LATE NIGHT SNACKS: No. 6 Xavier hangs on, No. 17 Miami rebounds

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Illinois 110, Rutgers 101 (3OT)

Somehow a game matching two of the Big Ten’s worst teams produced 211 points and three overtime periods. The Fighting Illini picked up a much-needed win as Malcolm Hill tallied 34 points (7-for-19 FG), 14 rebounds and six assists with Jalen Coleman-Lands adding 26 points and Maverick Morgan 20. Corey Sanders, whose off-balance three forced a second overtime, finished with 39 points (14-for-33 FG), 12 rebounds and eight assists in a losing effort.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 17 Miami 79, Notre Dame 70: Jim Larrañaga’s Hurricanes rebounded from a disappointing effort at NC State Saturday with a win over the Fighting Irish in Coral Gables. Five players scored in double figures for Miami, with Anthony Lawrence (18 points) and Ja’Quan Newton (12) combining to score 30 points off the bench. As a team Miami shot 56.4 percent from the field, which helped make up for the fact that Notre Dame scored 46 points in the paint and rebounded 43.6 percent of its missed shots. Bonzie Colson scored 17 points off the bench to lead Notre Dame offensively.

No. 4 Maryland 70, Nebraska 65: It wasn’t pretty, but Maryland made the plays it needed to make late as they won in Lincoln. Maryland’s size advantage was key, as the Terrapins blocked 13 shots with freshman Diamond Stone responsible for eight of them. Stone, who also had 16 points and ten rebounds, fell two blocks short of his first triple-double, and Melo Trimble scored a team-high 20 points. Just as key for Maryland: Jared Nickens, who has struggled mightily in Big Ten play, scored 11 points and shot 4-for-7 from the field (3-for-6 3PT). He may be a role player, but Nickens’ ability to hit perimeter shots will be important for Maryland given their ability to get points in the paint.

BUBBLE BANTER: What should we make of the Atlantic 10?

STARRED

Malcolm Brodgon, Virginia: In a game in which many of the players struggled offensively, Brogdon scored 27 points (shooting 7-for-10 from the field) in the Cavaliers’ win over Boston College.

Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure: Adams got off to a slow start, but once he got rolling Saint Joseph’s had no answer for the sophomore guard. Adams scored 31 points and dished out seven assists in the Bonnies’ 83-73 win in Philadelphia.

Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall: 21 points, six rebounds, eight assists, three blocks and two steals in the Pirates’ 79-62 win over Marquette.

STRUGGLED

Eli Carter, Boston College: Virginia devoted much of its attention to the senior guard, resulting in Carter scoring seven points on 2-for-10 shooting.

Justin Edwards, Kansas State: Edwards scored two points in a loss at No. 7 Kansas, shooting 1-for-9 from the field.

Charles Callison and Que Johnson, Washington State: Callison and Johnson combined to shoot 5-for-25 from the field in Washington State’s loss to Arizona.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 3 Villanova retained possession of first place in the Big East, as they beat Creighton 83-58 at The Pavilion. Kris Jenkins scored 22 points and Jalen Brunson 16, as the Wildcats once again played without starting center Daniel Ochefu (concussion).
  • Jarrod Uthoff scored 14 points and Peter Jok and Anthony Clemmons added 12 apiece as No. 5 Iowa took care of Penn State, 73-49. The Hawkeyes are now 9-1 in Big Ten play, tied for first with No. 22 Indiana.
  • No. 6 Xavier had a tougher battle on its hands than many expected, but the Musketeers managed to beat St. John’s 90-83 in Cincinnati. Myles Davis led five Xavier players in double figures with 16 points, and Trevon Bluiett added 15 points along with 13 boards.
  • No. 7 Kansas took care of in-state rival Kansas State, beating the Wildcats 77-59 in Lawrence. Perry Ellis scored 19 points and Devonte’ Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk added ten apiece for the Jayhawks.
  • No. 9 Virginia picked up its fifth straight win, as they beat Boston College 61-47 in Charlottesville. Malcolm Brogdon scored 27 points and grabbed six boards, with 17 of those points coming in the first half.
  • No. 21 Wichita State won its 12th straight game, beating Southern Illinois 76-55. Shaquille Morris scored 13 points and Fred VanVleet finished with 12 points, 11 assists and five steals. Now 11-0 in conference play, the Shockers have a four-game lead with seven games remaining.
  • Ryan Anderson scored a career-high 31 points and grabbed 12 boards to lead No. 23 Arizona to a 79-64 win at Washington State. The Wildcats limited the Cougars to 34.9 percent shooting and scored 17 points off of 17 Washington State turnovers.

OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS

  • As mentioned above, Jaylen Adams produced 31 points and seven assists in St. Bonaventure’s win at Saint Joseph’s. Mark Schmidt’s Bonnies are now 6-3 in Atlantic 10 play, tied with George Washington for fourth place.
  • Florida avoided a major letdown after their win over West Virginia, beating Arkansas 87-83 in Gainesville. Dorian Finney-Smith led five Gators in double figures with 22 points while also grabbing nine rebounds.
  • VCU moved to 9-0 in A-10 play with an 88-70 win over La Salle in Philadelphia. Melvin Johnson, who’s closing in on the school’s career three-pointers mark, put up 30 points in the win.
  • Stony Brook moved to 9-0 in America East play with a 76-51 home win over Binghamton. Lucas Woodhouse scored 14 points and Jameel Warney 13 to go along with a team-high ten rebounds.
  • UNC Asheville remained in sole possession of first in the Big South, as they took care of Charleston Southern 63-55. The Bulldogs are now a game up in the loss column on High Point, Winthrop and Coastal Carolina, with High Point losing at home to Gardner-Webb 79-74.
  • American handed Bucknell its second loss in Patriot League play, beating the Bison 69-55 in the nation’s capital. Bucknell still holds a two-game lead atop the Patriot League at 9-2, with Navy in second at 7-4.
  • Seton Hall took care of business in a game they couldn’t afford to drop, beating Marquette 79-62 in Newark. Kevin Willard’s Pirates shot 50 percent from the field and 20 of their 29 made field goals were assisted.
  • UC Irvine picked up a 78-72 overtime win at Cal Poly to remain atop the Big West standings. Mamadou Ndiaye and Luke Nelson scored 21 points apiece for the Anteaters, who put together an impressive play to force overtime.
  • Dejoute Murray racked up 34 points, 11 rebounds and six assists before fouling out in overtime as Washington beat Arizona State 95-83 in Seattle. Due to foul trouble the Sun Devils finished the game with five available scholarship players.

