No. 12 UCLA avoids late collapse, beats Arizona State 66-52

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES- With the memory of their triple-overtime loss at Arizona State still fresh two weeks later, the UCLA Bruins weren’t about to let the rematch slip away on their home court.

Jaylen Clark had 16 points and nine rebounds in his third straight start and the 12th-ranked Bruins avoided a second-half collapse to beat the Sun Devils 66-52 on Monday night for their third consecutive win.

The Bruins (20-5, 12-4 Pac-12) led by 17 in the first half before the Sun Devils began their comeback bid.

“Unless it stayed over 10, I knew it was coming,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said.

ASU (10-16, 6-10) closed to 46-45 on a basket by Marreon Jackson that capped a 24-12 surge to open the second half.

David Singleton’s 3-pointer beat the shot clock, sparking a 14-2 run that kept UCLA ahead for good. The Bruins made five of seven free throws during that span.

“We really started to ramp up the defense,” said Jules Bernard, who had 16 points and made all seven of his free throws. “We just really picked up our intensity.”

DJ Horne, Jay Heath and Jackson scored nine points each for the Sun Devils, whose three-game winning streak ended.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Bruins.

Clark made some crowd-pleasing plays, highlighted by a steal and fast-break dunk in the final 30 seconds. His steal and fast-break layup were part of UCLA’s 18-10 run to close the first half.

“I feel like for this team I’m the Energizer bunny,” Clark said. “I try to be as animated as possible after making crazy plays like that just to get everybody going. I love taking the ball and going down lighting up.”

Johnny Juzang returned to score 10 points after missing Saturday’s game against Washington with a hip injury when he fell off a scooter. He missed his last eight shots in the Bruins’ earlier triple-overtime loss to the Sun Devils and then missed his first two Monday before scoring.

The Bruins were without Tyger Campbell, who hurt his left shoulder on the first possession of Saturday’s game against Washington but played the rest of the way. He participated in shootaround, but his shoulder hurt too much to play. Also sitting was Peyton Watson, who sustained a left knee injury in that same game.

Horne rallied the Sun Devils within six to start the second half. With his team trailing by 13, he scored nine of its first 11 points to close to 38-32, capped by his back-to-back 3-pointers. Heath and Luther Muhammad picked up their third fouls during the same stretch.

ASU kept up the pace on offense and the Bruins went cold on their end. The Sun Devils ran off seven points in a row, with Jamiya Neal’s 3-pointer getting them to 43-39. UCLA missed six of its first eight shots in the half.

“They challenged everything,” Sun Devils coach Bobby Hurley said. “I think that was the finest defensive performance we have faced all year.”

BIG PICTURE

Arizona State: The Sun Devils are trying to close out the regular season strong. Of their four remaining games, the only opponent with a winning record is Colorado. After visiting the Buffaloes and Utah, they return home to host Cal and Stanford. ASU beat Utah in the previous meeting and lost to the other three schools. “We won three in a row and we were right there in this game,” Hurley said. “We just have to execute better in the half court.”

UCLA: Just one of the Bruins’ four remaining regular-season games will be played at Pauley Pavilion, where they are 13-1. Their other three are at Oregon, last-place Oregon State and Washington. Only the Ducks have a winning record, but they’ve lost two in a row.

INJURED JAQUEZ

Jaquez wears braces on both ankles and doesn’t practice in order to be able to play in games. He’s been bothered by ankle injuries at various times this season, but has started all 24 games in which he’s appeared.

“Most guys wouldn’t be playing,” Cronin said. “He would not desert his team, though.”

Jaquez arrives early to get treatment and do rehab work. He came in averaging 12 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.

“Today I felt really good out there, the best I’ve felt in a really long time, so I was really happy,” he said.

UP NEXT

Arizona State: At Colorado on Thursday in the middle of a three-game trip. The Sun Devils dropped the first meeting by 18 points.

UCLA: Visits Oregon on Thursday to open a three-game trip. The Bruins lost the first meeting by three points in overtime.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK
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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

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK
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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

Joe Rondone/USA TODAY NETWORK
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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.