Archive | January, 2014

Richard Sherman talks about Derek Mason’s influence in his career

Richard Sherman talks about Derek Mason’s influence in his career

Posted on 31 January 2014 by Allen

New Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason worked with Richard Sherman while he was at Stanford to help him develop into the pro he is now. Mason was the secondary coach at Stanford with Sherman and now that the brash corner has become the focal point of the Super Bowl it is good to hear Mason getting some praise from the guy everyone is talking about.

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UT Ditches Adidas for Nike

UT Ditches Adidas for Nike

Posted on 31 January 2014 by Allen

UTf

The University of Tennessee department of athletics announced today that it has reached an eight-year apparel and sponsorship agreement with NIKE, Inc. to become the official apparel provider for the Tennessee department of athletics. The agreement, beginning July 1, 2015, and continuing through June 30, 2023, will supply all 20 of Tennessee’s athletics programs as well as the UT spirit squads with NIKE apparel and uniforms, footwear and additional equipment for the duration of the agreement.

“We were very thorough and deliberate in assessing and evaluating our options with our apparel partner decision,” said Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics, Dave Hart. “NIKE is the right partner for the University of Tennessee moving forward. We appreciate our current partner and the strong relationship we have had for many years. We will continue to work together through the end of the existing contract.”

Fans will be able to purchase officially licensed Tennessee gear produced by NIKE once the partnership commences in July 2015.

“NIKE is especially proud to resume our association with the University of Tennessee” said Kit Morris, NIKE Sports Marketing Director. “We admire their rich tradition and are enthusiastic to begin working once again with Volunteer student-athletes, coaches, and programs.”

Tennessee has partnered with adidas since 1997 and will continue to work with the brand for the duration of the contract.

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TSU National Signing Day Celebration Set for Wednesday

TSU National Signing Day Celebration Set for Wednesday

Posted on 31 January 2014 by Allen

TSU

The Tennessee State football team will hold its annual Signing Day Celebration on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 5 p.m. in the Indoor Football Facility.

The event coincides with the 24-hour period that high school recruits can agree to commit to a school by faxing a National Letter of Intent.

Video footage of all of the new Tigers will be shown and head coach Rod Reed will provide insight into what each player brings to the program.

TSU’s recruiting class has been rated No.1 among HBCUs by BOXTOROW for two straight years.

TSUTigers.com will have a live updates all day Wednesday here and via our social media pages on Twitter – @TSU_Tigers and Facebook.com/TSU_Tigers.

Admission to Wednesday’s festivities is free open to the public and the media. Light refreshments will be served.

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Josh Williams scores 27 as Lipscomb wins at Jacksonville

Josh Williams scores 27 as Lipscomb wins at Jacksonville

Posted on 31 January 2014 by Allen

Josh Williams Lipscomb

Behind 27 points from freshman guard Josh Williams, the Lipscomb men’s basketball team rolled into Veteran’s Memorial Arena on Thursday night and did something no other Bisons team had done before by notching an 88-76 Atlantic Sun Conference win over homestanding Jacksonville.

“It was great to come in here and get a win in a place where Jacksonville often plays well,” said Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander. “It’s not just tough for Lipscomb to win here, it’s tough for a lot of teams to win here and we did it in what ended up being pretty convincing fashion.”

The reigning A-Sun Newcomer of the Week, Williams went 9-of-14 from the floor including a pair of treys to go with a perfect 7-for-7 evening at the charity stripe to lead all scorers in his second start of the season.

“I think Josh is hoping that if we can get in the Atlantic Sun Tournament that we can draw Jacksonville in the first round with his two games of 27 and 28 points,” said Alexander

The contest got out to a slow pace out of the gate with both teams struggling to get the offensive attacks going. The lead changed hands five times in the first 10 minutes of action including the 10:52 mark when junior forward Martin Smith scored a layup that would put the Bisons (9-12, 4-6 A-Sun) ahead for good.

The Dolphins (8-13, 4-6 A-Sun) pulled within one at the break when Jarvis Haywood drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer but the Bisons used a 10-0 run to open the second half and never looked back. Lipscomb went on to shoot a blistering 78.3 percent in the final 20 minutes of action hitting 18-of-23 from the floor.

Along with Williams’ fourth 20-point game of the season, the Bisons got 17 points from junior forward Malcolm Smith, 15 points from redshirt-freshman guard J.C. Hampton and 13 points from redshirt-junior guard Carter Sanderson off the bench.

Senior guard Khion Sankey also played a large role in the win for Lipscomb just missing a double-double with an eight-point, 10-rebound night. The veteran also added five assists, a steal and a blocked shot.

“We had all kinds of guys make contributions tonight,” said Alexander. “Chad Johnson gave us a lot of minutes that he hasn’t been given the opportunity to give us but he maximized those and made several good defensive plays and took care of the ball on offense.

