No. 9 Purdue gets past Michigan State 75-70, into title game

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INDIANAPOLIS – Jaden Ivey gave No. 9 Purdue the production and energy it needed to reach the Big Ten Tournament title game.

Now he’s in position to lead the third-seeded Boilermakers to a championship that’s already eluded them once this season.

Ivey finished with 22 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and Eric Hunter Jr. made two back-breaking 3-pointers late in Saturday’s second semifinal game to give Purdue a 75-70 victory over seventh-seeded Michigan State.

“Tomorrow’s a big game for us,” Ivey said. “We didn’t win a regular-season championship. That was a goal of ours and we fell short. Tomorrow we have a chance to win a championship and take it home.”

The Boilermakers will make their first title game appearance since 2018 on Sunday against No. 24 Iowa (25-9).

For Ivey, it was a sensational day inside the building his mother, Notre Dame coach Niele Ivey, once called home as a member of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever. He went 7 of 14 from the field, made two 3s and six of eight from the free-throw line while frequently converting nifty drives into points. The result: Purdue (27-6) has won three straight to reach its first Big Ten title game since 2018.

Ivey also provided gasps from a noticeably favorable crowd when he fell hard to the ground, off-balance on the game-sealing breakaway layup that made it 69-59 with 1:50 left. He stayed down briefly and appeared to be rubbing his tailbone before getting up and finishing the game.

But the Spartans (22-12) fared far worse in the injury department. Starting point guard Tyson Walker left in the first half with what appeared to be a sprained ankle and did not return. His replacement, sophomore A.J. Hoggard, turned his ankle on the next possession. Hoggard also left but did return and finished with 17 points and 10 assists, though the injuries left Michigan State precariously thin.

“The doctor told me we lost two point guards in 23 seconds or something like that,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. Tyson, the one thing he would have given us, was the way they play ball screens, he could have really helped us. I don’t know how bad it is. It’s not broken or anything, but it’s bad enough it’s going to be some time.”

It wasn’t just Ivey making a difference against the Spartans, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Michigan State last played in the conference title game in 2019, and when the Spartans cut the deficit to 57-56 on Hoggard’s jumper with 5:45 to go, it looked like the drought might end.

Instead, Hunter knocked down consecutive 3s, and after Williams made one of two free throws, Hunter scored on a layup to give the Boilermakers a 66-56 lead with 3:31 remaining. They were the only 3s for Hunter in the game and he finished with 11 points.

Michigan State spent the rest of the game futilely playing catch-up in a close contest featuring two of the conference’s perennial powers and the league’s longest-tenured coaches.

“When they cut it to one right there, they showed some grit really to make some plays,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “I thought that was the decisive stretch.”

BIG PICTURE

Michigan State: After losing five of their last seven regular-season games, the Spartans rebuilt their confidence and should take some momentum into the NCAA Tournament. They fended off Maryland on Thursday, beat regular-season co-champ Wisconsin on Friday and challenged perhaps the league’s top team until late on Saturday. But the injuries could impact Michigan State’s seeding.

Purdue: The Boilermakers now have a second chance to win a league title. While two wins in two days may have locked up a No. 2 seed in the 68-team NCAA Tournament field, a win Sunday would almost make it a certainty.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Boilermakers have been the highest-ranked Big Ten team most of this season, and that’s not likely to change now. They’ve been in the top 10 for a school-record 18 consecutive weeks. A win Sunday would extend that record in Monday’s rankings.

STAT PACK

Michigan State: Gabe Brown scored 16 for the Spartans. … Marcus Bingham Jr., Max Christie and Malik Hall each finished with nine points. … Bingham and Christie also each had six rebounds. Brown had four. .. The Spartans were 7 of 25 on 3s in their third game in three days.

Purdue: Williams finished with 15 points and seven rebounds. … Zach Edey had 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Mason Gillis added 10 points and seven rebounds. … Purdue had a 43-35 rebounding advantage and outscored Michigan State 22-9 in second-chance points.

UP NEXT

Michigan State: Waits for the NCAA Tournament selection committee to announce the field Sunday. Purdue: Will chase its first conference tourney crown since 2009 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.