No. 13 Texas Tech wins 57-52 to end No. 9 Oklahoma streak

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LUBBOCK, Texas — No. 13 Texas Tech put an end to an impressive streak that had quickly pushed Oklahoma into the Top 10, in an offensive struggle for both teams.

Terrence Shannon Jr. scored all 15 of his points after halftime, with four free throws in the final 39 seconds, and the Red Raiders pulled out a 57-52 victory Monday night. That ended a five-game winning streak by the No. 9 Sooners, who had won three in a row over Top-10 teams but were without two starting guards because of COVID-19 protocols.

“Kind of an ugly game in some ways, but a beautiful game in others,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “Two teams really defending at a high level. To hold to two Big 12 teams to 33 percent shooting on both side, there’s a lot of really good defense going down.”

Texas Tech (13-5, 5-4 Big 12) had its largest lead at 50-40 when Kevin McCullar made a 3-pointer and then assisted on a 3 by Shannon with 3:21 left.

“A big-time battle. Proud of our guys, defensively fought their tails off, just needed to helped with a little more scoring,” Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. “Tech’s good defensively too, a kind of the first one to 50 (points)-type mentality.”

Oklahoma (11-5, 6-4), which had missed 13 of its previous 15 shots, responded with seven points in a row, including Umoja Gibson stealing a ball from McCullar and making a 3-pointer with 2:18 left. Gibson, who led the Sooners with 14 points, made another 3 with 1:01 left to get within 52-50 before Shannon converted at the line.

“Just went with the flow of the game,” Shannon said. “Coach went with me a couple of times and I found my rhythm and just happened to make plays.”

Oklahoma guards Austin Reaves and Alondes Williams didn’t play because of COVID-19 protocols, after both also missed Saturday’s 66-61 win at then-No. 9 Alabama in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Reaves, fifth in the Big 12 at 15.8 points a game and third with 5.1 assists, was out because of contact tracing and Kruger expects him to be able to practice later this week. Williams is out until at least next week.

The Sooners moved up 15 spots, two weeks after not even getting a single vote, in the new AP Top 25 poll released earlier Monday. Their quick rise came after being only the third team in NCAA history to beat Top 10 teams in three consecutive games — over then-No. 9 Kansas and at then-No. 5 Texas before beating Alabama.

“That five-game winning streak was one of the best runs I’ve seen in the Big 12, and I’m sure they’ll bounce back and start another run,” Beard said.

McCullar finished with 13 points for Texas Tech. Mac McClung was averaging a Big 12-best 21 points in conference games, but was held to six points — all on free throws, while going 0-for-7 shooting and 0-for-5 on 3s.

De’Vion Harmon had 12 points for Oklahoma, and Brady Manek scored 11.

Oklahoma shot only 26% from the field before halftime, on 7-of-27 shooting without a single assist. The Sooners were 1 of 10 on 3-pointers. The only one they made was Umoja Gibson’s banked-in 3 from the top of the key after his steal that got them within 14-13.

“Offensively, got a little bit more going in the second half, not much going in the first half for sure,” Kruger said. “But guys kept fighting.”

NOT A CHANCE

With the Red Raiders dropping three spots Monday and out of the Top 10, there was no longer any possibility for Oklahoma to become the first team ever to beat Top 10 teams in four consecutive regular-season games.

BIG PICTURE

Oklahoma: The Sooners struggled shooting all night at 33.3% (18 of 54) in their lowest-scoring game of the season. They missed eight shots in a row over a span of more than eight minutes after halftime, when Texas Tech missed five in a row as well. Manek’s second 3-pointer of the half got them within 29-28 with 16:39 left. By time Harmon hit a jumper with 8:32 left, they were still only down 39-37.

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders also shot 33.3% (17 of 51), but had only three turnovers in the final 25 minutes of the game after seven in the first 15 minutes.

UP NEXT

Oklahoma is home Saturday against Iowa State, the Sooners’ first unranked opponent since Jan. 19.

Texas Tech plays at Kansas State on Saturday. The Red Raiders beat K-State 82-71 at home on Jan. 5.

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.