“Carter gave us a little bit of an offensive punch tonight. Khion was out there playing injured for a long stretch of time and he really battled through that and J.C. was hurt and had to go in and out and in and out but he gave us all that he could.”

For the game, Lipscomb shot a season high 58.2 percent from the floor and 52.2 percent from beyond the arc connecting on 12-of-23 attempts from deep.

Lipscomb lost the rebound battle 36-31 but managed to tie the Dolphins with 17 turnovers on the night. The Bisons also narrowly won the free-throw shooting stat hitting 75 percent (12-of-16) compared to the Dolphins 73.3 percent (22-of-30).

Keith McDougald led all scorers for Jacksonville with 20.

Paired with last Friday night’s win at Northern Kentucky, the victory over Jacksonville marks the first time since 2010 that the Bisons have claimed back-to-back road wins in A-Sun play. The 12-point win is also the largest margin of victory for the Purple and Gold this season.

The Bisons continue road A-Sun action on Saturday night at 6 p.m. taking on North Florida. The contest is set to air on 94.9 Game 2 and http://www.ASun.TV

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UT Martin’s Butler, Bell, and Johnson named as Phil Steele All-Americans

UT Martin’s Butler, Bell, and Johnson named as Phil Steele All-Americans

Posted on 31 January 2014 by Allen

Jeremy Butler UT Martin

The University of Tennessee at Martin football team produced three 2013 Phil Steele All-Americans, as the publication included Jeremy Butler, Tony Bell and Ben Johnson to its exclusive list that was released on Thursday afternoon.

This marks the fifth time Butler has been hailed as an All-American and the fourth All-American accolade for Bell. With this award, Johnson picks up his first All-American recognition. Butler was named to the third team offense, Bell was selected on the third team defense while Johnson tallied fourth team defense honors.

The 6-2, 208-pound Butler ranked amongst the best wide receivers in Football Championship Subdivision ranks last season. The senior out of Bradenton, Fla. had the sixth-most receiving yards (1,203) and the seventh-most receptions (90) in the nation. Both of those totals were new UT Martin records for a single season. Overall, Butler leaves the Skyhawk program as the career leader with eight 100-yard receiving games while ranking second with 20 touchdown catches. He also ranks in UT Martin’s career record book in receptions (141, third) and receiving yards (1,953, fifth) while setting all of these records in just 22 career games.

Bell emerged as one of the most dominant linebackers in the Ohio Valley Conference in 2013. The 6-1, 200-pound junior out of Memphis, Tenn. was tabbed as National Defensive Player of the Week twice while pacing the OVC with 10.5 sacks (seventh nationally) and 15 tackles for loss. He also ranked second in the league in forced fumbles (three), fourth in fumble recoveries (three) and 10th in tackles (80). He was responsible for the most tackles (16 against Murray State), sacks (4.5 against Murray State) and tackles for loss (5.0 at Boise State) in a single game out of any player in the OVC in 2013.

Johnson capped off a remarkable career by leading the OVC in tackles for the second consecutive season. The redshirt senior linebacker out of Primm Springs, Tenn. racked up 102 tackles – paced by five double-digit tackle games. The 6-2, 235-pounder set season-highs with 12 tackles in wins over Central Arkansas and Southeast Missouri while also compiling 12.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, an interception and five passes defended in 2013. Overall, Johnson’s name can be found in seventh place in the UT Martin record books on the career tackles list (330).

Together, these three Skyhawks helped lead UT Martin to a 7-5 overall record in 2013, the fifth winning season in head coach Jason Simpson’s eight-year tenure.

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Lady Bisons fall to FGCU at home 85-67

Lady Bisons fall to FGCU at home 85-67

Posted on 31 January 2014 by Allen

LipscombBisons

Florida Gulf Coast used a barrage of 3-pointers to knock off the home-standing Lady Bisons 85-67 in an Atlantic Sun Conference women’s basketball game Thursday night in Allen Arena.

Lipscomb fell to 3-16 overall and 0-8 in league play, while FGCU improved to 14-6 and 8-0 in league play.
“I thought the effort was great tonight from our team,” Lipscomb coach Greg Brown said. “I thought we did a lot of good stuff. Mentally, I thought we executed very well in the first half. They (FGCU) just do a good job of making you pay when you make mistakes.

“And we didn’t’ capitalize enough in the second half when they made their mistakes. Some of that is experience and some of it is just growth that we have to make. But I do think we have grown a lot over the last couple of weeks. We have to have baby –step growth and I definitely think this was a step in the right direction.”

The Lady Bisons played perhaps their best half of the year in the opening 20 minutes. After having multiple games back-to-back where the opposition jumped out to a quick lead, the Lady Bisons decided it was their turn to have a quick start and that is just what they did.

