Late rally lifts Minnesota past No. 24 Purdue, 71-68

Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS — For more than 38 minutes of action, Purdue had held Minnesota’s leading scorer in check. But Marcus Carr ended the game in style, giving the Golden Gophers a dramatic comeback victory.

Carr finished with 19 points, including eight in the final 1:08, to lift Minnesota past No. 24 Purdue 71-68 on Thursday.

Gabe Kalscheur broke out of a shooting slump to score 16 points, Brandon Johnson scored 15 and Liam Robbins added 11 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota (12-7, 5-7 Big Ten), which trailed by five with 2 minutes to play.

Trevion Williams led Purdue with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Eric Hunter Jr. had 14 points and Zach Edey added 13 for the Boilermakers (13-8, 8-6).

In a sluggish game in which both teams struggled from 3-point range, Minnesota finally got hot at the end.

Purdue led 64-59 before Robbins hit a jumper, and after a Purdue turnover, Carr came up with a loose ball and drained a long 3-pointer to tie the game at 64 with just over a minute to play.

After a timeout, Purdue worked the ball inside to Williams, who missed twice but came up with the rebound both times. He was successful on his third attempt, a dunk that gave Purdue a two-point lead with 51 seconds to play.

Carr tied the game again with a pair of free throws. Williams answered with an up-and-under move to beat Robbins for a layup. But the Gophers responded immediately, as Carr banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put Minnesota ahead 69-68 with 14 seconds left.

“He made some big-time shots,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. “The one thing about Marcus and all of these guys, I want them to feel free to go make some plays.”

So, despite making five of his first 16 shots, Carr had the green light to keep shooting. In the end, it worked out, even if one of his huge shots came off a scramble and the other went in off the backboard.

“I’m not sure if you guys could hear it, but he called out `bank,”‘ Pitino said.

Kalscheur hit two free throws, giving Minnesota a 71-68 lead, and Sasha Stefanovich’s last-second 3-pointer came up short, leaving the Boilermakers to lament a handful of bad breaks.

“That’s life on the road, man – everything doesn’t always go your way,” Williams said. “We’ve just got to be better in the future, trying to put games away, so we don’t even have to go through that.”

“We allowed it to be close, and that’s what happens in close games,” Painter added. “We’ve just got to be one possession better.”

Williams, who was held to eight points in Purdue’s victory over Northwestern on Saturday, came up huge against Minnesota, especially in the first half, when he scored 13 straight Purdue points in one crucial stretch.

Minnesota surged to an early seven-point lead on the strength of three straight baskets by freshman Jamal Mashburn Jr. But the Gophers missed 10 of their next 12 shots, and the Boilermakers took advantage.

Williams helped launch a 15-2 run with a three-point play and a jumper. Hunter fed Aaron Wheeler for an alley-oop dunk, then knocked down a jumper of his own to give Purdue a 30-24 lead.

COLD AS ICE

On a day when the outside temperature was below zero degrees Fahrenheit at tip-off, both teams were chilly from long distance, but one of them found its shooting stroke just in time. Minnesota was 3 for 19 from beyond the arc before hitting four of its last five attempts – two apiece by Kalscheur and Carr.

Kalscheur had made just four of 23 3-pointers in his last four games, including a 1-for-9 showing against Nebraska on Monday.

Meanwhile, Purdue connected on 2 of 17 3-pointers, missing 12 straight at one point. Painter said he wasn’t discouraged.

“We had a couple that we’d like to have back … but for the most part I thought they were pretty good shots,” he said. “They just didn’t go down. It happens.

“Your toughness, your defense, your rebounding, that travels. Sometimes your jump shot doesn’t travel. I think that’s a true statement in competitive basketball. We were really close to being able to grind this one out.”

BIG PICTURE

Purdue: The Boilermakers haven’t won consecutive games since their four-game winning streak was snapped on Jan. 22.

Minnesota: The Gophers improved to 13-1 at home. The victory was a dramatic turnaround from the teams’ Jan. 30 matchup at Purdue, when Minnesota led by 14 in the first half but ended up losing 81-62.

“We wore down last time,” Pitino said. “We’re not going to allow ourselves to wear down. Experience is big. Going through that the first time was huge. I thought our guys understood.”

UP NEXT

Purdue: The Boilermakers are off until Tuesday, when they host Michigan State. In their first meeting this season, Purdue pulled out a 55-54 victory in East Lansing.

Minnesota: The Gophers travel to Maryland on Sunday, looking to avenge a 14-point home loss to the Terrapins on Jan. 23.

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.