sunday’s Snacks: Coastal Carolina, Northern Iowa and North Florida headed to NCAA tournament

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GAME OF THE DAY: William & Mary 92, Hofstra 91 (2OT)

Marcus Thornton, who scored 37 points, forced overtime by making two free throws with 23 seconds remaining in regulation, and his pass to Daniel Dixon led to the game-winning three with eight tenths of a second remaining in double overtime. Thornton’s point total is a CAA tournament single-game record, and Omar Prewitt added 33 points as the Tribe moved to within one win of its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. Juan’ya Green led the Pride with 26 points and seven assists, and Dion Nesmith added 21 points and five assists before fouling out. Not only was this the game of the day, but it was also one of the best games of the season to date.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 11 Northern Iowa 69, Illinois State 60

Bubble teams across the country can breathe a sigh of relief (for the time being), as the Panthers erased a 14-points halftime deficit to win the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. Seth Tuttle, who was held in check in the first half, got going in the second and finished with 15 points and nine rebounds and Nate Buss added 15 points off the bench. And Jeremy Morgan’s contributions can’t be overlooked either, as he hit two key three-pointers during UNI’s early second half surge. Daishon Knight scored 16 points and Deontae Hawkins added 14 for the Redbirds, who may have played their way into an NIT berth with their showing this weekend.

2. No. 6 Wisconsin 72, No. 23 Ohio State 48

The Badgers capped their regular season with a dominant win in Columbus, and outside of the Buckeyes closing to within ten early in the second half this one wasn’t all that close. Frank Kaminsky scored 20 points and Bronson Koenig added 15 for Wisconsin, which will be the top seed in the Big Ten tournament. Ohio State’s loss means that Purdue will be the four-seed, and they get the final double-bye in Chicago as a result.

3. No. 10 Maryland 64, Nebraska 61

The Terrapins capped their inaugural season in the Big Ten with a 14th victory, as they beat the Huskers in Lincoln. Melo Trimble accounted for 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and Dez Wells posted a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the way. Maryland, which has won seven straight games, will go into the Big Ten tournament as the two-seed. As for Nebraska, they’ll be the 12-seed and their loss makes Minnesota the 11-seed.

STARRED

1. William & Mary’s Marcus Thornton

Thornton scored 37 points and grabbed six rebounds in the Tribe’s 92-91 double overtime win over Hofstra.

2. Iona’s A.J. English and Isaiah Williams

Enghlish scored 29 points and Williams 27 in the Gaels’ 95-77 win over Monmouth. The two combined to shoot 16-for-25 from beyond the arc.

3. Stony Brook’s Jameel Warney

Warney tallied 24 points, 14 rebounds and three assists in the Seawolves’ 79-77 win at Vermont to advance to the America East title game.

4. South Dakota’s Brandon Bos

Bos shot 7-for-12 from the field and 10-for-11 from three, scoring a career-high 29 points in the Coyotes’ 82-73 win over Fort Wayne. Bos also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists.

STRUGGLED

1. Ohio State’s Sam Thompson

While Thompson did grab six rebounds, he scored just two points and shot 0-for-7 from the field.

2. Mercer’s Jibri Bryan and Phillip Leonard

The guards struggled in the Bears’ 52-49 loss to Furman, combining to score six points (all by Leonard) on 1-for-16 shooting from the field.

3. Western Carolina’s James Sinclair Jr. 

Sinclair Jr. scored 16 points in the Catamounts’ loss to Wofford, but he did so on 5-for-19 shooting from the field.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 22 SMU won its first regular season conference title since 1993, as they beat Tulsa 67-62 in Dallas. The Mustangs won despite Tulsa’s James Woodard going off from three, as he shot 10-for-16 from beyond the arc and scoring 30 points.

CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS

  • America East semis: Stony Brook will get another shot at earning that elusive NCAA tournament berth, as they won 79-77 at Vermont with Jameel Warney scoring 24 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. They’ll visit regular season champion Albany next Saturday, as the Great Danes held off New Hampshire 60-58. Will Brown’s team is looking to make its second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.
  • Atlantic Sun final: North Florida will make its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, as they beat USC Upstate 63-57 in Jacksonville. Matthew Driscoll’s team went on a 12-0 second half run after the Spartans took a 48-44 lead with 9:13 remaining.
  • Big South final: Cliff Ellis’ Coastal Carolina Chanticleers will make their second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, as they beat Winthrop 81-70. Warren Gillis tallied 22 points and six assists, and Elijah Wilson added 19 off the bench to lead the way for the Chanticleers.
  • MAAC semis: Top-seed Iona made a MAAC tournament single-game record 19 three-pointers in their 95-77 win over Monmouth. Isaiah Williams was responsible for nine of those makes, scoring 27 points on 9-for-15 shooting from deep. And for the third consecutive year Iona will take on rival Manhattan in the title game, as the Jaspers eliminated Saint Peter’s. Iona won in 2013, with Manhattan returning the favor last season.
  • Patriot semis: Both road teams won Sunday, with Lafayette beating regular season champ Bucknell 80-74 and American winning 73-62 at Colgate. Lafayette will host the title game Wednesday night. Bucknell’s loss means that this is the first time in the history of the Patriot League tournament that the top seed has not at least reached the final.
  • SoCon semis: Top-seed Wofford is now one win away from its second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, as they beat Western Carolina 73-61. Spencer Collins led the way for the Terriers with 17 points, shooting 10-for-13 from the foul line. They’ll take on 10-seed Furman on Monday, as the Paladins (the lowest seed in the tournament) continued their improbable run through the tournament with a 52-49 win over Mercer.
  • Summit quarters: Brandon Bos scored 29 points as South Dakota beat Fort Wayne 82-73. The Coyotes led by 19 at the half, but the Mastodons scored 50 second-half points to close the gap. Also advancing was Oral Roberts, which made eight of ten free throws over the final 38 seconds to hang on for a 58-56 win over IUPUI. Monday’s semifinals: No. 1 South Dakota State vs. No. 5 South Dakota, No. 2 North Dakota State vs. No. 3 Oral Roberts.

NOTABLES

  • D.J. Newbill’s three-pointer as time expired gave Penn State a 79-76 win over Minnesota, which has now lost eight conference games by six points or less. On Wednesday the Nittany Lions (13-seed) will take on Nebraska in the first round of the Big Ten tournament, and Minnesota (11-seed) will play Rutgers the same day.

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.