Three different Lady Bisons got into the scoring column early. The team’s leading scorer, Danay Fothergill, started it off with a crossover and a pull-up jumper from the right elbow.

Fothergill then drove down the lane only to dish it to a wide open Sara Bliss in the left corner for a three to make it 5-0 just over three minutes into the game.

Following a Katie Meador three for FGCU, recently activated Chandler Cooper got her first points of the night on a long bomb from the LU logo to make it 8-3 Lipscomb.

The Eagles got it to within two at 11-9 at the 10:29 mark, but Kelli Smith and Elise Spann hit back-to-back baskets to spark a 7-0 run that saw Lipscomb take an 18-9 advantage just under the seven-minute mark.

Lipscomb led for the first 17:24 of the game and led by as many as 10 points, 22-12 at the 5:05 mark. However, the Lady Bisons never could sustain that separation. Kaneisha Atwater scored 10 straight points and hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give FGCU its first lead at 27-24 with 2:14 left in the first half.

The Eagles used a 17-2 run to close the half and take a 29-24 lead at the break. “Obviously this was our best start of the year,” Brown said. “That is something to carry forward to Stetson and the second half of conference play. We finally had the same lineup in back-to-back games and that consistently will help us moving forward.”

In the second half, the Lady Bisons had no answer for the 3-point shooting of the Eagles. FGCU entered Thursday’s contest with an A-Sun leading 175 made treys. After the Eagles hit only five in the opening half, they found their stroke in the second and torched the nets by making 10-of-21 shots from downtown.

Brown knew coming in his team had to do a good job defending the 3-point line to pull off an upset. “We knew you can’t give them uncontested shots,” Brown said. “There wasn’t really a number we wanted to limit them to, because they have hit a lot of three’s and won, and also not hit a lot and still won.

“The key we were looking for was contesting them. Because when you don’t contest them, they will knock them down. They did a great job of making us pay because we didn’t do as good a job as we could have.”

Just like she did in the first, Fothergill knocked down a jumper to pull the Lady Bisons to within three at 29-26 just 10 seconds into the second half.

But Sarah Hansen and Stephanie Haas scored 11 consecutive points and FGCU used a 13-4 run to extend its lead to 42-30 at 14:40. Moments later FGCU used a 15-3 run to take a 57-36 lead and put the game out of reach.

“We knew we had to knock down some open shots, which we did early on,” Brown said. “But we have to do that more consistently and not have as many breakdowns defensively. But they (FGCU) are good and have girls that can score.”
One thing Brown liked from his squad was the ability to get to the free throw line. In the previous two games, the Lady Bisons only attempted 21 shots from the charity stripe, making 14. Thursday night in front of the home crowd, Lipscomb knocked down 16-of-20 from the line, including 10-of-12 from Fothergill.

“I thought we did a great job of getting to the free throw line tonight,” Brown said. “We knew they were going to pressure and rotate their defense, so we knew we had to make it to the line.”

For the contest, the Lady Bisons hit 21-of-59 shots from the field for 35.6 percent. Lipscomb also hit 9-of-28 shots from 3-point range (32.1 percent). The Eagles knocked down 29-of-64 shots from the field (45.3 percent), 15-of-38 from 3-point land (39.5 percent) and 12-of-18 from the foul line (66.7 percent).

FGCU held a 43-36 rebounding advantage. The Lady Bisons had 14 assists and 13 turnovers, while the Eagles had 21 assists and 13 turnovers.

Fothergill led all scorers with 20 points. She also was credited with five rebounds and a team-high four assists.
After posting 19 at Northern Kentucky last Saturday, Cooper responded with 16 and a career-high seven boards. She also had three assists and three steals.

Brown likes what he has seen from Cooper in her two games since returning from injury.

“Her feet and ankles are still not there,” Brown said. “She really has only had five or six practices since Dec. 20. So continuity will help us a ton moving forward and as we grow.”

Ashley Southern posted her sixth-straight and 15th double-double of the year, by adding a game-high 12 boards to her 15 points.

Bliss added nine points and six rebounds in 35 minutes of play.

FGCU received 18 points and six rebounds from Hansen, while Atwater added 14 and five.

Jenna Cobb was the only other Eagle in double-figures with 12.

Lipscomb continues its two-game home-swing on Saturday when Stetson visits. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. in Allen Arena with the contest being televised on ESPN3.

“Stetson is long and athletic,” Brown said. “They have a great inside presence so we have to continue what we do defensively with positioning. We also have to limit them to only one shot. That sounds simplistic but it’s the truth. We also have to knock down shots.”

