Archive | January, 2015

Carolina snaps Georgia’s Five Game Winning Streak

Carolina snaps Georgia’s Five Game Winning Streak

Posted on 31 January 2015 by Allen

UGA logo

UGA logo

Georgia saw its 5-game SEC win streak stopped by South Carolina, which got four players in double figures and took a 67-50 victory here Saturday afternoon.

The Bulldogs (14-6, 5-3) played without scoring and rebounding leader Marcus Thornton, who suffered a concussion in their last game against Vanderbilt four days ago. The void in Georgia’s lineup was evident in its offense, which struggled to season low-matching points and field-goal percentage.

“We missed Marcus’ scoring and rebounding for sure, but we missed his leadership more than anything,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “We just seemed disjointed on offense and that was disappointing. We are a team that can’t afford to have two or three of our shooters have off nights. We’ll need to put this game behind us and get ready for the next one.”

Georgia was led in scoring by J.J. Frazier, who got 11 of his 16 points at the free throw line. Charles Mann followed with 14 points, eight of which came from the line. Indeed, as a team Georgia scored equally from the charity stripe (25) as it did from the field.

Indicative of the Bulldogs’ afternoon was their performance from 3-point range. Their first three field goals of the game were all from behind the arc, but for the game’s remainder, they missed their final 12 attempts.

Georgia took its last lead of the game at 6-3 on a trey from Frazier with 17:43 left in the first half. The Gamecocks (11-9, 2-6) took the lead for keeps 45 seconds later on a layup by Duane Notice. Carolina got its lead into double digits for the first time at 25-14 on a 3-pointer by reserve Brian Steele at the 5:09 mark.

The second-half margin reached 15 points before Georgia mounted its only series threat of the final period. Georgia scored seven consecutive points to cut its deficit to 44-36 on a pair of foul shots by Mann with 11:02 left. The Bulldogs had one possession to get closer, but Kenny Gaines missed a 3-pointer.

Momentum swung in Carolina’s favor a final time on its next possession, when Fox was assessed a technical foul after a shooting foul for the Gamecocks. The resulting 5-point trip, culminated on a hook shot by Laimonas Chatkevicius, boosted the home team’s lead back into double digits at 49-36 with 9:47 left.

Georgia hits the road again for its next SEC contest on Tuesday night against No. 1-ranked Kentucky. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. (EST).

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Morehead tops Lady Colonels 76-58

Morehead tops Lady Colonels 76-58

Posted on 31 January 2015 by Allen


The Eastern Kentucky University women’s basketball team led by four at halftime, but watched as host Morehead State opened the second half on 14-0 on its way to a 76-58 win on Saturday at Ellis T. Johnson Arena.

It is EKU’s (8-11, 3-6 OVC) first loss to Morehead State (10-12, 6-3 OVC) since January 14, 2012.

Eastern limited Morehead State to 30.8 percent (8-of-26) shooting in the first half, as a jumper by junior Shameekia Murray sent the Colonels into the locker room at halftime up by four, 33-29.

The second half, however, was a different story. Morehead State exploded out of the locker room on a 14-0 run and took a double-digit lead, 43-33, when Almesha Jones sank a pair of free throws with 14:25 remaining in the game.

EKU got it back to within eight, 49-41, when sophomore Mariah Massengill converted a layup with 10:05 on the clock; however, MSU responded with an 8-0 run that put the game out of reach. The Colonels’ deficit remained in the teens the rest of the way.

Morehead State shot 46 percent (17-of-37) from the field in the second half.

Murray led EKU with 16 points while Massengill tied a career-high with 12 points. Junior Miranda Maples chipped in with 10 points, while junior Jasmine Henshaw grabbed a career-high 12 boards.

Jones paced the Eagles with 26 points and seven assists, while Eriel McKee finished with a double-double (12 points, 16 rebounds).

EKU returns home following a four-game road swing, hosting Tennessee State on Thursday, February 5, at 5:30 p.m.

