Joiner helps Mississippi beat No. 10 Missouri 80-59

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
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OXFORD, Miss. — The recent mastery of ranked teams continued Wednesday night for Mississippi as Jarkel Joiner scored 21 points as the Rebels beat No. 10 Missouri 80-59.

Ole Miss (11-8, 6-6 Southeastern) stretched their win streak to three games, including a win over No.16 Tennessee and the No. 10 Tigers. The surge left the Rebels in the middle of a logjam of the SEC standings, with eight teams within three games of each other.

“Having success gave us confidence,” Mississippi coach Kermit Davis said. “We didn’t give up baskets in transition and did a good job staying in front of them. You can’t let Missouri play downhill.”

Devontae Shuler and Luis Rodriguez added 15 points apiece for the Rebels (11-8, 6-6 Southeastern), extended their winning streak to three games that includes wins over No. 16 Tennessee and the No. 10 Tigers.

Ole Miss used a 17-2 run that spanned the final two minutes of the first half and the opening three minutes of the second half to build an insurmountable 51-37 lead. The Rebels led by as many as 22 points midway in the second half as Missouri never seriously threatened again.

“That (17-2 run) was the critical part,” Davis said. “It’s a coach’s cliche but it’s true how you finish and how you start. We got out in transition, got our hands on the ball and made some good plays. It was great to see.”

Dru Smith led Missouri (13-4, 6-4) with 17 points as the loss snapped a three-game winning streak. Javon Pickett added 10 points as the Tigers struggled at the free throw line, shooting 5 of 15 (33 percent) and were outrebounded 34-19.

“We just didn’t have the edge we normally have,” Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said. “I don’t know where to start. We didn’t have it tonight and give those guys credit.”

Ole Miss finished 29 of 51 (57 percent) from the field and 8 of 21 (38 percent) from three-point range, including five by Shuler. The Rebels were 14 of 17 from the free throw line (82 percent) and had 21 assists for 29 baskets, including four apiece from KJ Buffen and Robert Allen.

BIG PICTURE

Missouri: After winning six of the last seven starts, a road upset to suddenly streaking Ole Miss was disappointing, but not totally unexpected. The Tigers managed only three field goals in the opening eight minutes of the second half, effectively ending any comeback bid.

Ole Miss: Flying under the radar, the Rebels have quietly won three consecutive starts and moved into the upper half of the SEC standings, but play three of the next four games on the road, which figure to determine any postseason hopes.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

After climbing into the Top 10 for the first time in more than eight seasons, the upset loss virtually guarantees a drop from that height. However, a Saturday home win over Arkansas would go a long way in keeping the Tigers among the Top 25.

UP NEXT

Missouri: The Tigers host Arkansas on Saturday. Missouri defeated the Razorbacks 81-69 on Jan. 2.

Ole Miss: The Rebels visit South Carolina on Saturday.

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.