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Shawn Jones score 22 as MTSU beats East Carolina

Shawn Jones score 22 as MTSU beats East Carolina

Posted on 31 January 2014 by Allen

Shawn Jones MTSU

The Middle Tennessee men’s basketball team (14-7, 4-2 C-USA) stormed out to a commanding first half lead, which setup an 84-67 victory against East Carolina (11-10, 0-6 C-USA) Thursday night inside the Murphy Center as the Pirated dropped their sixth-straight contest.

The Blue Raiders limited the Pirates attack in the first half to 22 points, marking the second lowest point total for an MT opponent all season. At Cincinnati Dec. 21, MT gave up just 21 points to the Bearcats in the opening frame.

Middle Tennessee was led by senior forward Shawn Jones, who had a game-high 22 points and posted his seventh double-double of the season with 11 rebounds. Jones also totaled all five Middle Tennessee blocks to tie his season-high set at Tulsa Jan. 23. Tweety Knight and Kerry Hammonds II rounded out the double-figure scoring for the Blue Raiders, putting up 14 points and 13 points, respectively. Hammonds dished out a game-best six assists, while Knight handed out four helpers and collected six boards. Jaqawn Raymond and Neiko Hunter each pitched in eight points apiece, while Raymond snagged a career-high seven rebounds.

“I thought we got off to a really good start defensively as a team,” said MT head coach Kermit Davis. “We limited them to 30-percent shooting in the first half. We created a lot of offense through our defense and got in transition really well and that’s when our team is good. In the second half we kind of lost our way. We fouled too much and put them at the line in the second half. They’re a team that can score a lot of points in a lot of different ways and we did a good job against them tonight.”

The Blue Raiders hit the first basket of the game and ECU responded two possessions later with a three from the nation’s leading three-point shooter Akeem Richmond. Hammonds proceeded to hit back-to-back treys and then a jumper to cap off an 8-2 run to give MT an early 10-5 lead.

The two squads swapped points until MT went on a 13-0 run over a span of five minutes. The spurt was sparked by a jumper from Tavarres Jefferson and was capped off by a layup from Knight, putting Middle Tennessee up 27-10 with 7:44 left in the first half.

The Blue Raiders extended their lead to as many as 22 with 2:54 until halftime after Knight converted on an old-fashion three-point play. ECU then rattled off six points, but Raymond ended the Pirate run, hitting a three as the clock wound down and the lights lit the backboard to give MT a 41-22 lead at intermission.

The second half was much like the first for the Blue Raiders, who continued to put the pressure on the Pirates. Jones rattled off 10 points for the Blue Raiders in a three minute period, but somehow ECU managed to chip away at the deficit and cut the MT lead down to 13 points with 7:24 to play and the score at 67-54. However, it proved to be too little too late for the Pirates and MT went on to claim the 84-67 victory.

“Shawn Jones did a great job tonight, but we have to keep him there,” Davis said. “He can’t fall off the upcoming games. He has to keep that level of play for us to play well against good teams. He had 22 points, but I was more impressed with the 11 rebounds. He really protected our goal tonight, blocking five shots and altering some others. And when they made that run to cut it to 13 or 14, he really hit some big shots and had some good finishes late in the game.”

ECU shot 41.4-percent for the game, while the Raiders posted a 52.6 field goal percentage. Richmond entered the game averaging a league-leading 18.8 points per game for ECU and MT limited him to 12 points. Caleb White led East Carolina on the night, recording 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting, while Paris Campbell and Williams added 13 and 12 points, respectively.

MT outscored the Pirates in the paint 46-30 and won the battle of the boards 39-30. The Raider bench bested ECU’s 23-14.

Middle Tennessee is set to host Old Dominion at 5 p.m. Saturday in the Glass House. The game will be televised on MyTV 30.

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McFadden scores 20 but Cumberland falls to St. Catharine College

McFadden scores 20 but Cumberland falls to St. Catharine College

Posted on 31 January 2014 by Allen

Daniel McFadden Cumberland

The Cumberland men’s basketball team played its worst defensive contest of the year, allowing season worsts in both points and shooting percentage, as St. Catharine College shot 54 percent from the field, including 67 percent in the second half in a 99-82 defeat of the Bulldogs here Thursday night at Lourdes Hall.

Five players scored in double-figures for the Patriots (12-7, 6-4 Mid-South) as Taron Franklin notched 19 and Omar Skinner tacked on 18 to lead the way. Junior Daniel McFadden scored a game and career-high 20 points for the Bulldogs, who managed to shoot .500 (26-of-52) in the game.

Cumberland (12-7, 4-6) trailed by as many as 20 points in the opening half, but were able to cut the deficit to 10 at the break.

The Bulldogs crept as close as eight points in the opening minutes of the second half, but a 58-50 deficit quickly turned to a 68-52 Patriot advantage as St. Catharine used a 10-2 run to take control with 10:32 to play.

