No. 10 Baylor rallies to beat No. 5 Kansas 80-70 in Big 12

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WACO, Texas – Flo Thamba had 18 points, Jeremy Sochan had 17 and 10th-ranked Baylor overcame a big early deficit to beat No. 5 Kansas 80-70 on Saturday night, avenging an embarrassing loss three weeks earlier and keeping the Jayhawks from clinching a share of their 20th Big 12 title.

The Bears (24-5, 12-4 Big 12) didn’t take the lead until the opening minute after halftime, and went ahead to stay at 65-63 on Thamba’s jumper with 4:07 left. That came after Ochai Agbaji, who had 27 points for Kansas, made a tying 3-pointer.

The Jayhawks (23-5, 12-3) had their four-game winning streak snapped and missed a chance to lay claim to another Big 12 title. They still have three games left, including a game postponed from Jan. 1.

Baylor, the defending national and Big 12 champions who lost 83-59 in Lawrence on Feb. 5, began the day tied with No. 9 Texas Tech for second place in the Big 12.

But the Red Raiders (22-7, 11-5), who swept their two games against Baylor and split with Kansas, lost 69-66 at TCU earlier Saturday. The Jayhawks play twice in three days against TCU next week.

The Bears took their first lead with a blistering opening minute of the second half, with Kendall Brown blocking a shot and then running the court for a slam dunk after a long bounce pass from James Akinjo that made 33-32.

There was then a technical foul assessed against Bill Self, with the Kansas coach irate that there wasn’t a foul called on a shot by Christian Braun. Self was near midcourt after the non-call, which came after the Jayhawks never went to the free throw line before halftime. Akinjo made both free throws.

Braun had 17 points and 10 rebounds. David McCormack had 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Adam Flagler added 13 points for Baylor, while Akinjo had 12. Matthew Mayer had nine points and 12 rebounds.

Flo Thamba, the big man remaining for the Bears with Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua out two weeks after a season-ending left knee injury, had 12 of their first 17 points.

Baylor was down 28-15, matching its largest deficit, before a layup by Thamba ignited a 10-0 run. The Bears were within 28-25 after Sochan blocked a shot that was swatted to Flagler, who drove the court and switched the ball from his left to right hand in the air for a layup. Sochan had a two-handed slam before that.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas: The Jayhawks still control their fate in whether they will be the Big 12 champion for the 20th time in the league’s 26 seasons. They won an unprecedented 14 titles in a row from 2005-18, and then won again in 2020. … Remy Martin played for the first time after missing seven games because of a bone bruise on his right knee. The super senior transfer guard hadn’t played since Jan. 29 against Kentucky.

Baylor: The Bears are 10-1 vs. Top 10 teams over the last two years, the lone loss being at Kansas earlier this season. This is the third consecutive season, and fourth time in five years Baylor split the regular-season searies with the Jayhawks.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Baylor will be ranked in its 54th consecutive poll when the new Top 25 comes out Monday, and will extend its Top 10 streak to 46 polls in a row. Both streaks are already school records. Kansas will still be in the Top 10. The Jayhawks were among five of the top six teams to lose Saturday, and the only one to do so against a top 10 opponent.

UP NEXT

Kansas: Plays at TCU on Tuesday night, then hosts the Horned Frogs on Thursday night in the makeup of what was supposed to be the Big 12 opener, but was postponed because of COVID-19 issues in TCU’s program.

Baylor: At No. 20 Texas on Monday night. The Bears beat the Longhorns 80-63 at home Feb. 12.

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.