Archive | December, 2014

Jones named OVC Player of the Week

Jones named OVC Player of the Week

Posted on 30 December 2014 by Allen

UT-Martin-Power-Rankings

University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball sophomore forward Ashia Jones was named adidas Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Week for the second time in the past three weeks after her standout performance against Arizona on Monday evening.

Hailing from Covington, Tenn., Jones notched her 10th career game with 20 points or more and fourth of the season with a game high 25 points against Arizona. The league’s most efficient shooter just a year ago continues to shoot at a high clipping, knocking down 9-of-15 shots from the field while pulling down eight rebounds against the PAC-12 foe. She capped off her performance with three steals on the night.

Overall, her 25 point performance ranked as the 28th contest in which she has scored in double figures in the past 30 outings. In just her past four games along, the sophomore has averaged 25.5 points per game heading into conference play this weekend. This notches Jones’ third career OVC Player of the Week honor – including two this season in the past three weeks.

Jones and the Skyhawks will return to action on Saturday, Jan. 3 when they open OVC play and their title defense at Belmont in a rematch of last season’s OVC Tournament title game. UT Martin has posted a 63-21 record in conference play under head coach Kevin McMillan, good for a .750 winning percentage in the past five seasons.

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Colonels win at Coppin State 66-63

Colonels win at Coppin State 66-63

Posted on 30 December 2014 by Allen

eku

Playing in his hometown, junior Denzel Richardson hit a three-pointer with 0.3 seconds left to give the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team a 66-63 victory over Coppin State University in Baltimore.

The Colonels (7-5) had a three-point lead in the final 30 seconds before Dallas Gary scored a bucket in the lane and was fouled. His ensuing free throw tied it 63-63 with 26.3 seconds left. As the clock ticked down, EKU’s Corey Walden had the ball under the basket but couldn’t get off a clean shot. Instead, he found Richardson in the right corner for the game winner.

Walden tied his career-best with a game-high 33 points. He also had five steals, four rebounds and four assists. He made 13-of-16 from the field, including 3-of-4 from three-point range.

Richardson’s big shot was only his second field goal of the game. He finished with five points and a team-high seven rebounds.

The Colonels never trailed after back-to-back three-pointers by Walden and Timmy Knipp turned a 55-53 deficit into a 59-55 lead with 4:48 left in the game. Two free throws by Ja’Mill Powell with 36.4 seconds remaining appeared to give EKU a secure lead, but Gary tied it on the Eagles next possession.

The Colonels shot 42 percent from the field and committed 11 fewer turnovers. However, CSU shot 50 percent from the field and made 60 percent of its three-pointers, going 12-of-20 from deep.

Eastern’s 26 percent shooting (7-of-27) from three-point range limited the impact of 26 Coppin State turnovers. The Colonels held just a 16-11 advantage in points off turnovers.

Taariq Cephas made 5-of-6 from long range to lead CSU with 17 points. Christian Kessee had four three-pointers and 13 points.

The Eagles hit five of their first six three-point attempts to take a 17-7 lead just over five minutes into the game. Coppin State (1-13) was held to 11 points the rest of the half.

The Colonels answered with a 10-0 run of their own, holding the home team scoreless for almost four minutes. Eric Stutz got it started with a free throw and then Walden scored nine straight. The final three points came off a Walden three pointer that bounced straight up off the rim and then fell through to tie the game 17-17 with 11:49 on the clock.

Coppin State’s last points of the first half came with 4:22 left to play. EKU scored the final five, including an old-fashioned three-point play by Walden with 3.5 seconds remaining, to take a 31-28 lead at the break.

Nine of Eastern’s 11 field goals in the first half were lay-ups as the Colonels made 9-of-12 from inside the arc. EKU was 2-of-15 from behind the three-point line. CSU made 6-of-8 from outside the arc.

The Colonels will play at home on Saturday. EKU will face South Carolina State in its final regular season non-conference game. Tip-off at McBrayer Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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Amadi picks LSU

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Amadi picks LSU

Posted on 30 December 2014 by Allen

LSU1

Four star Overton defensive back Ugo Amadi has committed to play at LSU. Amadi had originally picked Ole Miss but changed his mind earlier this month. The speedy DB and kick returner’s timing is a little ironic considering that the Tiger’s defensive coordinator John Chavis is leaving for Texas A&M.