Over the final five minutes, St. Catharine put on a dunk contest, as Cumberland was unable to control the ball. In the game, the Bulldogs turned the ball over 21 times leading to 22 points for the Patriots.

The 21 turnovers marked the second-highest total for CU. The lone performance worse came on January 2 against the Patriots, as well.

Cumberland opened the contest ice cold from the field as St. Catharine jumped out to a 19-6 advantage at the first media break. The Bulldogs hit just 3-of-8 during the first eight minutes of the game. The Patriots continued to pour on through the six-minute mark, taking a 20-point lead.

The Bulldogs came out of the second media break with a pair of free throws from Lamar Brinkley and followed with eight straight points to cut the deficit to 12 with four minutes left. The Bulldogs seemed unable to bring the game within 10 as the half came to a close.

That changed in the final 15 seconds as McFadden connected on back-to-back layups, separated by a Bulldog steal. After trailing by as many 20, CU would head to the break trailing 46-36. McFadden led the way with nine points, while junior Josh Wilkerson added eight.

The Bulldogs struggled on the glass in the opening frame, losing the battle 25-16. CU also left several points at the charity stripe, hitting just 11-of-24 free throws during the first 20 minutes.

Along with McFadden, four others notch double-figure outputs for the Bulldogs. DeQuan Bond added 13 points and Wilkerson added 12, while Brinkley and Alex Flagler each added 10.

The Bulldogs play Campbellsville Univ. on the road Saturday before returning to the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center next week. Tip-off for Saturday’s game is set for 3 p.m.

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Hilltoppers Rally to Beat UT Arlington for Fourth-Straight Win 77-72

Hilltoppers Rally to Beat UT Arlington for Fourth-Straight Win 77-72

Posted on 31 January 2014 by Allen

WKU

WKU trailed by 15 points midway through the first half before storming back to pick up a 77-72 win over UT Arlington Thursday night at E.A. Diddle Arena, giving the squad its fourth-straight victory and improving its record to 14-7 overall and 6-2 in Sun Belt Conference play. UT Arlington falls to 9-11 and 4-4 with the defeat.

The 15-point comeback was WKU’s largest of the season and largest since overcoming a 16-point deficit to defeat Mississippi Valley State in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. WKU has now won eight games under head coach Ray Harper after trailing by double-digits, and six of those have come against Sun Belt Conference opponents.

T.J. Price led WKU with 21 points, and Chris Harrison-Docks added 17. George Fant had 11 points and six rebounds, and O’Karo Akamune finished with nine points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench. The Mavericks were paced by Lonnie McClanahan’s 28 points. WKU held Reger Dowell, the leading scorer in the conference and the 14th-leading scorer in the nation, to 12 points, his season low.

UT Arlington came out hot to start the game, making nine of its first 12 shots and leading 24-9 at one point after a 15-2 run.

After finding themselves down 35-26 with 3:46 to go in the half, WKU rattled off a 7-2 run to come within four at 35-31 after an Akamune layup. Dowell hit a three-pointer in the final minute of the half to bring the game to its halftime score of 40-33.

WKU shot 46.4 percent in the first half (13-for-28), and Harrison-Docks led all scorers with 15. UT Arlington converted at a 53.8 percent clip (14-for-26) and hit 6-of-11 three-point tries.

At the start of the second half, WKU got within five at 40-35 before UT Arlington rattled off seven-straight points to open up a 47-35 advantage with 4:50 gone by in the half. But WKU responded with seven-straight of its own to once again bring the game to single digits at 47-42. Brandon Harris hit a three after a turnover to make the score 47-45 in favor of the Mavericks.

The game was tied three times in the ensuing minutes, and WKU scored six-straight and took its first lead of the game with less than four minutes remaining in the contest. The Mavericks never re-took the lead in the final two minutes, and WKU earned the victory with free throws down the stretch.

WKU ended the game shooting 45.1 percent as a team (23-for-51). UT Arlington went 25-for-51 from the floor (.490). WKU won the battle of the boards, 36-28, and WKU saw 24 points come from its bench.

UP NEXT

WKU welcomes Texas State to E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday at 7:00 PM (CT). Saturday’s game will be televised by the Hilltopper Sports Satellite Network, airing nationally on ESPN3 and ESPN Full Court and regionally on WKU PBS and WBNA. It will also be broadcast on the radio on the Hilltopper IMG Sports Network, airing locally in Bowling Green on WKLX-FM Sam 100.7, with Randy Lee and Hal Schmitt on the call.

Saturday’s game is a Pink Out for cancer awareness, and the first 500 fans into E.A. Diddle Arena will receive a free pink rally towel. In addition, the Party One Zone for Kids will be open in the upper concourse, as it will be every Saturday home game throughout the season.

