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Sports Today: Ohio State wins in ways expected and not

Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 10:08 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - FEBRUARY 07: Andrew Dakich #13 and Keita Bates-Diop #33 of the Ohio State Buckeyes talk during a stop in action against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena on February 7, 2018 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images
WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - FEBRUARY 07: Andrew Dakich #13 and Keita Bates-Diop #33 of the Ohio State Buckeyes talk during a stop in action against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena on February 7, 2018 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)(Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

What a day we had yesterday! 

The basketball and national signing day action we promised in this space did not disappoint. 

In fact, it exceeded expectations since Ohio State actually won at Purdue, which I did not expect in the least. 

RELATED: Buckeyes move into first-place tie with last-second victory

I may start calling Chris Holtmann “Coach Thesaurus” because I am running out of superlative for these Buckeyes, who not only beat the Boilermakers on their floor but overcame a 14-point deficit in doing so. 

Keita Bates-Diop won his Big Ten Player of the Year showdown with Middletown native Vincent Edwards. The OSU senior scored the last of his 18 points on the decisive basket with less than three seconds left. He also had 11 rebounds and three assists while Edwards scored 11 points and grabbed nine caroms. 

I thought those two would cancel each other out and the difference would be Isaac Haas and Carsen Edwards. They combined for 46 points for Purdue, but Ohio State got 18 points from its bench, including 10 big ones from Indiana native Musa Jallow, while the Boilermakers backups were shut out. 

Ohio State won the battle of the boards and committed only eight turnovers. 

This team really has something special going in terms of chemistry and attitude. 

It’s the kind of thing that happens by accident sometimes but is often attributed to great coaches because their teams unlock that formula more often than not. 

RELATED: 7 things to know about Ohio State’s new coach

Holtmann is off to a hell of a start, obviously, and regardless of how this season ends it is a big deal because it could pay dividends down the road when it comes to the most important factor in winning in college basketball: Recruiting… 

  

A busy signing day was marred by bad weather, but the area’s uncommitted big three all made their choices anyway: Springfield’s Leonard Taylor and Dunbar’s Tavion Thomas are headed to Cincinnati while Trotwood-Madison’s Ra’veion Hargrove signed with Bowling Green. 

I see all three of these guys as having the potential to play at Power 5 schools, but there’s something to be said for having the chance to dominate outside the highest tier in college football. I see all three of them as having that potential. 

Coverage: Signing Day

•  Dunbar’s Thomas signs with Cincinnati 

• Local stars make final signing plans 

• Signing Day: List of area committments 

• Ohio State: Buckeyes land touted group

• Mom walks out on son after she disagrees with pick

Of course, the bigger news in area high school sports came after those guys had signed as Mike Hartsock and Marc Pendleton broke the news the GWOC is apparently going to break up. 

If I had attended one of these schools, I might have strong feelings on this, but at this point I can’t say I do. 

I graduated from one of the small schools nearby right before the last round of conference mergers started, so they’ve always seemed a bit foreign to me. 

I suppose one of the problems with changing conferences is whatever you end up with lacks the emotional attachment of what came before, and that makes it easier to split apart when fissures inevitably occur. 

Let me know what you think via emailTwitter or Facebook. 

Ohio State football also managed to make headlines despite having most of its class wrapped up long ago. 

Urban Meyer burnished his reputation as a strong closer by reeling in a five-star offensive tackle on signing day. 

We also got a good bit of news on the coaching front with talk about Greg Schiano staying, Kerry Coombs leaving, Alex Grinch arriving and more. 

Check it out here… 

And lastly there are those pesky Dayton Flyers. 

The women’s team kept rolling with a convincing win at UMass, the men’s squad looked great, too. 

The latter dominated Duquesne for most of the night, winning 88-73 at UD Arena

At the risk of being obvious, that is the ideal (realistic) formula for success for Anthony Grant’s Flyers. 

The old guys (Darrell Davis and Josh Cunningham) combined for 41 points and 14 rebounds, the freshmen guards (Jordan Davis and Jalen Crutcher) combined for 26 points and 14 assists while the glue guy (Trey Landers) stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, nine assists and four rebounds. 

That brings us back to where we have been multiple times already this year: Wondering how many more times can they do that again before the season is over. 

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Rhode Island blows out Dayton in second half

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 7:58 PM

Dayton's Kostas Antetokounmpo blocks a shot against Rhode Island in the first half on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, at the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I.
David Jablonski - Staff Writer
Dayton's Kostas Antetokounmpo blocks a shot against Rhode Island in the first half on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, at the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I.(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

Rhode Island broke open a close game in the second half and routed Dayton 81-56 on Friday at the Ryan Center, clinching the outright Atlantic 10 regular-season title for the first time.