After Amadi decommitted from Ole Miss it was thought that he would stay in state and go to Tennessee where Butch Jones was heavily recruiting him. He even tweeted last weekend that he had narrowed his choices between the Tigers and Vols. But after giving it some thought the Amadi will enroll at LSU. He has already graduated and can enroll late next month.

Amadi had two interceptions, five pass breakups and 25 tackles in 2014 for the Bobcats.

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Nick Saban doesn’t want to coach the Jets

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Nick Saban doesn’t want to coach the Jets

Posted on 30 December 2014 by Allen

Bama

Nick Saban is arguably the best coach in college football. It’s almost a given that when big time college jobs or NFL coaching positions come open his name comes up. Last season it was the University of Texas that had all the buzz, this year it’s the Jets and 49ers in the NFL.

Today Saban was asked about coaching again in the NFL and he pretty much shot it down.

“Let’s start with the fact that I’m not really interested in any situation in the NFL. Rex Ryan is a great friend of mine, who I have a tremendous amount of respect for. We’re hopeful that he gets an opportunity that’s helpful to him, in terms of what he wants to do. We have a tremendous amount of respect for the New York Jets.

“As I’ve talked about before, I think sometimes you’ve got to pick what you want your legacy to be. Where do you get the most positive self-gratification from, what you want to be and where you think you have the best impact on people. We’re extremely happy with being a college coach and what we’ve been able to do as a college coach and the challenges we have in trying to continue to do it.”

Alabama has a big game Thursday against Ohio State and if they should win they will play Florida State or Oregon for the National Championship. If Saban is going to jump ship to the NFL it will be later in the month after the playoffs are over. But from the looks of things he is staying in Tuscaloosa.

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Jones named C-USA Player of the Week

Jones named C-USA Player of the Week

Posted on 30 December 2014 by Allen

MTSU2

- Middle Tennessee sophomore Olivia Jones has been named the C-USA Player of the Week for the second time this month following a stellar performance in the Blue Raiders’ 98-76 win at Tennessee Tech Sunday.

Jones produced her C-USA leading fifth double-double of the season with 30 points and 12 rebounds. She added two assists and one steal. Jones was efficient in turning in her second 30-plus point game of the season, shooting 65 percent (11-of-17) from the field.

The hometown standout established a career-high with five 3-pointers and shot 56 percent (5-of-9) from beyond the arc.

“We were running our offense well and getting some open looks and high percentage shots,” Jones said. “It was a team win. Everyone played well.”

The Blue Raiders led by eight, 40-32, at the intermission but Jones shot Tennessee Tech out of the game in the second half when she was 6-of-8 from the field, including an eye-popping 4-of-5 from 3-point range.

Jones ranks in the top five of seven statistical categories in C-USA. She leads the conference in scoring with 19.4 points per game.

Middle Tennessee begins C-USA play at UAB Sunday.
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Lipscomb falls at UTC

Lipscomb falls at UTC

Posted on 30 December 2014 by Allen

LipscombBisons

Unable to overcome a season-high 24 turnovers, the Lipscomb men’s basketball team dropped a 78-60 decision to Chattanooga on Monday night at McKenzie Arena.

“I have to give Chattanooga a lot of credit,” said Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander. “They play hard and they speed you up but I will readily take the blame. 15 or 20 of those turnovers were our inability to pass and catch. For a college basketball team, that shouldn’t be a problem.”

The game was close until the middle portion of the second half when the Bisons allowed the Mocs to go on a 14-0 run to turn a 56-51 game into a 19-point deficit for the Purple and Gold.

The Bisons were led in scoring by senior forward Malcolm Smith, who finished the game with 14 points. Sophomore guards Josh Williams and J.C. Hampton each finished in double figures as well with 12 and 10, respectively. Hampton was 4-for-4 from the field including draining a pair of three’s.

“It was great to see J.C. knock down a few and being more of the guy that we are used to seeing,” said Alexander. “Quite honestly, he’s going to help us if he can score but I just want him to play with confidence and be a guy that’s running the show. Tonight he did both which was good to see.”

UTC’s Greg Pryor led all scorers with a 19-point night behind a quartet of 3-pointers.

