Edwards helps No. 18 Texas Tech roll to 69-49 win over TCU

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Kyler Edwards is ready to start talking about another Texas Tech team making a run in the NCAA Tournament.

The Red Raiders have at least answered their longest losing streak in a season disrupted by COVID-19 and a wintry weather blast in Texas.

Edwards scored 17 of his season-high 20 points in the first half to help No. 18 Texas Tech take control, and the Red Raiders rolled to a 69-49 victory over TCU on Tuesday night.

The Red Raiders (16-8, 8-7 Big 12) followed a nine-point home victory over No. 15 Texas with another strong effort to answer the three-game skid that dropped them below .500 in conference play this late in the season for the first time since coach Chris Beard’s Texas Tech debut in 2016-17.

A role player as a freshman when Texas Tech lost in overtime to Virginia in the championship game of the most recent NCAA Tournament in 2019, Edwards finished a 7-0 run to close the first half with a 3-pointer and hit another for a 23-point lead midway through the second half.

“We want to be better than the team we had” in 2019, Edwards said. “The games we lost, we had a couple of tough practices. We got back in the lab and got together as a team and said we’re going to make this push. So that’s what we’re doing right now.”

RJ Nembhard scored 10 points on a rough shooting night (4 of 12) for the leading scorer for the Horned Frogs (12-11, 5-9). Mike Miles, second among Big 12 freshmen in scoring at 14.3 points per game coming in, had two points on 1-of-8 shooting.

“Really came into this game thinking we could do what they did to us — force turnovers and make them take tough, guarded shots,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said.

It was the first of three games in the final week of the regular season for both teams after the Big 12 retooled the schedule because of postponements for COVID-19 and severe winter weather.

These teams tried to play twice during the nearly weeklong freeze two weeks ago, but this ended up being the only meeting.

The seventh win in nine games for Beard against TCU and Dixon – both coaches are in their fifth seasons – wasn’t quite as lopsided as the previous one – a 46-point win for Texas Tech in February 2020, also at home. But there wasn’t much doubt.

“I think these guys have persevered,” Beard said. “We’re sitting here in March, we control our own destiny. And we’re still relevant. We’re not in the fight for the Big 12 regular-season championship, but we’re going to have the opportunity to compete for the championship in Kansas City as well as Indianapolis.”

Edwards was 4 of 5 from 3-point range Texas Tech was 6 of 13 beyond the arc compared to 4 of 17 for TCU which had 15 turnovers with just seven assists.

“I think the last two games were we all understand our backs were against the wall a little bit, I thought the guys played their best basketball when we needed them to play their best basketball,” Beard said.

Tyreek Smith and Kevin McCullar scored nine points apiece for Texas Tech.


TCU: The Horned Frogs are out of the conversation for the NCAA Tournament in the difficult Big 12 because they couldn’t beat ranked teams. They dropped to 0-7 against Top 25 opponents. TCU is eighth in a conference almost certain to have seven NCAA bids.

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders cruised on a quiet night for the top two scorers. Mac McClung, the Georgetown transfer who is fourth in the Big 12 in scoring, had four points while getting just four shots, making two, in 18 minutes. He was in foul trouble in the first half. Terrence Shannon Jr. scored eight points.


Crowd favorite Vladislav Goldin, a baby-faced 7-foot-1 freshman from Russia, scored in a Big 12 game for the first time on a bucket less than a minute after checking into the game to a huge ovation from the student section in the pandemic-limited crowd of 4,077.


TCU: The Horned Frogs’ final road game is Thursday at No. 6 West Virginia.

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders’ home finale is Thursday against Iowa State.

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.