Powell scores 27, leads No. 12 Seton Hall past Wagner 105-71

Getty Images

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — Seton Hall cruised to victory in the absence of coach Kevin Willard. Star guard Myles Powell is looking forward to getting his mentor back.

Powell scored 27 points to lead No. 12 Seton Hall to a 105-71 win over Wagner on Tuesday night, without Willard on the sidelines.

“You guys see how good we can be at the end of the year last year and we’re just trying to keep that train rolling so it starts with me and coach Willard as the head guys of coach being head coach and me being a leader,” Powell said. “So like I said, we’re going to come back watch film and see how we can get better. Seventy-one points, I mean, that’s a lot of points and I know coach, the first thing coach is going to notice.”

Seton Hall announced a week ago that the NCAA is investigating the program and Willard would be sitting out two games in what has to be considered a suspension. The school didn’t say what the NCAA enforcement staff was investigating, but said it was working with the ruling body for college sports.

The Asbury Park Press reported the investigation involved transfer tampering, and the New York Post said it involved the transfer of Taurean Thompson from Syracuse in the fall of 2017.

After sitting out a year, Thompson played in 27 games last season.

Quincy McKnight added 10 points and seven assists for Seton Hall.

Patrick Szpir led Wagner with 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Alex Morales finished with 13 points.

Seton Hall said Willard would miss the team’s Oct. 29 exhibition and the Wagner game. Assistant coach Grant Billmeier ran the team in Willard’s absence.

“The only way to become a head coach and actually learn what you do well and what you don’t do well is to become a head coach,” Billmeier said. “It was an unbelievable experience for me. I’m glad I got to go through it. I thought our staff was really connecting and I thought the players did a great job today in not having any drop-off.”

Wagner kept the game competitive for much of the first half. Then, Sandro Mamukelashvili, who finished with 11 points, scored on a feed from Anthony Nelson, and Shavor Reynolds followed a steal with a dunk to give Seton Hall a 46-35 lead with 1:41 remaining.

Seton Hall extended its lead to 52-37 and pushed its advantage to as many as 37 points with less than a minute remaining.

“Coach Willard is the one who got it all started — I mean, he’s the head honcho,” Powell said. “Once you get your guy back — I mean, we will definitely be a different team on Saturday.”


Wagner: The Seawolves have been built into a solid program under seventh-year coach Bashir Mason. The two-time NEC Coach of the Year has won the NEC regular season title two of the last four seasons, resulting in NIT bids. Wagner lost in the NEC title game in 2016 and 2018.

Seton Hall: The Pirates are looking to reach the postseason for the fifth straight year behind the Big East Preseason Player of the Year in Powell. With 88 percent of their scoring returning from last season, the Pirates are ranked the highest in the AP poll since being No. 11 on Jan. 2, 2001, making this one of the most anticipated seasons in program history.


Big man Ike Obiagu had three blocks in his Seton Hall debut. The 7-foot-2 sophomore sat out last year after transferring from Florida State, where he averaged 2.1 blocks per game. He also had 11 points on 4-for-4 shooting and four rebounds.


Wagner: At Penn State on Saturday.

Seton Hall: Hosts Stony Brook on Saturday.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK

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

1 Comment

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

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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

Getty Images
1 Comment

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.