Seton Hall beats No. 12 Providence 81-72

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said the week away from the Big East grind allowed his team to get back to basics.

“We had three days of practice like it was the preseason,” he said. “We watched a little film and I could tell we were ready.”

The Pirates put on an impressive performance Saturday, beating No. 12 Providence 81-72.

Khadeen Carrington went 12 for 12 at the free throw line and scored 22 points. The sophomore did all that in a reserve role for the Pirates, who shot 48 percent from the floor and held the Friars to 30 percent.

Isaiah Whitehead and former UMass contributor Derrick Gordon both had 15 points while Desi Rodriguez added 10 for the Pirates (13-4, 3-2).

Seton Hall dominated the action down low. The Pirates outscored the Friars in the paint 38-26 and won the rebounding battle by a healthy amount (50-36). Willard noted that by controlling the glass, the Pirates were able to get out on the break and create easier scoring chances for guards Carrington, Whitehead and Gordon.

“(PC head coach Ed Cooley) usually has one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country, so I was worried,” Willard said. “But I thought if we could rebound, we could run. At times I thought we got a lot of easy buckets and that took some pressure off of us in the half-court.”

Ben Bentil paced the Friars (15-3, 3-2) with 21 points. The sophomore got the bulk of his points at the free throw line as he went 4 of 15 from the field. Kris Dunn had 16 points but fouled out with 3:02 left.

“When Kris is in foul trouble, our identity changes as a program. He needs to be on the foul and we need to be more disciplined,” Cooley said. “At the same time, he was on the floor during the early part of the game when we struggled.”

Rodney Bullock scored 11 points for Providence while Kyron Cartwright added 10.

Providence opened a 13-8 lead as Bullock scored consecutive baskets with Cartwright assisting on both. It was all Seton Hall the rest of the half as the Pirates enjoyed a 38-28 halftime lead.

PC missed five straight shots and 10 of 12 to close the opening half.

“We’ve been down double digits in each of our last three games,” noted Cooley. “To try and fight back, it hasn’t been a very good thing to watch.”

Seton Hall’s largest lead was 13 points with 17:47 left. The Pirates survived a couple of pushes from the Friars, who got within 72-66 after Bentil hit a 3-pointer with 2:56 left. The Pirates, who struggled when the Friars switched to a zone defense, regrouped as Gordon hit two free throws to bump the lead up to 11 points with 46 seconds left.

“We were looking to still attack,” Willard said.

SHOW OF SUPPORT

The attendance was 11,148. The game tipped off at the same exact time as the Patriots’ playoff game nearby.

“I appreciate our fans for coming out and supporting us,” Cooley said. “It’s just disappointing when you lose at home.”

HEALTH UPDATE

Cooley reportedly suffered from a bout of vertigo earlier in the week. He nearly didn’t coach the Friars against Creighton on Tuesday night.

“Physically I’m doing better,” he said. “It’s really hard because the building is still spinning. But after a loss like that, my whole world is spinning.”

TIP-INS

Seton Hall: The Pirates came in having dropped six of their previous seven games to the Friars. … Seton Hall hit 83 percent of its free throws (20 of 24). The Pirates came into the game shooting 64 percent from the line this season.

Providence: PC has trailed at halftime in four of its five Big East games. … Two of the Friars’ three losses have come at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. . Freshman reserve Quadree Smith sat out his fifth straight game (broken hand).

UP NEXT

Seton Hall hosts No. 6 Villanova on Wednesday.

Providence hosts No. 23 Butler on Tuesday.

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.