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TCU rips TSU 60-40

TCU rips TSU 60-40

Posted on 30 December 2014 by Allen

TSU

The Tennessee State University men’s basketball team fell to Texas Christian University on Monday night SCORE at the University Rec Center.

The Tigers (2-12) battled with the Horned Frogs (13-0) for much of the second half but fell victim to a five minute scoring drought, ultimately meaning that TCU would stay unbeaten.

Jay Harris led TSU with 10 points (4-for-8) on the night. He also recorded his first block of the season. The senior has had one block in each season of his career.

Kyan Anderson led all scorers with 16 points, shooting 4-of-14 from the floor and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.

The Tigers burst out of the gates with an 8-7 lead over the Horned Frogs by the time the first media timeout came around. They had three blocks and six defensive boards in those first six-plus minutes.

TCU then flipped the script and outscored TSU 26-11 the rest of the half. Heading into the locker room, the Horned Frogs had staked their claim on the boards with 22 rebounds compared to 12 for the Tigers.

TSU was 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) from the free-throw line, through the first 20 minutes, giving them an advantage in that area. They struggled from beyond the arc, though, going just 2-for-7 (28.6 percent).

The Tigers pulled within eight points thanks to a 12-6 run beginning the second half. The bench erupted when Darreon Reddick sliced through the defense and knocked down a layup while drawing a foul. His free-throw brought TSU to as close as they would get the rest of the way.

TCU countered the TSU resurgence with a 13-0 run between the second and third media timeouts. The Tigers stared at a 52-34 deficit with 5:42 to play. The Tigers were held to six points in the final 10 minutes of play by the Horned Frogs.

It is the 11th straight loss for TSU.

The Tigers will end their non-conference schedule at home on New Year’s Eve against Kennesaw State. Game time is slated for 2:00 p.m. at Gentry Center.

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Six Toppers finish Season on NFL Rosters

Six Toppers finish Season on NFL Rosters

Posted on 30 December 2014 by Allen

WKU

Seven former Hilltopper Football players represented WKU in the NFL during the 2014 season, a program record that included six of the seven being on active 53-man rosters.

WKU’s emergence as a consistent winner at the FBS level has resulted in the production of professional players that have succeeded early in their NFL careers over the past three seasons. The 2014 season proved to be the most collectively successful for former Hilltoppers in the NFL as the six active players combined to play in 70 games, score four touchdowns and make 26 tackles.

Three former players, Jack Doyle and Andrew Jackson of the Indianapolis Colts along with Quanterus Smith of the Denver Broncos, aided their teams to division titles and postseason berths.

Former All-American running back Bobby Rainey rushed for over 400 yards and tacked on more than 300 receiving yards while scoring a pair of touchdowns for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during his third season in the NFL. The versatile back has scored eight touchdowns for the Bucs over the past two seasons and is tied with Jeremi Johnson (Cincinnati Bengals 2003-09) for the most NFL touchdowns scored by a former Hilltopper.

Doyle, a 2012 John Mackey Award semifinalist for WKU, played in every game for the Colts’ top-ranked passing offense and hauled in a career-best 18 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns. He scored his first-career touchdown on Monday Night Football versus the Philadelphia Eagles and added another score in a Week 17 win at Tennessee. Doyle’s touchdown catch against the Titans gave quarterback Andrew Luck his league-leading 40th scoring toss of the year. He consistently lined up at fullback and was also a major special teams contributor, which led to high praise from head coach Chuck Pagano.

“He’s doing a great job. Jack, he’s a warrior man,” Pagano told the media on Sept. 25. “Whatever you ask Jack to do, he’s going to go out and get the job done. I love Jack Doyle, that whole locker room loves Jack Doyle. You can’t have enough Jack Doyle’s around.”

Jackson, a three-time All-Conference linebacker for the Hilltoppers who was selected by the Colts in the sixth round of the NFL Draft, was a major special teams contributor for Indianapolis this season and made a career high five tackles and recorded his first-career sack in the regular-season finale at Tennessee. He totaled 10 tackles and a sack during his rookie season, where he was active for 13 games.

Smith was drafted in the fifth round of the 2013 draft after leading the FBS in sacks as a senior for the Tops but missed his rookie season due to injury. He bounced back nicely in his second season, making 11 tackles and breaking up two passes as a reserve for Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Ware. He’s a consistent presence in Denver’s defensive line rotation and helped the Broncos tie for the best record in the AFC (12-4).

