Associated Press

SUNDAY’S SNACKS: No. 5 Michigan State rolls, No. 16 Louisville falls

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 11 Villanova 60, No. 18 Butler 55

Villanova moved to 4-0 in the Big East with a hard-fought win at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Josh Hart was the best player on the floor, shooting 10-for-15 from the field and finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds on the night. Roosevelt Jones scored 20 points to lead the way for Butler, but the versatile senior didn’t have a single assist. Defense and the continued growth of Hart are two reasons why Villanova remains the class of the Big East.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

Clemson 66, No. 16 Louisville 62: Clemson moved to 3-1 in the ACC with a four-point win over the Cardinals in Greenville (Littlejohn Coliseum’s undergoing major renovations this season). Jaron Blossomgame led the Tigers with 17 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. Besides Clemson’s efforts why did Louisville, which escaped close calls against Wake Forest and NC State, suffer their first conference loss? Our Rob Dauster has more on that here.

No. 5 Michigan State 92, Penn State 65: Whipping Penn State isn’t a huge deal for Michigan State. But the return of Denzel Valentine is. The senior guard played 23 minutes, scoring ten points while also grabbing four rebounds and dishing out four assists. The star for the Spartans was Bryn Forbes, who scored at least 20 points in a game for the fourth straight game.

Illinois 84, No. 20 Purdue 70: Malcolm Hill scored 30 points and Kendrick Nunn 22 as the Fighting Illini knocked off the Boilermakers in Champaign. Illinois shot 54 percent from the field, so defense was Purdue’s biggest issue right? Not exactly.

STARRED

Valparaiso’s Alec Peters: Peters was nearly unstoppable in the Crusaders’ win at Detroit, as he scored 39 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.

Richmond’s ShawnDre’ Jones: Jones shot 9-for-12 from the field and 12-for-13 from the foul line, scoring 35 points in a win at Fordham.

Saint Joseph’s DeAndre Bembry: 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a 72-67 win over Rhode Island.

Illinois’ Malcolm Hill and Kendrick Nunn: They combined to score 52 points on 17-for-27 shooting in their win over No. 20 Purdue.

STRUGGLED

Ohio State’s Jae’Sean Tate and Trevor Thompson: Tate and Thompson combined to score three points on 1-for-10 shooting from the field in the Buckeyes’ blowout loss at Indiana.

Saint Louis’ ball control: The Billikens made 14 field goals and committed 21 turnovers in their 72-56 loss to VCU.

Purdue’s Rapheal Davis: Davis played 21 minutes in a loss at Illinois, fouling out and failing to score.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 15 SMU moved to 15-0 on the season with an 88-73 win over UCF in Dallas. Ben Moore scored 23 points on 11-for-17 shooting while also grabbing six rebounds and dishing out three assists for the Mustangs, who played the second half without head coach Larry Brown.

OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS

  • Troy Caupain scored 14 points as Cincinnati held off USF 54-51 in Tampa. Cincinnati shot just 30.9 percent on the day, but 18 USF turnovers helped the visitors make up for that.
  • Indiana blew open its game with Ohio State during the latter stages of the first half, winning 85-60. Troy Williams led four Hoosiers in double figures with 23 points, and Thomas Bryant added 18 and 13 for Indiana (4-0 in the Big Ten).
  • In a matchup of teams undefeated in Horizon League play, Valparaiso took care of Detroit 92-74. Bryce Drew’s team scored 50 first half points, and Alec Peters racked up 39 points and 14 boards.
  • DeAndre Bembry and Aaron Brown combined to score 41 points to lead Saint Joseph’s to a 72-67 win over Rhode Island.
  • Marshall Wood sparked Richmond’s first half rally by scoring 17 straight points, finishing with 29, and ShawnDre’ Jones scored a career-high 35 to lead the Spiders to a 93-82 win at Fordham. Trey Davis finished with 11 assists and no turnovers for the Spiders.
  • Oakland rebounded from its loss to Valparaiso with an 86-61 win over UIC. Kay Felder tallied 26 points, four assists, three steals and two blocks for the Golden Grizzlies.
  • Pat Birt (27 points) and James Woodard (21) combined to shoot 12-for-16 from three as Tulsa won 81-67 at Tulane. As a team the Golden Hurricane shot 58.5 percent from the field and 13-for-20 from three.
  • Mo-Alie Cox scored 16 points and Melvin Johnson 15 as VCU won at Saint Louis. The Rams committed 17 turnovers but shot 47.8 percent from the field and 10-for-24 from three.
  • Wake Forest moved to 8-0 this season in games decided by six points or less with a 77-74 win over NC State in Winston-Salem. Devin Thomas scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Bryant Crawford added 17 and six assists for the winners.
  • Oregon completed their first home sweep of the Bay Area schools since the 2007-08 season with a 71-58 win over Stanford. Dillon Brooks led the way with 15 points, ten rebounds and seven assists, and Dwayne Benjamin and Tyler Dorsey added 12 apiece.

