Moss leads No. 5 Kansas to 112-57 romp over Monmouth

Ed Zurga/Getty Images
0 Comments

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas was seconds away from another lopsided win in Allen Fieldhouse when Monmouth’s George Papas stole the ball from freshman Tristan Enaruna and ran the other way for a dunk, triggering a minor scuffle under the bucket.

It was the most fight the Hawks showed all night.

Isaiah Moss poured in 21 points to lead six Jayhawks in double-figure scoring, and No. 5 Kansas romped to a 112-57 victory over its undersized and outclassed MEAC opponent Friday night.

“I’m a super, super competitive guy,” Monmouth coach King Rice said, “and we lost our cool a little bit here tonight at the end of the game. We were down by 100 points. We get a dunk and we bark at the kid — that is uncalled for. That is not what our program represents.

“You get beat by a better team,” Rice said, “you shake their hand, you walk off the court.”

Jayhawks coach Bill Self wasn’t too worried about it, though.

“I’m actually glad it happened,” Self said, “because we’ve been on Tristan the whole time about being casual. That’s a prime example of being casual.”

Then again, the whole win was a casual affair for Kansas.

Moss, who missed the season opener against Duke because of an injury, was 5 of 6 from beyond the arc as the Jayhawks (2-1) ran their home winning streak to 23 straight games. The streak is the third-longest in the nation behind only Tennessee (28) and Gonzaga (25).

Devon Dotson and David McCormack added 17 points, Udoka Azubuike had 12 points and eight boards, and Christian Braun and Silvio de Sousa finished with 11 apiece for the Jayhawks.

“The first half we were pretty good. I thought we were turned up. I thought we defended well,” said Self, whose team hit 14 3-pointers and shot 56 percent from the field. “We were all pretty good.”

Deion Hammond had 17 points to lead the Hawks (1-3), who didn’t make a field goal until midway through the first half. George Papas had 12 points and Ray Salnave added 11.

The Jayhawks, who got off to a sluggish start against UNC-Greensboro, had no such trouble against the Hawks. They scored the first nine points, pushed their opening run to 21-2, and added an alley-oop dunk and a deep 3-pointer before Monmouth finally made a shot.

By that point, the Jayhawks led 26-6.

“We just wanted to bring energy,” Moss said. “It starts with defense, just talking, and then letting the game come to us offensively.”

The end of the half was just as lopsided: After the Hawks got within 41-19 on Hammond’s 3-pointer, Kansas began an 18-2 closing run capped by Azubuike’s dunk in the final seconds.

Part of the big lead came through efficient offense and excellent defense by Kansas.

Part of it came by way of Monmouth’s offensive ineptitude.

The Hawks missed their first 12 shots, throwing up an airball, shooting a jumper over the backboard and blowing a layup along the way. At one point they had nearly as many turnovers (four) as shot attempts (five), and they finished the half 6-for-26 shooting with 12 turnovers.

Monmouth added whistles to its long list of problems in the second half.

The Jayhawks scored the first six points out of the locker room, and the Hawks’ only recourse was to slow them down with fouls. Kansas hit the bonus with 15:20 left in the game.

“Everybody was hard to guard tonight,” Rice said. “I’m sorry my team didn’t play as well as I think we can, and I’m sorry my team lost its cool at the end.”

STATS AND STREAKS

Salnave was 1 for 10 from the field but 9 of 10 from the foul line for Monmouth. … The Hawks are 1-17 all-time against ranked teams. … Kansas committed just seven turnovers. It had 28 in its opener against Duke. … They Jayhawks had a 66-33 advantage in points off the bench.

BIG PICTURE

Monmouth gave Kansas State all it could handle earlier this week, leading another Big 12 foe at the half. But the Hawks fell apart over the final 20 minutes and evidently never put it back together.

Kansas got little more than a glorified practice out of Friday night, but tougher tests are coming fast. The Jayhawks have one game left before heading to Maui.

UP NEXT

Monmouth wraps five-game trip to open the season Monday night at Pittsburgh.

Kansas plays Southern Conference favorite East Tennessee State on Tuesday night.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK
0 Comments

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

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK
0 Comments

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

Joe Rondone/USA TODAY NETWORK
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

uconn
Michael Hickey/Getty Images
0 Comments

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
0 Comments

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.