Two-time All-American running back Antonio Andrews was activated late in his rookie season by the Tennessee Titans and saw action primarily on the kick return team. He played significant snaps at running back in the Titans’ regular-season finale versus the Colts and hauled in his first two career catches for 11 yards.

Jonathan Dowling, who led the FBS in forced fumbles in 2013 and was a two-time All-Conference safety for WKU, played in seven games for the Oakland Raiders as a rookie. He was used primarily as a gunner on special teams and made four tackles before being placed on injured reserve on Dec. 6. Dowling was drafted by Oakland in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Former Hilltopper defensive back Derrius Brooks spent the first half of the season on the Buccaneers practice squad before landing on injured reserve with a leg injury of Oct. 27.

Doyle and Jackson kick off postseason action for the pro Hilltoppers this Sunday when the Colts host the Bengals on Sunday at 12 p.m. (CT) on CBS. Smith and his Broncos have a first-round bye and will host a divisional game on Jan. 11 at 3:40 p.m.

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Aggies roll in Liberty Bowl win over West Virginia

Aggies roll in Liberty Bowl win over West Virginia

Posted on 30 December 2014 by Allen

APTOPIX Florida Texas A M Football

Texas A&M relied on big performances from freshmen all season, and the Aggies’ bowl game was no different.

Kyle Allen threw for four touchdowns and ran for a fifth Monday, and Texas A&M erased an early 10-point deficit to defeat West Virginia 45-37 in the Liberty Bowl.

Allen, a true freshman making his fifth career start, went 22 of 35 for 294 yards to make up for an early interception that KJ Dillon returned for a touchdown. The Aggies’ season leaders in sacks (Myles Garrett), all-purpose yards (Speedy Noil) and interceptions (Armani Watts) also were true freshmen.

”Next year we’re going to be a much more experienced team, and we’re going to work hard in the offseason because we know what’s at stake and how our work ethic this year didn’t produce the record we want,” Allen said. ”It’s going to be great for us, winning this game, for confidence.”

Malcome Kennedy caught two of Allen’s touchdown passes, and Tra Carson rushed for a career-high 133 yards on 25 carries. Allen’s 14-yard rushing touchdown in the final minute of the first half put the Aggies (8-5) ahead for good.

Texas A&M has won bowl games in four straight seasons for the first time in school history. The Aggies won the Chick-fil-A Bowl last year, the Cotton Bowl two seasons ago and the Texas Bowl in 2011.

”That’s something that nobody can ever take from them and puts (the seniors) in a separate class by themselves,” coach Kevin Sumlin said.

West Virginia’s Skyler Howard went 20 of 45 for 346 yards and three touchdowns while making his second career start in place of Clint Trickett, who announced Friday he was giving up football because of multiple concussions.

Kevin White had seven catches for 129 yards and a touchdown for West Virginia (7-6). Josh Lambert made all three of his field-goal attempts.

”Too many stalled drives,” coach Dana Holgorsen said. ”When you play a game that you’re going to have to score 46 points to win it, you can’t settle for that many field goals. … I thought we moved the ball well. We just didn’t score enough points.”

The game lived up to its billing as a shootout between two fast-paced offenses that had scored over 30 points per game while allowing more than 25 this season. This wound up as the second-highest scoring day in the Liberty Bowl’s 56-game history, trailing only Louisville’s 44-40 victory over Boise State in 2004.

The first quarter alone featured 34 combined points, with West Virginia leading 20-14.

Texas A&M outlasted West Virginia by outrushing the Mountaineers 235-126 and holding West Virginia below 4 yards per carry. The Aggies had allowed 5.1 yards per rush this season.

Perhaps the biggest play of the game came in the first quarter.

Texas A&M trailed 17-7 when it went for it on fourth-and-5 from the West Virginia 40. The move paid off when Allen found running back Trey Williams for a touchdown.

”That’s a play we had put in this week specifically for that blitz they were bringing us,” Allen said. ”They brought everyone and they left four people to cover the receivers, but we knew they wouldn’t cover the running backs.”

Texas A&M pulled ahead 21-20 early in the second quarter on Allen’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Kennedy. Just 39 seconds later, West Virginia went back in front 27-21 on Howard’s 49-yard TD throw to White.

