Evans rallies No. 11 Arizona State to 77-75 win over Beavers

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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Tra Holder was having a bad day, and the 11th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils were staring at the possibility of a 1-4 record in the Pac-12.

Then his teammates came through.

Shannon Evans scored seven of his 22 points in a late 10-0 run and the No. 11 Sun Devils held on to beat Oregon State 77-75 on Saturday.

Holder, the Pac-12’s leading scorer at 20.9 points per game, made one of nine shots and scored four points. His teammates said they won it for him.

“He’s one of the top point guards in the country right now,” said Kodi Justice, who hit four 3-pointers and had 14 points. “Without him we wouldn’t be where we’re at. This is for him.”

Stephen Thompson Jr. scored 21 points for the Beavers (10-7, 2-3), matching his career best with five 3s (in 10 attempts).

Tres Tinkle added 18 for Oregon State, but missed a 3-pointer that would have won the game at the buzzer. Thompson’s little brother, Ethan, added 11 points, as did teammate Drew Eubanks.

“We were playing really good defensively, we were on pace for some really good defensive numbers,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said. “Then they kept driving us, driving us, driving us. They either laid it in or got to the free-throw line. Our D unfortunately went south on us.”

Evans had all of his 22 points in the second half.

“Shannon was in attack mode,” Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said. “He wasn’t going to let us lose. His 3 (with 1:07 to play) again reminded me of the shot he hit at Kansas.”

Remy Martin scored 12 points, and De’Quon Lake had 11 for the Sun Devils.

“The mark of a good team and a winning team is guys stepping up and compensating for him (Holder) not being at his very best,” Hurley said. “But I think Kodi said it very well. We would never be in the position we’re in if it’s not for that guy. In the big games we’ve been in, he’s been special this year.”

The Beavers, who also played Arizona close Thursday but lost on a late Wildcats rally, have not beaten a Top 25 team on the road since a win at then-No. 15 Washington on Jan. 5, 1985.

Evans made two free throws and a driving layup, then capped it with a 3-pointer in the 10-0 surge that put Arizona State ahead 73-68 with 1:07 remaining. Oregon State cut it to 75-73 on Stephen Thompson’s 3 with 32 seconds left.

Martin made one of two free throws to put ASU ahead 76-73 with 20.3 seconds left but Thompson’s driving layup sliced the lead to 76-75 with 7 seconds to play. Evans made one of two free throws to give the Beavers a chance but Tinkle’s 3 was way off the mark.

“It might have been fatigue, it might have been foul trouble,” Wayne Tinkle said about allowing Arizona State’s late surge. “We just have to be better. We’re a better defensive team than that. We just couldn’t finish them off.”

There were nine lead changes and neither team led by more than five points in a tight first half that ended with Oregon State up 34-33.

Holder was just 1 for 8 from the field in the first half. He took one shot in the second half, and missed.

The Beavers took control with a 10-0 run early in the second half, taking a 45-35 on a pair of free throws by Tinkle with 16:48 left. Oregon State took its biggest lead, 57-44, when Ethan Thompson sank a 3 with 11:32 left.

But the Sun Devils, whose 12-0 nonconference record led them to a No. 3 national ranking, were able to claw back into it.

“I feel like we have a big target on our back just because of all the publicity we had in the nonconference,” Evans said. “We have to take that for what it is and come out ready to play every night. We just want to stay together and using each other and believing what the coaches say and I feel like that’s what we did tonight.”

BIG PICTURE

Oregon State: Beavers lost twice in Arizona but give both opponents fits. Their patient style and talent could give teams big problems when they visit Corvallis.

Arizona State: The Sun Devils desperately needed this victory to avoid falling to 1-4 in the Pac-12 and suffering back-to-back home losses. Arizona State still has a ways to go with a crucial trip to the Bay Area coming up.

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.