No. 3 North Carolina beats Boston College 79-66

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BOSTON — North Carolina forward Luke Maye grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds in an easy victory over Boston College, and then he was off in transition.

Quickly turning his attention to the No. 3 Tar Heels’ regular season finale against archrival Duke, Maye said of Saturday night’s game with the Atlantic Coast Conference title at stake: “It’s huge for us.”

“We wanted to put ourselves in a position to win it,” he said after Carolina beat BC 79-66 on Tuesday to set up a showdown with the Blue Devils in Chapel Hill. “And we have that opportunity.”

Maye scored 17 and Cameron Johnson had 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Tar Heels (25-5, 15-2 ACC), who won their sixth straight game and went unbeaten on the road in the conference for the first time since it began playing an 18-game schedule in 2012-13.

It was also Carolina’s first season with 15 ACC wins. No. 2 Virginia is also 15-2 in the conference, with its finale against Louisville.

Next up for the Tar Heels: fourth-ranked Duke, which escaped with a 71-70 victory over Wake Forest on Tuesday — again without Zion Williamson. Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski said afterward he didn’t expect Williamson, who sprained his knee when his shoe exploded in the previous game against Carolina, to play in the rematch.

Maye said he wants Williamson, who is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft, “to be as healthy as he can for his future.”

Johnson said Williamson’s absence won’t affect their preparation.

“The more you get caught up in that stuff, the worse off you’ll be,” he said. “And your mental approach will get thrown off. You’ve got to stay level and be ready to compete under any circumstance.”

Ky Bowman scored 23 points with nine rebounds and Nik Popovic scored 20 for Boston College, which has not beaten the Tar Heels in 12 tries since 2010. The Eagles (14-15, 5-12) have lost four of their past five games overall, and eight of their past 11.

North Carolina outrebounded BC 60-35.

The game was tied 16-all before the Tar Heels ran off 12 straight points, holding BC without a basket for more than five minutes. In all, Carolina scored 32 of the last 41 points in the first to head into halftime with a 48-25 lead.

The Tar Heels led by as many as 25 points early in the second half and led 63-42 with 12 minutes left before Bowman hit a 3-pointer and Popovic scored twice from the inside to make it a 14-point game. But Johnson scored in the lane, Carolina scored on back-to-back fast breaks and then Kenny Williams made a layup to open a 22-point lead.

“Very rarely have you seen our team get down and not fight back, just roll over. That’s the start of it,” BC coach Jim Christian said. “That’s what we’re playing for. What we’re playing for is each other. What we’re playing for is culture. What we’re playing for is to keep getting better.”

STANDING STRONG

Carolina coach Roy Williams had to turn the bench over to assistant Steve Robinson in his previous trip to Chestnut Hill after feeling dizzy and collapsing in the second half. The coach has been diagnosed with vertigo; he also had a spell in the Saturday’s victory against Clemson.

“First of all, I’m thrilled to finish a game,” Williams said. “Especially thrilled to finish a game here.”

BIG PICTURE

North Carolina: Needs to beat Duke to share the regular-season ACC title; a Blue Devils win would give them a chance to share the title.

Boston College: The Eagles had a chance to play spoiler and ruin the Tar Heels’ chance at a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Instead, BC needs a win in the finale and in the conference tournament to finish .500.

UP NEXT

North Carolina: hosts No. 4 Duke in regular-season finale on Saturday.

Boston College: Finishes its season at home against North Carolina State.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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.