Texas A&M took over from there.

The Aggies got a 28-27 lead with 53 seconds left in the half as Allen went to his right and saw a defender converging, then headed to his left and ran down the sideline for a touchdown. Texas A&M scored 17 points on its first three series of the third quarter to pad its advantage to 45-30.

West Virginia cut the deficit to 45-37 on Howard’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Wellman with 2:32 remaining, but the Mountaineers’ offense wouldn’t touch the ball again.

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Mason hires Ludwig and McGriff to run offense and defense

Mason hires Ludwig and McGriff to run offense and defense

Posted on 29 December 2014 by Allen

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Derek Mason promised changes were coming after a disappointing 3-9 2014 campaign. He lived up to that promise as he fired Karl Dorrell, his offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator David Kotulski after just one season. Now Mason has hired Andy Ludwig to run the offense and Wes McGriff to run the defense.

Ludwig was the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin but with a shakeup at head coach he landed at Vanderbilt. Ludwig has been the OC at Oregon, Utah, Cal, and San Diego State in addition to the last three years with the Badgers. At Utah his team beat Alabama in a huge upset in the 2009 Sugar Bowl.

McGriff is a familiar name to Vandy fans. He was the defensive backs coach and was a big part of recruiting at Vanderbilt in 2011 under James Franklin. McGriff left the Dores to for Ole Miss but has served in New Orleans as an assistant coach for the Saints the past two seasons. Under his tutelage Andre Hal, Kenny Ladler, Trey Wilson, and Casey Hayward emerged as stars in the secondary. Hayward, Ladler, and Hal are now in the NFL.

It will be interesting to see if this helps in recruiting. McGriff and Ludwig are respected around the country and Vandy needs a shot in the arm after going winless in the SEC last year.

James Dobson was announced as the new strength and conditioning coach last week. He held the same position at Nebraska before a head coaching change allowed him to come to West End.

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Belmont falls at Butler

Belmont falls at Butler

Posted on 29 December 2014 by Allen

belmont-bruins

Despite stretches of some of its finest play of the season, Belmont University men’s basketball dropped a 67-56 at Butler Sunday night.

The Bruins, playing at Hinkle Fieldhouse for the first time in 15 years, saw a familiar face in Butler interim head coach Chris Holtmann. The respected coach faced Belmont 13 times from 2002-08 during his time as an assistant coach at Gardner-Webb.

The matchup also featured two of the nation’s most successive programs on the court and in the classroom.

Butler, ranked as high as No. 15 nationally earlier this season, entered play having allowed only one opponent to eclipse 70 points or six three-point field goals in a game (Indiana).

Butler got off to an 8-3 lead on a three-pointer from Kellen Dunham and one Roosevelt Jones free throw

But after missing three of their first four shots, the Bruins quickly worked into an offensive rhythm, unleashing exquisite, unselfish play.

Consecutive three-pointers from freshman Amanze Egekeze (Lake in the Hills, Ill.) and sophomore Taylor Barnette (Lexington, Ky.) gave Belmont a 9-8 lead four minutes in.

The lead swelled to 17-10, as junior Craig Bradshaw (Ridgetop, Tenn.) delivered consecutive three-point plays followed by a gorgeous hit-ahead assist to sophomore Nick Smith (Bentonville, Ark.).

Belmont continued the momentum, parlaying defensive stops into clean looks offensively.

Three-pointers from sophomore Caleb Chowbay (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) and senior Spencer Turner (Bloomington, Ind.) increased the Belmont lead to 25-14 midway through the first half.

As murmurs grew in historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, the Bruins maintained their poise and purpose.

However, Butler trimmed into the margin on the offensive glass, getting within 29-26 on baskets from Kameron Woods and Dunham.

After sophomore Evan Bradds (Jamestown, Ohio) stabilized the Bruins with a baseline drive, Andrew Chrabascz capped a 6-0 Bulldog run to give the hosts a 32-31 lead with 4:29 left in the half.

Belmont responded with a conventional three-point play from senior Reece Chamberlain (Goodlettsville, Tenn.) and a Barnette driving layin, but a deep Dunham three-pointer gave Butler a 39-38 lead at the half.