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Tigers top Tenn Tech 64-56

Tigers top Tenn Tech 64-56

Posted on 30 January 2015 by Allen


The Tennessee State University men’s basketball team got its first Ohio Valley Conference win of the season as they took down Tennessee Tech University 64-56 at Gentry Center, Thursday night.

The Tigers (4-18, 1-6 OVC) outlasted the Golden Eagles (10-12, 2-7 OVC) for the night. After building as much as a 13-point lead, TSU never let TTU get closer than eight points.

With the TSU win, the all-time series now stands at 29-28 with Tech still ahead.

Jay Harris was the game’s leading scorer with 19 points on 6-for-14 shooting. He also had five rebounds and three assists on the game. Charles Tucker gave the Tigers a pair of double-digit scorers, with 11 (3-for-6) while adding in three boards and two dimes.

Torrance Rowe paced the Golden Eagles with 16 points on 5-for-14 shooting.

Christian Mekowulu sparked the Tigers’ offense out of the gate, scoring the first six points of the game. Both teams proceeded to trade the lead multiple times for the next 17 minutes.

The Tigers made their move after the final media timeout of the first half as they began to pull away from the Golden Eagles. Each team had led by only one possession, when they had the lead, until TSU pushed their advantage to as high as 11.

The Tigers took a 32-22 lead into the locker room.

The Tigers were impressive in the first half, shooting 43 percent (13-for-30) while also forcing nine Golden Eagle turnovers. TSU held their opponents to 36 percent (9-for-25) from the floor and 15 percent (2-for-13) from beyond the arc. Jay Harris put up a cool 11 points during the first 20 minutes.

TSU continued to hold TTU at arm’s length through the first 12 minutes of the second half. At the 8:30 mark, the Tigers led the Golden Eagles 53-40 thanks to 60 percent shooting (9-of-15), up to that point.

Big Blue, after losing leads in multiple games this season, closed out this game with authority. The defense held Tech to 39 percent shooting for the game while forcing 17 turnovers.

All but one player who touched the floor for TSU scored four, or more, points.

The Tigers will look to turn this win into momentum for the coming games. They wrap-up this three-game home stand with a game this Saturday night against Jacksonville State. Tip-time is at 7:30 p.m.

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MTSU Women Remains Atop C-USA

MTSU Women Remains Atop C-USA

Posted on 30 January 2015 by Allen

MTSU logo

Four players in double figures and a dominant all-around performance by senior Cheyenne Parker helped propel the Middle Tennessee (13-5, 7-1 C-USA) to a convincing 73-53 victory over UTSA at Murphy Center Thursday.

Middle Tennessee won its fourth straight and tasted victory for the ninth time in 10 games. The Blue Raiders also improved to 78-7 in January games under Head Coach Rick Insell, including 7-1 this season.

Fresh off of winning the USBWA National Player of the Week, Parker put on a show in front of the 4,605 fans in attendance with 25 points, 17 rebounds (nine offensive) and eight blocked shots. The Queens, N.Y., native shot an efficient 9-of-14 from the field and 7-of-9 from the charity stripe as well. She notched her C-USA leading ninth double-double of the season.

Sophomore Olivia Jones also put in a solid performance with 19 points, six boards, dished out four assists and collected three steals, while sophomore China Dow came off the bench to pour in 15 points, grab five off the glass and rack up five steals. Sophomore Ty Petty rounded out the leading scorers with 11 points and four assists.

Defensively, MT held UTSA (9-11, 4-4) to 32.8 percent shooting from the field and forced the Roadrunners into 21 miscues.

A pair of long runs by both teams set the tone for the first half as the Blue Raiders pieced together an impressive 17-0 run over a span 4:41 to go up 24-8.

Parker finished, and started the run with a pair of layups as she and Jones combined for 13 of the 17 points, while Dow chipped in with four points. MT forced UTSA into seven turnovers during the run and a 5:29 scoring drought.

