Rui Hachimura leads No. 7 Zags over Cal State Bakersfield 89-54

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Seventh-ranked Gonzaga has wrapped up an eventful non-conference season that saw the Zags reach No. 1 in the Top 25, and then fall down a few spots after a pair of losses.

Rui Hachimura scored 22 points as Gonzaga beat Cal State-Bakersfield 89-54 on Monday night to wrap up the non-conference season for both teams.

Brandon Clarke and Zach Norvell Jr. each scored 16 points for Gonzaga (13-2), which has easily won four straight games after losing to No. 3 Tennessee and No. 15 North Carolina. Jeremy Jones had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

“They did a great job,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said of the non-conference season. “The way those games were stacked up was as tough as anything we’ve done.”

“They’ve done fantastic in lieu of the injuries we had,” Few added, referring to the loss of forward Killian Tillie and guard Geno Crandall. Both are expected back for the conference season.

Jarkel Joiner scored 24 points for Cal State Bakersfield (8-5), which saw a five-game winning streak snapped. The Roadrunners were hurt by 36 percent shooting.

“They are a tough, hard-nosed team that plays everybody tough,” Few said. “It’s hard to get separation on them.”

Gonzaga blew out its past three opponents in the first half, but this game started as a defensive battle. The Roadrunners used a pressure defense and methodical offense to slow one of the nation’s top offenses.

Gonzaga went on an 11-0 run while holding the Roadrunners scoreless for 6 minutes to take an early 13-6 lead.

A 13-0 run a few minutes later put Gonzaga up 28-12. The Zags led 43-24 at halftime, behind 13 points by Hachimura. Joiner scored the last 10 points of the half for Cal State Bakersfield.

The teams traded baskets early in the second half, and Joiner’s 3-pointer cut Gonzaga’s lead to 55-35.

A 10-2 run put Gonzaga up 65-37 with 12 minutes left. The Roadrunners could not make up the difference.

“I was proud of our guys in the first half,” Bakersfield coach Rod Barnes said. “We took the game to them.”

“In the second half we gave in,” Barnes said. “We’ll take this as a good butt-whipping and get home and fix the problems.”

Gonzaga has won 15 straight home games dating to last year.

FAMILY TIME

Hachimura had several family members visiting from Japan in recent days, including his mother. He sank 7 of 10 shots, grabbed four rebounds and blocked a shot Monday. “I really wanted them to come,” Hachimura said. “I have to play good.”

SHOOTING WOES

The Roadrunners made just 22 of 60 shots, including 3 of 19 from 3-point range. They also committed 20 turnovers and got to the free throw line just 10 times.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Four big wins over outmanned opponents in the past two weeks doesn’t hurt.

BIG PICTURE

Cal State Bakersfield: The Roadrunners have been holding opponents to 68 points per game … Coach Rod Barnes was WAC coach of the year in 2016 and 2017 … The Roadrunners lost by five points to then-No. 20 TCU earlier this season.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs outscored their previous two opponents by a combined 64-7 through the first 10 minutes of those games, but no such luck this time … Gonzaga came in averaging 94 points per game … The Zags lead the nation in field goal shooting at 53 percent.

UP NEXT

Cal State Bakersfield opens Western Athletic Conference play against Seattle on Thursday.

Gonzaga opens defense of its West Coast Conference title against Santa Clara on Saturday. The Zags are projected to win the league regular season title for the seventh consecutive year.

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.

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.