Belmont shot 54 percent (14-for-26) from the field in the opening 20 minutes – including 6-for-13 from three-point distance. It was a dazzling display of passing and execution, with nine different Bruins scoring in the first half.

But one category kept Belmont from enjoying a nice halftime lead: second chance points: Butler held a 14-0 edge in second chance points, negating largely quality Bruin defense.

A baseline slam from Bradds and a Smith three-pointer gave Belmont a 43-42 lead with 17:12 remaining.

But following the media timeout, consecutive three-pointers from Dunham and Alex Barlow pushed Butler to a 49-43 lead with 15:08 left.

Bradshaw answered with a corner three-pointer off a baseline out-of-bounds play, but the Bruins would then endure an eight-minute scoring drought.

Butler labored during this stretch as well, but following two missed free throws from Bradds, Tyler Wideman made a fadeaway jumpshot late in the shot clock to give the Bulldogs a 54-46 lead with 8:34 to go.

A Wideman tip-in and one Jones free throw increased Butler’s lead to 57-46 with 6:26 remaining.

In need of a spark, Barnette buried a deep three-pointer to end the dry spell. Bradds then answered with an interior basket to get the Bruins within 57-51 with 4:52 left.

After three Butler free throws, Smith ripped the nets from behind the arc to make the score 60-54 with 3:31 to go.

But after Butler got a reprieve by regaining possession on the arrow after the basketball got stuck between the backboard and the rim, Chrabascz scored inside to push the margin back to eight.

A Chamberlain layin and a defensive stop gave Belmont life with under two minutes remaining, but a promising set play for Bradshaw went by the boards as his layup attempt to cut the margin to four dipped out with 1:44 left.

A Jones layin late in the clock on the subsequent possession all but secured the outcome.

All told, Belmont shot 40 percent (21-for-52) from the field – including 10-for-26 from three-point distance. After the clinical start, the Bruins went cold, going 7-for-26 in the second half.

Bradshaw led Belmont with 11 points, six rebounds and five assists. Bradds had 10 points.

Jones led Butler (10-3) with 20 points.

Belmont (8-5) returns to game action Thursday, Jan. 1 versus Southeast Missouri. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. CT from the Curb Event Center.

The game will be broadcast live on the OVC Digital Network. The live play-by-play of Voice of the Bruins Kevin Ingram can be heard on the Bruin Sports Network.

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Joseph named OVC Newcomer of the Week

Joseph named OVC Newcomer of the Week

Posted on 29 December 2014 by Allen

utm

The Ohio Valley Conference announced today that Arkeem Joseph, a 6-9, 280-pound junior center on the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team, earned adidas OVC Newcomer of the Week accolades.

This marks the second straight week that a Skyhawk has been the recipient of the OVC’s Newcomer of the Week honors, as Deville Smith captured the award last week as well as Player of the Week accolades. Today’s announcement also marks just the fourth time in program history that two different UT Martin players won the OVC Newcomer of the Week accolade in back-to-back weeks and first time since Djero Riedewald and Lester Hudson were honored on Feb. 11 and Feb. 18, 2008, respectively.

Joseph is coming off the best game of his young Skyhawk career, as he established new career-highs in points (12), rebounds (seven) and minutes played (32) at Butler on Dec. 22. He sank five of his eight field goal attempts and also added a pair of free throws while blocking a shot for UT Martin. Four of his rebounds came on the offensive glass against the Big East opponent.

A transfer out of Monroe College, Joseph has started in six games this season, including each of the last four contests. He is averaging 5.7 points and 3.1 rebounds while shooting at a 49.2 percent clip (29-for-59) in 19.1 minutes per game.

The Skyhawks open a season-long four-game homestand tomorrow (Dec. 30) against Maryland-Eastern Shore. Tipoff time from the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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UGA tops Mercer in OT

UGA tops Mercer in OT

Posted on 28 December 2014 by Allen

Mark Fox UGA

The Georgia Bulldogs defeated Mercer 86-77 in triple overtime Saturday night at Stegeman Coliseum. It was the first-ever triple overtime game at Stegeman Coliseum in men’s basketball history.

Georgia (7-3) had five players score in double figures for the second time this season. Charles Mann paced the Bulldogs with 22 points, adding six rebounds and five assists. Nemanja Djurisic and Marcus Thornton each scored 17 points, and Kenny Gaines added 13 of his own. J.J. Frazier finished the night with 10 points.