The Blue Raiders went into the locker room with a 30-23 lead despite UTSA climbing back into single digits following a 15-6 output over the final 10:14 of the first stanza.

The duo of Jones and Parker kept MT afloat with 24 of the team’s next 30 points on 10-for-21 shooting from the field. Parker dominated the paint as she collected nine boards and swatted four shots to go along with 12 points, while MT scored 18 of its 30 points in the paint during a span that allowed the Blue Raiders to take complete control.

UTSA would cut the lead to just four, 32-28 in the opening minutes of the second half after a 5-2 spurt. MT responded with a 10-4 run thanks to Petty spearheading the run with seven points that put MT ahead, 42-32. The Blue Raiders cruised the rest of the way as the lead stretched to 23, 73-50, before sealing the win.

MT will look for the Texas sweep when the Blue Raiders square off against UTEP inside the Murphy Center at 11 a.m.

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Colonels Drop Second Straight in OT

Colonels Drop Second Straight in OT

Posted on 30 January 2015 by Allen


Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team led by five with 1:46 left in regulation, but Murray State University scored five unanswered to force overtime and then scored the first seven points in the extra frame for an 85-78 victory on Thursday.

With a three-point lead and 53 seconds left in the game, Eastern’s Ja’Mill Powell missed two free throws that could have made it a two possession game. MSU’s Justin Seymour answered with a game-tying three-pointer with 37 seconds on the clock. As the clock ticked down, Corey Walden drove baseline and put up a spinning jumper that just missed.

The Racers ran their run to 12-0 by scoring the first seven points in overtime. EKU got as close as three in the final minute.

Walden finished with 26 points, five steals, four rebounds and three assists. Murray State’s Cameron Payne had 21 pints, 10 rebounds, six steals and five assists.

EKU made just 1-of-9 from the field in overtime. MSU shot 54 percent from the field for the game. The Colonels got out-rebounded by 14, but turned the ball over six fewer times.

Walden’s three-pointer from the right wing gave the visitors an eight-point advantage, 62-54, with 5:49 remaining in the game. Murray State then scored eight straight, tying the game on a three-pointer by Payne. After Seymour tied it, 65-65, with a trey, Eastern Kentucky scored five straight to take a five-point lead in the final two minutes.

Powell hit four 3-pointers and finished with 22 points. Jarvis Williams contributed a double-double for the home team, finishing with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

After Murray State scored 12 unanswered midway through the first half to take a 19-11 lead, the Colonels answered with a 22-6 run. Eric Stutz scored six straight to get it started. EKU finished it off with eight unanswered. Walden hit a falling-down lay-up, Timmy Knipp made a three-pointer from the left corner before Walden capped it with an old-fashioned three-point play for an eight-point Eastern lead, 33-35, with 1:54 left in the half. Walden’s three from the top of the key as time expired sent the visitors to the locker room up six, 38-32.

The Colonels play at rival Morehead State on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

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Skyhawks dominate Eastern Illinois 81-51

Skyhawks dominate Eastern Illinois 81-51

Posted on 30 January 2015 by Allen


The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team never trailed and saw two players tally double-doubles in a convincing 81-51 victory over Ohio Valley Conference rival Eastern Illinois at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.

With the win, the Skyhawks improve to 13-7 overall with a 5-2 league mark, taking over sole possession of second place in the OVC West division. This marks the third time in UT Martin program history that the team has started 5-2 in OVC play and first time since the 1999-2000 campaign.

Tonight’s win also marks the first 30-plus point conference victory for UT Martin since the Skyhawks defeated Southeast Missouri by a 92-62 margin on Feb. 20, 1997.

“Eastern Illinois is a very good team and is really well-coached,” Skyhawk head coach Heath Schroyer said. “They had a tough night and we played really well. I thought our guys really executed the game plan and were fortunate to make some shots. We’re playing pretty well but this team still has a ceiling and can get better.”

