LATE NIGHT SNACKS: No. 12 Creighton outlasts Ole Miss

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 12 Creighton 86, Ole Miss 77

After putting 100 points on Washington State, and more impressively, against N.C. State, the Bluejays jumped 10 spots in the rankings as they took on Ole Miss in the U.S. Virgin Island Paradise Jam championship game. However, No. 12 Creighton found itself down by double digits in the first half thanks to the sharp shooting of Deandre Burnett and Rasheed Brooks coupled with the Rebels ability to control the pace. Marcus Foster kept Creighton within striking distance, at 46-40, with 17 first half points.

The Jays caught fire in the second half, dropping 46 points after halftime. Defensively, they stood strong, holding the Rebels had only one field goal over the final five-plus minutes.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

Georgetown 65, No. 13 Oregon 61: Georgetown nearly surrendered a 17-point halftime lead, as the Ducks to a brief 43-42 edge in the second half. However, the Hoyas countered with a run of their own and were able to hold on to a signature win after a week in which they suffered a late-game collapse against Maryland followed by a wire-to-wire loss to Arkansas State. Oregon saw its All-American candidate, Dillon Brooks, make his season debut after offseason foot surgery. He was limited to only 13 minutes, but showed flashes of what we can expect from him.

Winthrop 84, Illinois 80 (OT): This could be a pivotal year for John Groce, in his fourth season in Champaign. After a 4-0 start, the Fighting Illini dropped an overtime loss to Big South favorite Winthrop. Keon Johnson erupted for 38 points in the victory.

Oklahoma State 97, UConn 90: A preseason top-20 team, UConn falls to 1-3 with losses to Wagner and Northeastern, and now finds itself on the wrong side of the Maui Invitational bracket. The Huskies fell behind by double figures early before a late-game comeback attempt came up short.

Northwestern 77, No. 22 Texas 58: The Wildcats will meet Notre Dame in the Legends Classic final as they rolled past the Longhorns. Shaka Smart has talent on the perimeter, but does he have a point guard? Texas ended with double the turnovers as it had assists.

STARRED

  • Rodney Pryor, Georgetown: The Robert Morris graduate transfer helped spark a 16-4 run to close out the half, giving the Hoyas a 17-point lead. Georgetown nearly blew the large lead in the second half, but behind Pryor’s 26 points and 10 rebounds, the Hoyas landed a signature win over No. 13 Oregon after back weekend back in D.C. Georgetown gets to play No. 16 Wisconsin in the Maui Invitational semifinals on Tuesday.
  • Keon Johnson, Winthrop: The frontrunner to be Big South Player of the Year, dropped 38 points, off 15-of-21 shooting, in a road win over Illinois on Monday night. Johnson also added six boards and three assists.
  • Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame: The undersized junior forward registered his first double-double of the season, posting 23 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in an 89-83 win over Colorado in the Legends Classic. Several of Colson’s boards kept secure the win, as the Buffaloes attempted to pull off a double-digit comeback late in regulation.
  • Jawun Evans, Oklahoma State: One of the criminally-unknown players in college basketball dropped 35 points on the Huskies. Sure, it took him 24 shots to do so, but he also had six assists and committed only a single turnover.

TOP 25

  • No. 4 North Carolina cruised past Chaminade, 104-61, in the Maui opener.
  • The perimeter of Frank Mason, Devonte Graham and Josh Jackson combined for 48 points in an No. 5 Kansas’ 83-63 win over a good UAB team in CBE Hall of Fame Classic.
  • Northern Colorado put No. 8 Arizona on upset alert with a 31-30 halftime lead. But behind Lauri Markkanen’s 17 points and 13 rebounds — the first double-double of his collegiate career — the Wildcats held on for a 71-55 win. How long before the absence of Allonzo Trier catches up with ‘Zona?
  • Ole Miss not only jumped out to an 11-point lead, but the Rebels controlled the pace. Despite that, No. 12 Creighton still dropped 86 points to capture the Paradise Jam title. Marcus Foster, who dropped 25 points took home MVP honors.
  • No. 13 Oregon got Dillon Brooks back, but took its second loss of the non-conference schedule, as Georgetown, which needed to stop the bleeding, held on for a 65-61 win in the Maui Invitational quarterfinals.
  • No. 16 Wisconsin got a scare from Tennessee, but Nigel Hayes, who finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, hit some timely threes to halt the upset bid.

NOTABLES

  • Dennis Smith Jr. had a season-high 24 points, as N.C. State gets back in the win column in a consolation win over Saint Joseph’s
  • The first three games of the Gulf Coast Showcase were decided by a total of six points
    • Vermont 60, Wofford 59
    • Hofstra 92, Bradley 90
    • South Dakota 80, Kent State 77
  • In the final Gulf Coast Showcase wasn’t as close, as Rob Gray Jr. scored 23 points in a 93-56 win over George Mason
  • Blue Mountain College, an NAIA team, defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff in triple overtime, 77-74
  • Aaron Menzies posted 35 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Seattle’s win over Louisiana Monroe in a Legends Classic regional game
  • J.J. Frazier’s 18 points paced Georgia in a win over George Washington in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic
  • Zach Denny’s three in the final minute gave Bowling Green its first win of the season, as the Falcons topped Murray State 78-77
  • Nana Foulland, one of the best mid-major players no one talks about, recorded 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Bucknell defeated Vanderbilt on the road
  • Rodney Bullock had
  • Bogdan Bliznyuk had a 32-point game for Eastern Washington in a victory over Bryant
  • Central Michigan topped Pepperdine, 88-77, behind 36 points and seven assists from Marcus Keene
  • Eric Mika had his third double-double in four games, leading BYU over Saint Louis, 92-62, in the MGM Grand Main Event.
  • Underclassmen forward Nate Fowler and Joey Brunk combined for 27 points off the bench for Butler

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK
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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.