Greene back to lead No. 2 Kansas to 92-59 rout of Holy Cross

Associated Press
0 Comments

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) While the rest of his teammates were enjoying a holiday trip to Hawaii, and winning a title at the Maui Invitational, Brannen Greene was shooting baskets in an empty gym in Kansas.

Talk about a punishment.

Suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, the smooth-shooting forward was reinstated by Jayhawks coach Bill Self in time for Wednesday night’s game against Holy Cross. He responded by hitting three 3-pointers and scoring 14 points in a 92-59 rout of the Crusaders.

“Definitely felt good to get back on the court,” said Greene, who has declined to discuss what led to the suspension. “Me and coach, we had a sit-down, we talked. I dealt with my punishment. Looked at it as a positive and tried to get back on the court.”

Self had told Greene the previous day that he would suit up.

“Let me make this real clear, we don’t need to get on the same page. He needs to get on our page,” Self said. “And we had several, or a few, good talks initially, really good talks. His attitude has been really good and I think he wants to be part of what we’re doing here.”

Wayne Selden Jr. had 15 points to lead all scorers. Frank Mason III added 13, Perry Ellis and Cheick Diallo scored 12 apiece, and Devonte Graham finished with 10 for the Jayhawks (7-1), who blew most of a 20-point lead before building an even bigger margin in the second half.

“I told them, `Don’t go near an offensive rebound. A shot goes up, just get back,”‘ Crusaders coach Bill Carmody said, “and they still beat us back in transition.”

Karl Charles led Holy Cross (3-6) with 12 points. Malachi Alexander had 11.

Kansas played without forwards Landen Lucas, out with a toe injury, and Jamari Traylor, who has been dealing with a sore ankle. Both suited up and participated in warmups, but Self decided to start Hunter Mickelson and give his two big men the night off.

“They got the shaft tonight in some respects because they could have played, but I didn’t see any reason to do it,” Self said. “It wasn’t anything negative that they’ve done.”

Besides, it wasn’t like the Jayhawks needed either of them.

The reigning Big 12 champs resembled the high school team from “Pleasantville” in the first half, making nearly every shot that went up. They were 8 of 10 from beyond the arc, connected on 70 percent of their field goals and even managed to make all four of their foul shots.

The lead reached 20 at one point late in the half, and Mason converted a 3-point play on a drive to the basket to give Kansas a 50-33 advantage at the break.

The Crusaders stubbornly stuck with their 2-3 zone in the second half, though, and for a while it allowed them to climb back into the game. Kansas missed four of its first five shots, and Holy Cross ripped off a 13-2 run to get within 52-46 with less than 16 minutes left in the game.

But like they have in 97 of their previous 101 non-conference home games under Self, the Jayhawks proved to be too much. Ellis answered the run with a bucket in the paint, Graham took his own steal in for a dunk, and Mason’s 3-pointer from the corner restored order.

Kansas pushed the lead back to 20 on Selden’s two free throws, and right past the mark when Diallo followed up Selden’s miss with a dunk to help put the game away.

“The pressure got to us, forced some turnovers and we sort of lost control of things,” Carmody said. “It’s a very good team, and it’s a good passing team – there didn’t seem to be any greedy guys out there.”

HOT SHOOTING

The Jayhawks weren’t the only ones who couldn’t miss. Holy Cross shot 55 percent from the field in the second half, and they were 19 of 23 from the foul line for the game.

TIP-INS

Holy Cross: Anthony Thompson had four points on 1-for-9 shooting. He had 23 points against Albany in his last game. … The Crusaders beat Kansas in December 1949 with Bob Cousy on the roster.

Kansas: Graham also had five assists before leaving with what appeared to be a minor injury in the second half. … Kansas wound up 12 of 20 from 3-point range and shot 63 percent from the field.

UP NEXT

Holy Cross travels to Hartford on Saturday night.

Kansas plays Oregon State on Saturday night in Kansas City, Mo.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK
0 Comments

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
0 Comments

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
2 Comments

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

uconn
Michael Hickey/Getty Images
0 Comments

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

Getty Images
0 Comments

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.