Twymond Howard accumulated a game-high 22 points – one point shy of his career-high total – and grabbed 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season for UT Martin. Howard became just the fifth Skyhawk in the last eight years to make at least 10 free throws in a game without a miss (10-for-10). Marshun Newell also tallied his third double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Skyhawks, who shot a season-high 60.9 percent (28-for-46) against the OVC’s top team in fewest points allowed and defensive field goal percentage.

The Skyhawks also placed Alex Anderson in double figures in the scoring column, as he tied his career-high with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including four 3-pointers in five attempts. Deville Smith added 12 points and a game-high six assists for UT Martin, who nearly doubled up the Panthers on the glass (37 to 19).

Eastern Illinois (12-9, 6-3 OVC) was led by Trae Anderson’s 14 points while Dylan Chatman added 12 points for the Panthers, who were playing without leading scorer and rebounder Chris Olivier.

UT Martin jumped out to an early lead, as a Howard jumper, a Smith three-pointer and a hawking defense provided the Skyhawks with a 5-0 lead three minutes into the game.

Newell’s second trifecta of the game kept UT Martin’s advantage at five points (17-12) at the 11:48 mark of the first half. The Panthers then tallied five points in a row to even the score at 17-all before an extended run swayed the lead back in favor of the Skyhawks.

Anderson keyed the 11-0 run for UT Martin, nailing a trio of three-pointers over a span of four possessions to make the score 28-17. Eastern Illinois would answer with a bucket on its ensuing trip down the floor but the Skyhawks would pad their lead with a 15-3 run to close out the first half, taking a 43-22 lead in the process.

Smith (12 points) and Howard (10) reached double-figures in the scoring column in the first half for UT Martin, who shot 65.4 percent from the floor – the Skyhawks’ best percentage in a half under Schroyer. Eastern Illinois was led by Anderson’s eight points but the Panthers were limited to 32 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes.

Howard sank a short jumper to begin the scoring in the second half, extending UT Martin’s lead out to 45-22. In fact, Howard accounted for 12 of the Skyhawks’ first 14 points of the second half.

After a Reggie Smith three-pointer at the 11:30 mark cut UT Martin’s lead down to 16 points, the Skyhawks unreeled an 18-2 run to essentially put the game away with a 71-39 lead with 5:30 left to play.

A three-pointer by Richard Lee from the left wing at the 2:05 mark gave UT Martin an 81-47 lead – its biggest lead of the night – on the way to the big win.

The Skyhawks now face a quick turnaround, as they make the short drive to OVC West rival Murray State on Saturday, Jan. 31. Tipoff from the CFSB Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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Wrestling takes 37-11 decision on the road

Wrestling takes 37-11 decision on the road

Posted on 28 January 2015 by Allen


Austin Meyn, Jake Williams, Nate Croley and Kyle Delaune each pinned their opponents while Dustin Harris, Chris Mosher, Peter Donchev and Scott Stewart each picked up victories in Cumberland’s 34-14 victory over St. Catharine College in wrestling dual match action Tuesday night in St. Catharine, Ky.

Mosher started the match on the right foot for the Bulldogs with a 9-7 victory over David Hernandez at 125 before three straight pins by the Bulldogs. Meyn won at 1:35 against Tyler McCoy while Williams remained undefeated this spring with a Fall at 5:44 versus Cody Coomes. Croley pinned Ty Bennett at 157 at 4:22.

Donchev won a 5-4 Decision over Mitch Rusch at 165 for the Bulldogs. Harris posted a 12-2 Major Decision against Bernard Ray at 174 before Delaune pinned Joey Garcia at 2:05 at 184.

SCC’s BJ Carman recorded a 24-8 Technical Fall at 197, but Scott Stewart finished off the victory with an 8-3 Decision against Mario Bell at 285.

