Garza gets 21 points, No. 5 Iowa tops No. 25 Wisconsin 77-73

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IOWA CITY, Iowa – It was Senior Day, but Luka Garza didn’t know he was going to have to give a speech.

The Iowa center also didn’t know what else was coming in the postgame ceremony.

Minutes after the 6-foot-11 star scored 21 points and had 16 rebounds to lead the fifth-ranked Hawkeyes over No. 25 Wisconsin 77-73 Sunday, Iowa athletic director Gary Barta announced Garza’s jersey No. 55 would be retired after the season.

It’s why coach Fran McCaffery pulled Garza aside to tell him in advance about the announcement.

Garza began crying.

“He did not know that was going to happen,” McCaffery said. “And I knew Mr. Barta was going to ask him to speak. So I wanted him to kind of give him an opportunity to collect his thoughts.”

Garza delivered, again.

“Honestly, I didn’t expect it at all,” he said. “I didn’t realize it was a plan. Coach telling me that was a surreal feeling. That moment will be something I remember forever. Time slowed down. It was a real honor.”

Garza is Iowa’s all-time leading career scorer with 2,201 points. He leads the Big Ten in scoring this season and ranks third in the country.

This was Garza’s 12th double-double of the season and 33rd for his career.

“Incredibly heartwarming for me to watch what he’s accomplished,” McCaffery said.

Iowa (20-7, 14-6) has won seven of its last eight games, and will be the third seed in the Big Ten tournament next week in Indianapolis.

Wisconsin (16-11, 10-10), which has lost five of six, will be the No. 6 seed.

“It was important for us to get this win, to grind it out,” Garza said.

Jordan Bohannon’s three free throws with 34.3 seconds left gave Iowa a 74-71 lead. On Wisconsin’s next possession, Wisconsin’s Brad Davison and Iowa’s Keegan Murray got tangled up under the Badgers’ basket – Murray was called for a common foul and Davison a flagrant foul for a hook-and-hold after a replay review.

The call angered Wisconsin coach Greg Gard.

“It appears to have become the `Brad Davison rule,”‘ Gard said. “It’s become a joke.”

Murray and Davison each made their two free throws, then the Hawkeyes got the ball out of bounds. The Badgers forced a turnover on a held ball, but couldn’t when Aleem Ford missed a 3-pointer.

Iowa’s CJ Fredrick made one of two free throws for the final margin.

Bohannon, a senior guard, had 16 points and added eight assists.

“Those two guys (Garza and Bohannon) were going to make sure we didn’t lose the game,” McCaffery said.

Iowa’s Joe Wieskamp shot 5 of 5 and had scored 12 points when he went down with a lower right leg injury with 8:16 left in the first half. He had to be helped off the court, and did not return. Wieskamp had scored in double figures in the nine previous games, averaging 16.8 points in that stretch.

McCaffery said he was unsure of the severity of Wieskamp’s injury.

“He looked like he was on his way to 40 (points) today,” McCaffery said.

Micah Potter led Wisconsin with 23 points. Davison had 14, and Jonathan Davis had 11.

“It stings,” Potter said.

The emotions were different for Garza.

“We’re not done yet,” Garza said. “I’m not done yet.”

DEFENDING DAVISON

Gard said a “spotlight” has been put on Davison, and called it unfair.

“The kid’s a great kid,” Gard said. “I’m just tired of him constantly being put in that light. I’m tired of it. I’m calling it out when it happens. And I’m calling it out today.”

Potter saw no ill intent.

“He’s not a dirty player,” Potter said. “He does nothing maliciously. It’s not who he is.”

Gard said the rule has become a “weapon” against Davison.

“It’s become sickening, really,” Gard said.

FANS WAIT FOR HAWKEYES

Fans haven’t been allowed at Iowa home games this season other than family members of players and coaches. But before Sunday’s game, approximately 50 fans waited outside Carver-Hawkeye Arena to greet the Hawkeyes before they played their final home game of the season, holding up signs and applauding as players walked by.

UP NEXT

Wisconsin: Big Ten tournament second round at Indianapolis on Thursday.

Iowa: Big Ten tournament quarterfinals at Indianapolis on Friday.

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.