Thornton and Gaines finished the night with 11 and 10 rebounds respectfully, making them the first Bulldog duo to record double-doubles in a game since Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Donte’ Williams did so against Iona in December of the 2012-13 season.

Mercer (6-7) saw over half of its points come off the bench, as non-starters totaled 48 points for the Bears to Georgia’s 15. The Bears’ bench outscored Georgia’s 39-1 after halftime.

Two players for Mercer set career highs in scoring. Jordan Strawberry scored 21 points, including 14 in the second half and overtime, off the bench. Jestin Lewis scored all 16 of his career high in the second half and overtime.

“That was an entertaining game for fans to watch,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said following the game. “I love [Mercer Head Coach] Bob Hoffman, I’ve got a ton of respect for him. Their kids played their tails off. We’ve played them four times and it has never been easy. I told my staff, ‘Why do we keep scheduling these guys,’ because he is such a good coach and their team plays the game the right way. I’ll cheer for them the rest of the year, just like I did last year, but we were fortunate to win. I did not think that we played particularly well, but we did win the game.”

Georgia took a 32-23 lead into the locker room at halftime as both teams had trouble establishing any kind of offensive rhythm, each shooting under 40 percent from the field and just 25 percent from deep. Mercer failed to make a field goal from the 5:15 mark in the first half and until the 15:58 mark in the second half.

After a Phillip Leonard layup ended Mercer’s drought, the Bears were able to close the gap steadily over the remainder of regulation as the Bulldogs continued to struggle from the field. The Bears finished regulation on a 10-3 run, including a buzzer-beater 3-pointer by Strawberry to tie the game at 51-51 and push the game into overtime.

Mercer hit two three pointers early in the first overtime period, but Mann, Thornton and Djurisic each hit shots down the stretch to keep Georgia in the game. Strawberry again kept Mercer alive with a game-tying jumper with 1:32 left that proved to be the final point scored in the first overtime with the score tied at 62-62.

The teams traded blows throughout the second overtime period until Lewis put Mercer on top 72-69 with under a minute remaining on his second 3-pointer of the period. After a Djurisic free throw cut the lead to one, Jelks committed an offensive foul that allowed Gaines to tie the game at 72-72 on a layup with just four seconds on the clock.

Georgia took control in the third overtime period, connecting on three-of-five 3-pointers, all from three different players. The Bulldogs also outrebounded the Bears 6-to-3 in the final overtime period to preserve the 86-77 victory.

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Vols thump TSU

Vols thump TSU

Posted on 28 December 2014 by Allen

Tyndall

The Tennessee State University men’s basketball team fell to the University of Tennessee by a score of 67-46 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday night.

The Tigers (2-11) shot 47.8 percent from the three-point line, but were turned over 15 times by the Volunteers (7-4). Tennessee held TSU to a 29.2 percent clip in the second half.

Marcus Roper led the Tigers with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Jay Harris pitched in 15 points, shooting 5-for-12 from the floor.

Kevin Punter led all scorers with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting and a perfect 4-for-4 from the three-point line.

TSU held a 6-4 lead at the first media timeout but Tennessee quickly stole the advantage. At one point, the Volunteers held a lead as big as 14.

The Tigers were forced to live and die from beyond the arc as the Volunteers vehemently denied any attempt in the paint.

Trailing 27-13 at the 5:36 mark, TSU used its three-point shooting to cut the deficit to thee before half. The Tigers were 6-of-11 from three-point land in the first half.

Big Blue had 8 assists, as a team, for the first 20 minutes. The season average for the Tigers is 9.6.

TSU turned the first 10 minutes of the final half into a dogfight, but Tennessee’s post defense held strong and pushed them onto the victory.

With 14:26 to play in the game, Jay Harris hit his second straight trey in a row to give the Tigers a 38-37 lead. For the next seven minutes, the Volunteers went on a 16-2 run, powered by an electric crowd, which gave them the space they needed for the win.

Having averaged 21.9 fouls per game so far this season, TSU committed just nine for the night.

The Tigers 14 assists is the most they’ve had in five contests.

TSU has lost 10-straight games.

The Tigers will fly to Fort Worth for a game at Texas Christian on Monday. Tip-off time is set for 7:00 p.m.

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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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