Single-game tickets for the 2013-14 season and various multiple-game packages are on sale now. Fans interested in purchasing single-game tickets or multiple-game packages can call the WKU Ticket Office at 1-800-5-BIG RED or 745-5222 locally, or order online at WKUSports.com.

Tickets for the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Tournament are now on sale through the WKU Ticket Office. Each ticket book contains eight tickets. There are a total of eight sessions, with sessions 1-6 including two games each. Session seven featuring the women’s championship game, and session eight is the men’s championship game. Ticket books cost $99.00, and seats are general admission. To purchase tickets please contact the WKU Ticket Office at 1-800-5-BIG RED or 745-5222 locally, or order online at WKUSports.com.

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Recruiting rankings don’t add up to wins, just ask the Vols

Recruiting rankings don’t add up to wins, just ask the Vols

Posted on 30 January 2014 by Allen

halint111712ut

2009 was a banner year for UT recruiting. With the a Top Ten class the sky was the limit for the Vols with Bryce Brown, Marsalis Teague, and Nu’Keese Richardson. In 2010 Tennessee had the 9th best recruiting class in the nation according to Rivals. With Tyler Bray, Justin Hunter, Rajion Neal, and Da’Rick Rogers and Matt Simms the coaching staff in Knoxville was building a contender in the SEC East for years to come. In 2011 UT had the 13th ranked class with Maurice Couch, Antonio Richardson, and Justin Worley coming to Knoxville that was supposed to put them over the top.

Vandy had a horrible run by Tennessee’s standards in 2009 as they were ranked #71 with Zac Stacy, Wesley Tate, and Walker May in their recruiting class. In 2010 Vanderbilt improved to the 61st best recruiting class with Chris Boyd, Chase Garnham, Kenny Ladler, Jordan Rodgers, Carey Spear and some two star receiver named Jordan Matthews coming to West End. The next year the Commodores regressed and were ranked #71 again with Jerron Seymour and Steven Scheu as the most notable guys coming in under Coach Franklin in first class.

When you look at the rankings UT should’ve blown Vanderbilt out the past two years. In 2012 Tennessee had the best players when you look at who got drafted where in the NFL Draft, but egos and guys who didn’t want to be team players didn’t come together and they got blown out in Nashville and it cost their head coach his job. Now the Dores have won the last two and since Vol fans can’t toot their horn about wins or bowl games they have to brag about their recruiting classes.

Butch Jones is trying to get over 30 kids for this year’s class and it looks like he could pull it off as many of the rankings have him with a Top 5 class. When you listen to UT fans talk the cupboards are pretty bare and Jones has to reload to get some talent in Knoxville to be competitive. In 2012 the Vols had the 17th best class and last year Jones’ class was ranked at 21. #17 and #21 are not that bad by Vanderbilt’s standards. But something must not have been right with those rankings for Tennessee to want to basically start over with year’s class.

I know Vanderbilt fans are still feeling the loss of James Franklin’s departure and the recruits he took with him. The Dore’s class went from Top 25 to back in the 80′s or 90′s to some recruiting rankings but all is not lost. Vanderbilt redshirted a lot of kids last year. 4 star QB Johnathon McCrary was redshirted and some say he is much better than Patton Robinette. Derek Mason’s first recruiting class isn’t going to be what fans in Nashville had grown accustomed to under Franklin but he can still bring in some guys and fill their needs. And if he doesn’t get them this year he has more scholarships to offer next year. The same can’t be said for Butch Jones, who is shooting his wad this year. Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman told reporters this week at the Super Bowl press conference that he credits Derek Mason with teaching him, a meager 3 star cornerback coming out of high school how to play the game. So maybe, just maybe the Dores will be ok with what they have.

It is a sting to Commodore’s pride to lose the commits they had but it’s just a bump in the road as long as the new coaching staff can coach up the new recruits and get everyone on the same page. Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley showed that just because you have 4 and 5 star recruits at every position doesn’t mean you are going to dominate each Saturday. Current UT coach Butch Jones didn’t do much with his 4 and 5 star recruits he inherited last year either. But James Franklin showed how to win with two and three stars and the guys on West End know it can be done. Sure it’s nice to have a bunch of kids that a lot of schools wanted but in the end if they can’t win together what’s the use?

I guess we’ll see how it shakes out in a few years but right now it looks like the stars beside the kids names don’t always equate to points on the scoreboard and Ws in the win column.

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Cumberland Women beat St. Catharine 74-61

Cumberland Women beat St. Catharine 74-61

Posted on 30 January 2014 by Allen

Tasis Blue

Casie Cowan poured in 26 points and Katie Smith added 19 points and nine boards, as Cumberland used a 19-4 run late in the first half to take the lead and finished on a 12-4 spurt, defeating St. Catharine College, 74-61, in women’s basketball action here Thursday night at Lourdes Hall.

