SUNDAY’S SNACKS: St. John’s upsets Syracuse, No. 9 Villanova rolls

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GAME OF THE DAY Houston 105, LSU 98 (OT)

Rob Gray Jr. scored a career-high 31 and Chicken Knowles added 20 and nine rebounds as the Cougars beat the Tigers at home. This was the second test of the season for Kelvin Sampson’s team, which lost at Rhode Island earlier in the week.

LSU welcomed back guard Keith Hornsby and he scored 32 points, with three coming on the shot that forced overtime, and Tim Quarterman added 27, ten and six assists, but defending and rebounding were major issues for Johnny Jones’ team. Ben Simmons finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds and five assists before fouling out late in regulation.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

St. John’s 84, Syracuse 72: Chris Mullin picked up the biggest win of his tenure as head coach at his alma mater, with the Red Storm beating the Orange by 12 at the Garden. Federico Mussini scored 17 points to lead five Red Storm in double figures, with Amar Alibegovic (15 points, nine rebounds) and Durand Johnson (15, seven and four assists) among the other standouts for the home team. Syracuse struggled from deep, shooting 5-for-26 from three.

Rob Dauster has more about this game here.

Nebraska 70, Rhode Island 67: Shavon Shields scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds and freshman guard Glynn Watson scored 13 of his 17 in the second half at the Huskers came back to be the Rams in Lincoln. Jarvis Garrett and Kuran Iverson scored 15 apiece for URI, with Jared Terrell’s three-pointer that would have tied the game missing the mark in the final seconds. Three of the Rams’ four losses this season have been by three points or less.

STARRED

Mandell Thomas, Fordham: Thomas accounted for 27 points, seven rebounds and two assists in the Rams’ 92-55 win over Coppin State. Fordham’s now 9-1 on the season.

Obi Enechionyia, Temple: The Owls fell short against Saint Joseph’s but the sophomore forward played very well, scoring 25 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

STRUGGLED

Malachi Richardson, Syracuse: Richardson missed all eleven of his three-point attempts in a loss at St. John’s, scoring 15 points on 4-for-20 shooting.

Kevin Puryear, Missouri: Puryear, who to this point in the season has been the Tigers’ best front court player, scored four points on 2-for-10 shooting in a blowout loss at No. 13 Arizona.

Chicago State’s three-point shooting: The Cougars were fighting an uphill battle against Northwestern, which comes as no surprise. But they shot 1-for-19 from three in the 77-35 defeat.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 4 Iowa State got off to a sluggish start but that didn’t keep them from taking care of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 78-64. Jameel McKay scored 18 points and Matt Thomas added 17 for the Cyclones, with the latter seeing more playing time with senior Naz Mitrou-Long still working his way back to full strength after undergoing hip surgery in the summer.
  • No. 9 Villanova rebounded from its first loss of the season in solid fashion, beating Big 5 rival La Salle 76-47. The Wildcats shot nearly 55 percent from the field, and Josh Hart led five players in double figures with 18 points.
  • No. 13 Arizona rolled to an 88-52 win over Missouri Sunday night, with Mark Tollefsen leading six in double figures with 17 points. The Tigers shot just 30.4 percent from the field and didn’t have a single player score in double figures.
  • Jevon Thomas, whose wayward behind the back pass led to his getting yanked from a loss to Virginia on Tuesday, rebounded with a 21-point effort as No. 14 West Virginia steamrolled ULM 100-58. Bob Huggins’ team scored 59 points in the first half and racked up 14 steals on the day.

OTHER NOTABLE OUTCOMES

  • Marc-Eddy Norelia scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds in FGCU’s 77-76 win over UMass. Rayjon Tucker’s three-point play with 10.6 seconds remaining proved to be the difference.
  • Bonzie Colson scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in Notre Dame’s 81-61 win over Loyola-Chicago. In total the Fighting Irish had five players in double figures, with forward Matt Ryan scoring 14 off the bench.
  • Benji Bell scored 18 points off the bench to lead Florida State to a comfortable 75-58 win over Southeastern Louisiana. Freshman guard Malik Beasley added 16 for the Seminoles.
  • James Woodard scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds as Tulsa won 70-61 at Missouri State.
  • South Dakota State moved to 9-1 on the season with an 86-68 win over UCSB. Deondre Parks led the way for the Jackrabbits with 23 points and five rebounds, and SDSU has now won 26 straight home games.
  • Saint Joseph’s had some issues with its defending of ball screens, but they managed to win at Temple 66-65 in overtime. DeAndre Bembry finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds and freshman Lamarr Kimble made some key plays down the stretch for the Hawks.
  • Bennie Boatwright scored 17 points and Jordan McLaughlin added 14, seven and four assists as USC beat Yale 68-56. Julian Jacobs sat out the game with tendonitis in his Achilles tendon.
  • BeeJay Anya scored a career-high 17 points as NC State took care of USF, 65-46. Cat Barber led the way offensively for the Wolfpack with 19 points.
  • Monmouth won its home opener, beating Wagner 73-54 with Micah Seaborn posting a line of 19 points, three rebounds and four assists to lead the way.
  • Josh Hawkinson scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as Washington State beat UTEP, 84-68, to move to 6-2 on the season.
  • Shannon Hale’s steal and breakaway dunk with 25.6 seconds remaining was the play Alabama needed to beat Clemson 51-50 on the road. Retin Obasohan scored 23 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead the way for Avery Johnson’s team.
  • Tre Demps went for 23 points, nine rebounds and four assists as Northwestern blew out Chicago State 77-35.
  • Jordan Wilson scored 20 points and Southern Miss transfer Dallas Anglin, seeing his first action of the season, added 19 off the bench as Northern Colorado beat Colorado State 73-64 for their first win over a Division I opponent this season.
  • Josh Adams scored 22 points and Jason McManamen added 15 as Wyoming rebounded from a loss to Southern earlier in the week with a 62-59 win at New Mexico State. The Cowboys limited the Aggies to 35 percent shooting.

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.