Confetti rained from the ceiling as the players celebrated with the student section. The No. 18 Rams improved to 23-4 and 15-1 with two games remaining.

Dayton (13-15, 7-9) fell from a tie for sixth place into ninth place.

The Rams outscored Dayton 45-22 in the second half. Jeff Downtin led Rhode Island with 20 points. E.C. Matthews scored 18.

Jalen Crutcher led Dayton with 12 points. He had only two points in the second half. Trey Landers added 10.

Rhode Island shot 54.1 percent from the field. Dayton shot 43.5 percent. Turnovers were Dayton’s biggest issue all night. It finished with 22.

HALFTIME RECAP

The Dayton Flyers led for most of the first half but found themselves on the wrong end of a 36-34 deficit at halftime Friday against No. 18 Rhode Island at the Ryan Center.

Dayton’s star: Jalen Crutcher scored 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting but also committed four turnovers. He had three turnovers in the last two minutes.

Rhode Island’s star: Jeff Dowtin scored 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

Key stat: Dayton committed 13 turnovers. Rhode Island had five.

» RELATED:  Dayton’s last senior class playing around the globe

Big run: Dayton led 30-25 with three minutes to play. Rhode Island ended the half on an 11-4 run.

Foul trouble: Darrell Davis is the only Dayton player with two fouls. Jarvis Garrett has two fouls for Rhode Island.

Block party: Dayton blocked four shots. Kostas Antetokounmpo had two blocks, and Trey Landers had two.

Lineup news: Xeyrius Williams didn’t make the trip to Rhode Island for the game. He’s not playing for the fifth time in the last six games.

Big picture: Rhode Island has already clinched a share of the A-10 title and can win the championship outright with a victory Friday. Dayton entered the game tied for sixth with three teams.

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Sidney, Springboro win D-I sectional openers at Trotwood

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 9:08 PM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 9:16 PM

Beavercreek leads Franklin 32-14 at halftime of a boys high school basketball D-I sectional first-round matchup at Trotwood on Friday night. It’s the third of three games.

Sidney 55, Troy 35: Devan Rodgers scored 13 points to lead a balanced attacked as Sidney eliminated GWOC American North rival Troy in the middle game at Trotwood.

Andre Gordon and Ratez Roberts each added 10 points for the Yellowjackets. Sidney (17-6) takes a seven-game win streak into Tuesday’s semifinals at Centerville against the Beavercreek/Franklin winner.

Caillou Monroe had 11 points to lead Troy (9-14) and Zach Reichelderfer added 10. Troy ends its season at 9-14.

Springboro 86, Piqua 56: Connor Grevey scored 22 points, Willieon Yates 17 and Garrett Powell 13 in leading the Panthers to a season scoring high in the D-I sectional opener at Trotwood. All three Springboro players had three 3-pointers.

Ben Schmiesing led Piqua (10-13) with 19 points. Mick Karn and Qurri Tucker each added 12 points and Xian Harrison 10.

Springboro (8-15) will play No. 2 seed Springfield (18-4) in the upper bracket sectional semi at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Centerville. Springfield drew a first-round bye.

Beavercreek 32, Franklin 10: The Beavers have stunned the wildcats by racing to a decisive advantage midway through the second quarter.

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Miles Bridges NCAA case: What you need to know about Michigan State’s star forward

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 4:12 PM

Michigan State sophomore Miles Bridges was one of more than 25 players mentioned in the FBI’s investigation into college basketball corruption involving agents funneling money to recruits, according to documents obtained by Pete Thamel and Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports.

There’s a lot of information in the Yahoo report, and there isn’t any focus on any particular player. But Bridges’ name is mentioned, and he’s as high profile as any current college basketball player in there. Here’s what you need to know.

How did Miles Bridges’ name come up in the FBI’s investigation?

The FBI is investigating agents who have allegedly funneled money to college basketball players with the hope of getting those players to sign with them after college. The FBI announced some preliminary findings in October, and four college basketball assistant coaches were fired after their names were mentioned in the report. The FBI cautioned that this was just the tip of the iceberg, and reporting from Yahoo’s Thamel last week suggested some sort of reckoning for the sport was on its way.

Thamel and Forde’s story on Friday mentioned recruits who had met specifically with Andy Miller, a former NBA agent who has since “relinquished” his certification with the NBA Players Association. Thamel and Forde cite documents showing payments from Miller and his associates to various college players.