Christian Vital going back to UConn for junior season

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Dan Hurley is keeping his roster intact at the top.

Christian Vital, UConn’s second-leading scorer a season ago, is returning to school after declaring for the NBA draft without hiring an agent, he announced Monday via social media.

“Great Talk Today Coach! Appreciate The Wisdom You Have Let Me In On!” Vital wrote “I Think It’s Time To Get Back To Winning Ways In Storrs! I’m Going To Need That #1 Back ASAP! WE GOT (UNFINISHED) BUSINESS!”

The 6-foot-2 junior-to-be Vital joins Jalen Adams, who was the Huskies’ top-returning scorer, back in Storrs in Hurley’s first year. Vital averaged 14.9 points on 38.3 percent shooting. Adams previously announced he would return to school without declaring for the draft.

The return of UConn’s top two scorers underscores an even bigger trend under Hurley as the Huskies appear to have avoided any major defections from last year’s roster despite the coaching change.

UConn is coming off a 14-18 season that proved to be the last of coach Kevin Ollie’s six years with the Huskies that included a national championship but also back-to-back losing seasons.

Chris Silva returning to South Carolina for senior season

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South Carolina is getting an first-team all-SEC performer back.

Chris Silva, who led the Gamecocks in scoring and rebounding last season, is returning to school after declaring for the NBA draft without hiring an agent, the school announced Monday.

“I’m thankful for the experience of going through the draft process,” Silva said in a statement. “I want to thank all of the teams that gave me the opportunity to workout for their organization. I’m excited to announce that I’m returning to South Carolina for my senior season. I can’t wait to get back on the court with my brothers and continue to work on my game.”

The 6-foot-9 Silva, who did not get an NBA draft combine invite, averaged 14.3 points and 8 rebounds per game as a junior.  He shot 46.7 percent from the floor.

“Going through the evaluation process was an unbelievable experience for Chris and us,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said in a statement. “He comes back to a place he loves with some knowledge on some of the things that we have to help him improve on in his efforts to one day fulfill his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA.”

In addition to being South Carolina’s leading scorer, he was the SEC co-defensive player of the year last season after averaging 1.4 blocks per game. His return to Columbia gives the Gamecocks a potential contender for SEC player of the year in 2018-19.

Kansas fires athletic director Sheahon Zenger

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Kansas has fired athletic director Sheahon Zenger, effective immediately, citing a lack of progress in key areas within the athletic department.

“Sheahon has been a loyal Jayhawk, and our athletics department has improved in many areas under his leadership,” Kansas Chancellor Doug Girod wrote in an email to KU faculty and staff. “But athletics continues to face a number of challenges, and progress in key areas has been elusive. To achieve the level of success we need and expect, I have determined a change in leadership is necessary.”

Zenger had been in the role of AD since 2011.

The issue, of course, is not the play of the Kansas basketball program. The Jayhawks have won every Big 12 regular season title since 2004, and head coach Bill Self has taken the program to two Final Fours since Zenger was hired.