Tasia Blue netted 12 points, including eight straight in the second half, and TaCouya Allen posted 12 points and eight boards, with six of the final 12 points of the game for the Bulldogs (9-9, 5-5 Mid-South).

Cumberland led 34-31 at the break and put together a 16-3 run early in the second half, with Cowan knocking down a pair of 3-pointers to cap the stretch for a 54-41 advantage. The Patriots answered with six straight points, including an old-fashioned 3-point play from Machera Calhoun, cutting the CU lead to seven with 10:27 remaining.

Blue took over for the next three-plus minutes, hitting a driving layup, a long 2-pointer and a putback before another layup, but Stacie Shrout nailed her second 3-pointer of the game, making it a five-point game at the final media timeout at 5:55.

St. Catharine did not score for the next four-plus minutes and Allen finally found her game, making three straight buckets and assisting on Smith’s layup for a 70-57 lead with 3:11 to play. Cowan finished on the fast break and added another field goal in the final two minutes. She finished 11-for-19 from the field overall and 3-of-6 from behind the arc.

Smith, Allen and Blue each hit six field goals, combining to make 18-of-35 attempts.

Sasha Ruiz-Lopez led the Patriots (3-13, 1-9) with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Rianne Hofstraat posted 10 points and seven boards. Carol Ruiz-Lopez netted 11 points, but 10 came in the first half. SCC started the game 8-of-18 from the field but made just 13-of-45 over the final 30 minutes of the contest.

The Patriots started quickly, hitting eight of their first 18 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers from Carol Sasha-Ruiz. Shrout’s trifecta at the 9:53 mark of the opening half gave the home team a 23-9 advantage, as CU was only 4-for-12 from the field with five turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game.

But the Bulldogs put together a 19-4 spurt over the next seven minutes, starting with a field goal from Smith before a pair of buckets by Cowan and an old-fashioned 3-point play from Smith. She added four free throws before Cowan’s steal and layup at the 2:33 mark put CU ahead, 28-27, the club’s first lead since the opening field goal of the game, also by Cowan.

Terra Pryor knocked down a 3-pointer, Cowan added her only trifecta of the half and Cumberland took a 34-31 advantage to intermission, outscoring the Patriots 25-8 in the final 10 minutes of the period.

Cowan led all scorers with 14 points and Smith added 13 for CU in the half, combining for 80 percent of the club’s output. St. Catharine hit only four of its final 17 shots in the period after the hot start and also committed nine turnovers in the last 10 minutes.

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Big Second Half Fuels TSU Past TTU, 81-68

Big Second Half Fuels TSU Past TTU, 81-68

Posted on 30 January 2014 by Allen

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The Tennessee State men’s basketball team outscored Tennessee Tech 45-32 during the second half allowing the Tigers to record their first road victory of the season on Thursday night, 81-68.

TSU (3-22, 2-8 OVC) was paced by Patrick Miller who scored 27 points on 5-of-10 shooting and dished out five assists. The game marks the 22nd time that the senior has led the Tigers in points.

Juniors M.J. Rhett and Jay Harris finished in double-figures as well, pouring in 20 and 11 points, respectively. Rhett also secured a team-high eight rebounds.

Tennessee Tech (10-13, 3-5 OVC) jumped out to an early 7-2 lead during the opening three minutes. Rhett recorded TSU’s first points after a two-handed dunk, but TTU responded with five straight.

The Tigers cut the lead to just one at 14-13 when Chaed Wellian nailed a corner three-pointer off of a nice pass from Jaleel Queary at the 10:17 mark.

Tech later used an 11-2 run to stretch its lead to 30-20 with just over five minutes to go before halftime. TTU scored on five straight possessions, two of which ended in slam dunks.

Miller tied the game at 36 when he nailed his fourth three of the half and the teams played the last 48 seconds all square.

TSU did most of its damage from outside in the opening stanza and was 5-of-10 from behind the arc. TTU meanwhile, dominated the low-post, outscoring the Tigers in the paint, 22-8.

As has been a recurring theme this season, TSU was a completely different team during the second period.

Rhett broke the tie with five-straight points that included a strong dunk over a pair of TTU defenders. His baskets were part of a 14-0 Tiger run that put TSU in front, 50-38.

The Tigers’ defense did not allow a field goal for the first 6:40 of the second half.

With 11 minutes left in the game, Miller put TSU up by 17 at 59-42 with a highlight-reel, one-handed breakaway slam.

The Golden Eagles later picked up their 10th foul with 9:14 left in the game, putting the Tigers in the double-bonus for the remainder of the game.