Those allegations of payments to players are amounts in the hundreds to multiple thousands, with former University of Utah star and current Los Angeles Lakers player Kyle Kuzma recorded as receiving $9,500.

The documents Miller and associates meticulously kept say he or his associates arranged for a payment of $400 to Bridges’ mother Cynthia. Bridges and his family are also alleged as receiving $70.05 for lunch with Miller and/or his associates.

Here’s what Yahoo listed for other current college players:

  • USC ‘s Bennie Boatwright and/or his father, Bennie Sr., according to documents, received at least $2,000.
  • USC’s Chimezie Metu and/or adviser, Johnnie Parker, according to documents, received $2,000.
  • Texas’ Eric Davis, according to documents, received $1,500.
  • South Carolina’s Brian Bowen and his family received at least $7,000 in benefits, according to the documents. That is believed to include $1,500 in plane tickets.

The lunch may not seem like a problem, but it’s still a violation of NCAA rules.

“There’s nothing wrong with meeting with an agent,” Atlanta lawyer Stu Brown told Yahoo. “But then it becomes a question of who pays for the meal.”

Yahoo’s report lists Alabama guard Collin Sexton, Duke forward Wendell Carter and Kentucky forward Kevin Knox as having met or dined with Christian Dawkins, one of Miller’s associates. Knox’s father has denied meeting Miller or Dawkins.

The documents in Yahoo’s report also list Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo as having dined with Dawkins.

So what does this mean for Bridges and Michigan State?

While there is no record of Bridges taking any money from an agent, the parent of a college athlete doing so would still be a violation of NCAA rules.

From NCAA rule 16.02.3, which addresses “extra benefits”:

Receipt of a benefit by student-athletes or their family members or friends is not a violation of NCAA legislation if it is demonstrated that the same benefit is generally available to the institution’s students or their family members or friends or to a particular segment of the student body (e.g., international students, minority students) determined on a basis unrelated to athletics ability

That $470.05 would violate that rule, so Michigan State has a couple of options. One would be sitting Bridges until the team has all the facts and knows what punishments, if any, it would face for playing him. That’s what B. David Ridpath, president of the Drake Group, which advocates for academic integrity in college sports, advocated for in an interview with  The Detroit News.

“I think in this case it would be pretty silly for Michigan State not to (sit Bridges) because you’re already looking at the presumptive penalty of at least a couple games, that it’s probably not a bad idea to sit him until this shakes out,”  he said. “But it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if they said, ‘Hey, we don’t know the whole circumstances of this. The NCAA and the conference have to look at it.’ And they might play a delay tactic just to get through the tournament.”

For now, that doesn’t appear to be the direction Michigan State is heading. Izzo said in a statement on Friday:

“While we will cooperate with any and all investigations. We have no reason to believe that I, any member of our staff or student-athlete did anything in violation of NCAA rules.”

Interim athletic director Bill Beekman echoed those remarks:

“MSU is committed to a culture of NCAA compliance,” Beekman said. “We have proactively contacted the NCAA and Big Ten Conference. As Coach Izzo has stated, there is no evidence that he or anyone in his program, including student-athletes, did anything impermissible.”

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Bill Self says Kansas did not use agency at center of corruption investigation for ‘any purpose’

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 3:53 PM

Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self said in a statement on Friday that the team did not use a sports agency for “any purpose” after the school was identified in documents surrounding an FBI probe into corruption within the sport.

At least 20 Division I programs were identified in documents published by Yahoo! Sports on Friday regarding an FBI investigation into potential large scale NCAA violations committed across the sport. The documents revealed numerous players, past and present, listed on balance sheets belonging to ASM Sports — an agency run by former NBA agent Andy Miller.

Former Kansas star Josh Jackson, who played one season with the Jayhawks a year ago before being drafted by the Phoenix Suns, was one of the players identified in the report. The report indicated that Jackson’s mother received a payment of $2,700 in February 2016 — before Jackson committed to Kansas.

Self, in the statement, said the team is “learning of [the allegations] for the first time” and that he knows “for sure that [the team] did not use Miller’s agency for recruiting purposes or any purpose.”

Self has been the coach at Kansas since 2003. He owns a 438-94 overall coaching record with the Jayhawks.

Kansas currently leads the Big 12 with a 11-4 mark in conference play this season. A win on Saturday at Texas Tech would give the Jayhawks at least a share of the Big 12 regular season crown for the 14th consecutive season.

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