No. 15 Purdue’s guards lead way past Iowa, 89-67

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) The primary school of thought when playing No. 15 Purdue is to attempt to contain post players Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas while gambling that the Boilermaker guards won’t make enough perimeter shots to produce a victory.

Iowa adhered to that strategy Wednesday night in each team’s Big Ten opener, and paid dearly for the risk.

Freshman guard Carsen Edwards scored 19 points and junior guard Dakota Mathias added 17 as Purdue dominated Iowa 89-67.

It was the seventh consecutive victory for the Boilermakers (12-2, 1-0), who also got 16 points from Haas, 15 from Vince Edwards and 11 points and 10 rebounds from Swanigan, who recorded his fifth consecutive double-double.

“We felt like we wanted to limit their low-post opportunities,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “They did a really good job of moving the ball and finding the open guy. It’s not like you can leave two guys open and only cover two guys.”

Mathias understood how important Purdue’s guards were to Wednesday’s victory.

“They were really keying on Isaac and Caleb down low in the first half, so we got some open looks outside,” Mathias said. “In the second half, they started keying on the outside, so we came open for some shots in the post. It was a good mix for us all game.”

Big Ten scoring leader Peter Jok of Iowa, who came in averaging 22.6 points, was held to 13 on 4-of-15 shooting, including 1 of 7 from 3-point range. Mathias was the primary defender on Jok.

“He is tough to guard, because he is always moving,” Mathias said. “It was a tough challenge, but I think we did a good job with him tonight.”

It was Purdue coach Matt Painter’s 250th victory at his alma mater. Painter is in his 12th season with the Boilermakers, who lost to Iowa twice last season.

Mathias scored 16 first-half points, and Carsen Edwards added 10 as Purdue raced to an 8-0 lead and then built a commanding 49-25 halftime advantage, shooting 55.9 percent from the field, including 58.8 percent from 3-point range (10 of 17).

“Getting off to a good start was huge for us,” Painter said. “We had really good ball movement, and that led to good shots. We were fortunate to make those shots, and then Dakota did a really good job defensively. He has learned how to prepare to guard good players.”

Jok was held to two first-half points on 1-of-6 shooting. Iowa shot only 31.3 percent in the first half (10 of 32), including missing all seven 3-point attempts.

BIG PICTURE

Iowa: The Hawkeyes certainly did not look like a team that had won five in a row. They limited the 6-foot-9 Swanigan and the 7-2 Haas to two first-half points each but found themselves trailing by 24 points after only 20 minutes and by 31 with 12:27 remaining.

Purdue: The Boilermakers received terrific guard play from Mathias and Carsen Edwards and were deadly from beyond the arc with Iowa focusing its defense on the low post. Once Swanigan and Haas got more involved in the second half, Purdue looked like a team that will challenge for the Big Ten championship.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Having won seven straight, if Purdue gets past Minnesota on Sunday and improves to 13-2, look for the Boilermakers to make a move forward in the Top 25. Their only losses are to No. 1 Villanova and to No. 6 Louisville.

THE STREAK LIVES

With a rebound with 2:11 remaining, Swanigan finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, his fifth consecutive double-double. He entered leading the Big Ten in rebounding at 12.5 per game.

UP NEXT

Iowa: The Hawkeyes will host Michigan on Jan. 1.

Purdue: The Boilermakers will host Minnesota on Jan. 1.

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

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.