TSU maintained a big advantage for the remainder of the contest, but TTU got within 10 when Dwan Caldwell hit a pair of free throws at the 1:51 mark.

The Tigers were solid down the stretch and would not allow the Golden Eagles to get within single digits. TSU canned 5-of-6 free throws in the final two minutes, and earned an 81-68 win.

Tennessee State shot 55.6 percent during the second half (10-of-18) and held Tech to an 11-for-29 line (37.9 percent).

The Tigers will take a week off to relish the victory before returning to action at home against Austin Peay on Feb.6. Tip-off for that contest is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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UT Martin falls to Eastern KY 89-66 on the road

UT Martin falls to Eastern KY 89-66 on the road

Posted on 30 January 2014 by Allen

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The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team fell 89-66 to Eastern Kentucky in Ohio Valley Conference action at McBrayer Arena this evening.

UT Martin (7-17, 2-7 OVC) matched the Colonels for the majority of the first half until Eastern Kentucky closed out the half on an 11-1 run. The Skyhawks would not get within single-digits the rest of the way.

Myles Taylor led the Skyhawks with 17 points (on 5-of-6 shooting) and five rebounds tonight, while Dee Oldham tied a career-high with 16 points for the second straight contest. Marshun Newell added nine points with a game-high six assists for UT Martin.

Eastern Kentucky (15-7, 6-3 OVC) was led by Marcus Lewis’ 19 points while Glenn Cosey tallied 18 points. Eric Stutz (14 points), Tarius Johnson (12) and Orlando Williams (10) also reached double-figures for the Colonels, who shot a season-best 64 percent (32-for-50) for the game.

“We were getting some good looks at the rim but we missed six free throws in the first half and that was big,” UT Martin head coach Jason James said. “At the end of the half, Eastern Kentucky turned up the heat a little bit and we lost our composure. We were a step behind the play and you can’t do that against guards who are that quick and strong.”

The Skyhawks started the game off strong, hitting three of their first four shots on the way to a 9-8 lead with just under 17 minutes to play in the first half. A steal and fast break layup by Oldham at the 12:55 mark extended the Skyhawk lead out to three points at 15-12.

Over the next 5:26, Eastern Kentucky would go on a 16-3 run to go on top by double-figures (28-18) with 7:29 remaining in the first half. UT Martin came right back with an 8-0 run, as a pair of Taylor free throws sliced the Skyhawk deficit to 28-26 at the 5:20 mark.

After Cosey hit a long three-pointer on the Colonels’ next possession, Taylor answered right back with an old-fashioned three-point play to keep the margin at two (31-29) with 3:18 left to play before the halftime break.

However, Eastern Kentucky would close out the first half on the aforementioned run and take a 42-30 advantage at the end of the first half.

Taylor’s 11 points led all scorers at the half, while Stutz led the Colonels with 10 points.

Early buckets by Oldham and Taylor in the second half kept the Skyhawks’ margin at 12 points but a Cosey three-pointer at the 17:26 mark pushed Eastern Kentucky’s lead out to 51-34.

Two more free throws by Taylor with 14:09 remaining made the score 56-43 but the Colonels came back with a 13-2 run to go ahead 69-45 midway through the second half. The closest UT Martin would get was 21 points the rest of the way.

The Skyhawks will now have a full week off from official competition before they travel to Eastern Illinois on Thursday, Feb. 6. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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Rowe garners Capital One Academic All-District accolades

Rowe garners Capital One Academic All-District accolades

Posted on 30 January 2014 by Allen

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Middle Tennessee’s Ebony Rowe earned first team Capital One Academic All-District® honors as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) on Thursday.

The Lexington, Ky., native boasts a 3.74 GPA as a Physics major and garnered a spot on the six-person District 3 team, which comprises athletes representing institutions in North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia . Her minors include Engineering and Business Administration. Rowe has aspirations to attend graduate school and plans to pursue a career in professional engineering.

Rowe became Middle Tennessee’s all-time leading scorer on Jan. 25 with her 17 points against Old Dominion. The senior forward has amassed 2,158 points in her career and holds eight other school records. Currently, Rowe ranks third nationally with 17 double-doubles and is also in the Top 20 in points and rebounds average. The Academic All-District honor is the first in Rowe’s career.

The 2013-14 Capital One Academic All-District® Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams, selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America, recognize the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. Capital One has been the entitlement rights holder to CoSIDA’s Academic All-America teams programs since 2011.

First-team Academic All-District® honorees advance to the Capital One Academic All-America® Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America honorees will be selected later this month.

The 25th ranked Blue Raiders return to action Saturday at Tulsa in a 12:30 p.m. tilt.

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Scores

Temple 37 Vanderbilt 7 F
Alabama 33 West Virginia 23 F
Arkansas 21 Auburn 45 F
LSU 28 Wisconsin 24

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