Perkins’ 20 points leads No. 25 Iowa past Huskers 88-78

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LINCOLN, Neb. – Tony Perkins’ right shoulder has been bothering him all season, not enough to keep him out of games, but enough to be annoying when driving into contact or bumping into a screen.

The Iowa sophomore was pleasantly surprised when, for the first time in a long time, he felt no pain during pregame warmups Friday. After he made his first two shots, he knew it would be his night.

Perkins scored a career-high 20 points to lead the No. 25 Hawkeyes past Nebraska 88-78, giving his team a boost while Big Ten scoring leader Keegan Murray struggled to get going.

“Before the game started, I told our trainer I’m feeling it, my shoulder’s not hurting today,” Perkins said. “I came out shooting, and it felt good. It’s been on and off. Today my adrenaline was going, so I wouldn’t have been feeling it even if it were to hurt.”

Perkins, who had 15 points in the second half, had his first double-digit scoring game since Dec. 6 against Illinois (16 points).

“He always had that in him,” teammate Kris Murray said. “He’s a competitor, and he’s always looking to score the ball. We know he can score the ball and he did that at great times tonight. When he’s aggressive, I feel our team is so much better, too.”

Keegan Murray had 15 points and 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. However, he couldn’t find his shot early and finished 6 of 13 from the field while seeing his streak of games with at least 20 points end at seven.

His brother Kris, who had 12 points, did most of his scoring in the second half as the Hawkeyes began taking control.

“Road games are tough in the Big Ten, especially playing a team like Nebraska, which has a lot of guys that can take you off the dribble and they feed off their crowd at home,” Kris Murray said. “They gave us a really good fight. We went on a little bit of a run and I think that’s what separated us.”

The Hawkeyes (20-8, 10-7 Big Ten) won for the sixth time in seven games and posted their first victory in Lincoln since 2015. The Cornhuskers (7-21, 1-16) lost their fourth straight, all by double digits.

Alonzo Verge Jr. led the Huskers with 18 points, C.J. Wilcher had 14 and Bryce McGowens had 13.

Iowa had difficulty pulling away, never leading by more than five points until Jordan Bohannon bounced a pass into the lane that Keegan Murray dunked for a 58-51 lead with 11:33 left.

A 3 by Wilcher got the Huskers within 58-56, but Iowa capitalized on a three straight bad passes by the Huskers to start an 11-0 run and build some cushion.

Perkins made two free throws after Verge threw the ball away, Kris Murray scored on a snaking move through the lane after Verge’s pass bounced off Walker’s chest and went out of bounds, and after McGowens’ pass bounced out of Walker’s reach, Murray hit a 3 and a layup to make it 69-56.

“I thought our fight was phenomenal really all game long,” Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We have those three- to four-minute stretches where teams go on those runs against us. Tonight had nothing to do with effort. We’d done a pretty solid job of taking care of the basketball and then we go three possessions in a row. That’s when they stretch it and open up the lead, but the fight was there.”

BIG PICTURE

Iowa: The Hawkeyes secured their fourth straight 20-win season and eighth in 10 years. They also posted their third two-game sweep of the season, having also won twice against both Maryland and Minnesota.

Nebraska: The Huskers lost their 24th straight against a top-25 opponent a day after Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts announced Hoiberg would return for a fourth season despite three straight years with at least 20 losses. Hoiberg is 6-49 in Big Ten play and 21-66 overall.

UP NEXT

Iowa: Hosts Northwestern on Monday.

Nebraska: Visits Penn State on Sunday.

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.