Second-half run powers No. 20 Florida St. over Wake Forest

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Florida State rarely trailed in non-conference play. So when the 20th-ranked Seminoles found themselves down by eight points less than 6 minutes into Wednesday’s Atlantic Coast Conference opener against Wake Forest, coach Leonard Hamilton knew he was going to find out who on his young team could handle playing from behind.

After one test, FSU could say it handled itself well.

After trailing for most of the game, the Seminoles went on a run of 17 straight points over a 4-minute span in the second half as they posted an 88-72 victory over the Demon Deacons.

“I think we are growing and maturing through the process. The quality of our depth was a big factor,” Hamilton said.

Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes each scored 23 points and led the Seminoles during the decisive run as Bacon had seven points and Rathan-Mayes five. Florida State trailed 66-61 before making seven straight shots from the field and forcing Wake to commit four turnovers as it took a 78-66 lead with 4:50 remaining.

“We were able to get out and run and play in the full court set. I think we did a really good job of locking in defensively,” said Rathan-Mayes, who had a season-high in points. “Once we were able to do that it sparked our offense and we were able to go on a little bit of a run.”

Jonathan Isaac added 13 points and CJ Walker had 12 for Florida State (12-1, 1-0), which has won nine straight for the first time since 2003-04 and is off to its best start since going 16-1 in 1988-89.

The Demon Deacons (9-3, 0-1) were looking for their first road win in a conference opener since 2006-07 but couldn’t contend with Florida State’s size. Center Doral Moore suffered a leg injury 2 minutes into the game and did not return and leading scorer John Collins was held to two points.

Keyshawn Woods and Bryant Crawford led Wake with 16 points each.

“We definitely let them off the hook,” Woods said. “We were up by one at halftime, then had a five-point lead (in the second half), and they hit us in the mouth and we didn’t respond.”

BIG PICTURE

Wake Forest: If the Demon Deacons are going to be competitive in the conference this season, they can’t have any bad games from Collins. The sophomore forward, who came into the game averaging 17.3 points and 10.4 rebounds, spent most of the second half in foul trouble and was 1 of 3 from the field.

Florida State: Instead of forcing things like they did last season, the Seminoles worked their way back and were able to eventually take control in the second half. Things now get more difficult as five of FSU’s next six opponents are ranked.

MILESTONE

A layup by Rathan-Mayes with 15:47 left in the first half made the junior the 46th player in school history to go over 1,000 points for his career. Rathan-Mayes’ father, Tharon, played at FSU from 1988-90 and scored 1,260 points. According to Florida State, this is the first father-son duo in ACC history to both score 1,000 points.

“It feels amazing. When I committed to Florida State I wanted to do something special in honor of my dad,” Rathan-Mayes said. “Just to be in the 1,000-point club, and be the first father-son duo to do that in ACC history it means the world to me.”

TIP-INS

Bacon has scored in double figures in 23 straight games, which is the longest current streak in the conference. … After making 16 3-pointers in a win over LSU on Dec. 22, Wake Forest was 10 of 21 from the perimeter. It is the fifth time this season they have had 10 or more 3-pointers. … Florida State made its first seven shots from the line but were 16 of 24 the rest of the game.

UP NEXT

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons host Clemson on Saturday in the first of two meetings between the teams this season.

Florida State: The Seminoles have their first ACC road game on Saturday against No. 12 Virginia. FSU has not defeated a ranked conference foe on the road since 2012.

More AP college basketball at http://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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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.