The football team is still a disaster, but one can’t help but wonder whether or not the real issue at hand here is Kansas’ getting tied into the FBI’s investigation into college basketball.

The Jayhawks were not mentioned in the initial indictments that were handed down, but Kansas was a central figure in the superseding indictments that were dropped after the national title game. The mother of Billy Preston, who did not play for the Jayhawks this season, was alleged to have been funneled $90,000 by Adidas, while Silvio De Sousa’s status is currently in question after the FBI alleged his guardian was paid at least $20,000 to help offset money that the family had already accepted from a rival shoe company.

All of that came in the aftermath of dealing with Cheick Diallo and Cliff Alexander, both of whom had their one season in Lawrence reduced due to off the court issues.

“Since becoming chancellor, I have spent countless hours with higher education peers and Jayhawks to hear their perspective on KU,” Girod wrote. “A common thread in these conversations is that, as a major public university with national aspirations, we must continue to strive for excellence in all areas — including athletics. As I have said many times, a successful athletics department is inextricably linked to our broader mission as a flagship research university.”

Louisville, ex-AD Tom Jurich reach $4.5M settlement

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville has reached a $4.5 million settlement with former athletic director Tom Jurich, who was fired in the wake of a national federal corruption investigation of college basketball.

Jurich disputed his Oct. 18 firing for cause after nearly 20 years as AD and had considered suing the school. The University of Louisville Athletic Association and Board of Trustees on Friday approved the settlement. Jurich’s employment ended “without cause” as a result of his resignation, also described in the settlement as “retirement.”

He’ll also receive another $2.6 million in accrued employment benefits, along with home game tickets and parking for Louisville football and basketball for 20 years.

An audit of the University of Louisville Foundation released last June showed that Jurich averaged annual compensation of more than $2.76 million from 2010-16, including more than $5.35 million in 2016.

Then-interim president Greg Postel had placed Jurich on paid administrative leave in September after the school’s acknowledgement of its involvement in the investigation. Trustees voted 10-3 to fire Jurich, two days after the ULAA unanimously fired Hall of Fame men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino.

The former AD said in a joint statement that he “spent the better part of my career” working with dedicated athletes, coaches and staff to elevate Louisville. He added, “I am proud of what we accomplished, which is well documented.”

Jurich’s legal team had stressed that the ex-AD did nothing illegal and hadn’t violated NCAA rules.

Trustee chairman J. David Grissom said in the statement that “Everyone is pleased that this matter has been successfully resolved. All parties can move forward to begin the next chapter.”

Jurich played a major role in Louisville’s success on the field and how the school handled issues off it. He led the school’s 2014 entry into the Atlantic Coast Conference and oversaw numerous program and facility upgrades, including a $63 million expansion of the football stadium due for completion by fall.

He also hired several successful coaches including Pitino, who guided the Cardinals to the 2013 NCAA men’s basketball championship. Louisville ultimately vacated that title in February as part of NCAA penalties for a sex scandal after an escort’s book allegations that former basketball staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with players and recruits.

Pitino has filed a $38.7 million federal lawsuit against Louisville, alleging breach of contract.

Georgia Tech’s Okogie to sign with agent

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Georgia Tech guard Josh Okogie, one of the big winners from this past weekend’s NBA combine, announced on Monday that he will be signing with an agent and remaining in the NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-4 Okogie finished his sophomore season averaged 18.5 points and shooting 38.4 percent from three. The numbers he posted during the athletic testing at the combine, as well as his 7-foot wingspan, makes Okogie an ideal 3-and-D wing at the NBA level.

“Josh is a tremendous young man and an excellent student-athlete,” said head coach Josh Pastner. “He has set a tremendous example, making the Dean’s List this past semester, and deserves a lot of credit for making himself a much better player over the course of his two years here. We will miss him in our program in many respects, from his performance on the court to the energy he plays with and brought to our team. We fully support his decision to take this next step, and wish him all the best.”