NCAA steering farther and farther away from harsh penalties

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The days of postseason bans and crippling scholarship reductions to punish schools for breaking NCAA rules appear to be winding down.

Memphis was placed on three years of probation earlier this week with a public reprimand and fined for NCAA violations related to the recruitment and short college career of James Wiseman, who is about to start his third season with the Golden State Warriors. The NCAA also wrapped up an investigation of Air Force football for breaking the COVID-19 recruiting quiet period.

No postseason bans or scholarship reductions in either case. The Independent Accountability Review Panel, the NCAA’s outside arm of enforcement, said in its decision in the Memphis case that it did not want to punish current athletes.

That sentiment is widespread in college athletics these days, even with millions of dollars suddenly flowing to athletes from various sources for their celebrity endorsements amid concerns over improper inducements. In fact, it is on the way to being codified: Last month, the Division I Board of Directors adopted three proposals to change the infractions process.

The board also committed to “identifying appropriate types of penalties and modifying current penalty ranges, including identifying potential alternative penalties to postseason bans.”

Trying to predict what those alternatives will be is difficult, but if the goal is to avoid harming athletes and others who were not involved in the violations the options are limited.

“I emphatically believe it’s the wrong direction to go,” said Nebraska law professor Jo Potuto, who spent nine years on the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“If you’re going to deter, the punishment has to fit the offense, right?” Potuto added. “You’re not going to deter serious violations with penalties that are not perceived to be really serious.”

Since January 2020, there have been at least 45 major infractions cases decided by the NCAA. Of those, at least 15 involved Level I allegations, the most serious and those carrying the most severe penalties; six cases resulted in some kind of postseason ban, with four of them self-imposed.

The Memphis case went through the IARP, which was created in response to the FBI’s investigation of college basketball corruption but is now being discontinued. Sunsetting the IARP was among several recommendations put forth by the NCAA’s Division I Transformation Committee earlier this year and recently adopted by the board.

As college sports moves toward less centralized governance by the NCAA and deregulation in general, the hope is to create a more streamlined enforcement process.

If justice is swift, the thinking goes, it is more likely to be applied fairly.

“The reality is the current system is broken,” said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner Jim Phillips, a member of the transformation committee. “I think everyone in the association, in the enterprise, understands it. When (an investigation) takes the amount of time that it does now and you start to penalize young men and women that were high school, if not middle school-age (when the violation occurred), it’s not an effective process.”

The IARP is still handling cases stemming from the FBI probe involving Louisville, Arizona, Kansas and LSU. Those have been in the NCAA enforcement pipeline for years. A related case against Oklahoma State did not go through IARP and the Cowboys did end up with a postseason ban.

David Ridpath, a professor at Ohio University and former compliance director for several schools, said even though the IARP failed, NCAA enforcement would be best handled by an independent organization.

“No system is perfect, but if you’re going to have an enforcement system at the end of the day you need to provide basic due-process protections and then you have to be able to consistently punish people,” he said.

In the Memphis case, Wiseman received $11,500 from Hardaway in 2017 while Hardaway was coach at a local high school. Hardaway was hired as Memphis’ coach in March 2018, and Wiseman committed to the Tigers in November 2018.

The NCAA accused Memphis of four Level I and two Level II violations, including lack of institutional control, head coach responsibility and failure to monitor. In the past, those types of allegations could strike fear into athletic directors but probation and fines seem much more likely to be the outcome now instead of the sweeping scholarship sanctions, vacated victories and postseason ban that Southern California received in 2010 for the Reggie Bush improper benefits case. Those penalties set USC football back years.

In the end, the IARP essentially reduced the charges against Memphis and cleared Hardaway of wrongdoing.

While the NCAA is losing sway in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court ruling, with more power being shifted to its member conferences, it also remains clear the schools still want the association to handle enforcement.

But what exactly is being enforced?

Athletes can now be paid for endorsement and sponsorship deals and college sports is still waiting on and hoping for help from federal lawmakers to regulate name, image and likeness compensation.

Plus, as revenue skyrockets for schools at the top of major college sports, the NCAA is trending toward fewer restrictions on what financial benefits can be provided to athletes.

“Until we have clarity and certainty on what schools and boosters and athletes can and can’t do, I think many recognize that it’s dangerous to hand down significant punishments when it’s not clear what you can and can’t do,” said Gabe Feldman, director of the sports law program at Tulane. “And I think unless you have clear rules, it’s hard to harsh punishment.”

Still, punishments directed at schools (fines) and coaches (suspensions) could become steeper and longer, Feldman said.

Potuto said with so much money flowing into the top of college athletics, it is doubtful fines could be large enough to be a true deterrent. While she understands the desire to not have current athletes pay for the sins of previous regimes, loosened transfer rules could mitigate the potential harm.

“I will make one prediction: If there is a move to impose penalties much less frequently in five years there is going to be a move to put them back in,” Potuto said.

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.