Cumberland travels to Marshall, Mo., this weekend for the Missouri Valley College Invitational.
Cumberland Univ. 37, St. Catharine College 11
Wt. Class Winner Loser Type; Score CU SCC
125 Chris Mosher (CU) David Hernandez (SCC) D; 9-7 3 0
133 Andy Lenz (SCC) FOR 3 6
141 Austin Meyn (CU) Tyler McCoy (SCC) F; 1:35 9 6
149 #8 Jake Williams (CU) Cody Coomes (SCC) F; 5:44 15 6
157 Nate Croley (CU) Ty Bennett (SCC) F; 4:22 21 6
165 Peter Donchev (CU) Mitch Rusch (SCC) D; 5-4 24 6
174 Dustin Harris (CU) Bernard Ray (SCC) MD; 12-2 28 6
184 Kyle Delaune (CU) Joey Garcia (SCC) F; 2:05 34 6
197 BJ Carman (SCC) Christian Varner (CU) TF; 24-8 34 11
285 Scott Stewart (CU) Mario Bell (SCC) D; 8-3 37 6

D – Decision
MD – Major Decision
TF – Technical Fall
F – Fall
FOR – Forfeit
MED – Medical

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Vandy falls at UGA 70-62

Vandy falls at UGA 70-62

Posted on 28 January 2015 by Allen

Mark Fox UGA

The Georgia Bulldogs won their fifth consecutive SEC contest, posting a 70-62 victory over Vanderbilt to sweep the season series against the Commodores on Tuesday night.

Georgia defeated Vanderbilt 70-67 earlier in the year in Nashville on January 14 to snap a nine-game losing streak to the Commodores. That was also Georgia’s first SEC victory of the 2014-15 campaign and the Bulldogs have now won five straight conference games for the first time since the 2012-13 season (1/26 at Texas A&M-2/9 vs. Texas A&M).

Four Bulldogs scored in double figures on Tuesday night, with Nemanja Djurisic leading the pack with 15 points. He connected on 3-of-4 shots from 3-point range and added a game-high nine rebounds as well. Marcus Thornton (14), Kenny Gaines (13) and J.J. Frazier (12) were the other Bulldogs that finished in double figures.

“I’m happy we won the game,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said following the game. “I’m glad we don’t have to play Vanderbilt again in the regular season. They’re hard to play against and they’re extremely well-coached. I thought they outplayed us in the first half. I got after our team pretty good during the half because I felt like Vandy was playing a little harder than we were. I thought we were kind of playing cute and falling in love with the three. I also told our team that I don’t think I’ve coached our team very well offensively since we’ve had everybody get hurt. I don’t think we’re playing anywhere near where we can, so some of our turnovers and struggles are my fault. But it’s good to win and beat a team that’s going to win its share of ballgames.”

The Bulldogs continued their hot shooting from 3-point range, connecting on 7-of-12 shots from deep in the first half. Georgia only connected on 4-of-15 field goal attempts from within the arc in the half. Djurisic led all scorers with 11 points in the first half connecting on 3-of-4 attempts from beyond the arc and grabbing five rebounds.

The Bulldogs also pulled down nine offensive rebounds and out-rebounded the Commodores 21-to-12 in the opening period as the Bulldogs took a 31-27 lead into the locker rooms at the half.

Vanderbilt started the second half hot, connecting on its first four field goal attempts to take a 36-35 lead. Georgia responded in a big way by busting open a 20-5 run over the next 10 minutes, giving the Bulldogs a 55-41 lead with 7:27 remaining.

The Commodores fought back numerous times over the final stretch, cutting to within five points of Georgia’s lead on four separate occasions in the next six minutes. The Bulldogs held their ground and knocked down nine of their last 10 free throw attempts in the final 1:30 of the game to preserve the 70-62 win.

As a team Vanderbilt committed just seven turnovers on the night but the Commodores shot just 36 percent from the field, hitting only 8-of-22 attempts from 3-point range. Damian Jones paced the Commodores with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and was one of just two Vanderbilt players that shot over 50 percent from the field. Jeff Roberson finished with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting.

Georgia will hit the road for its next two matchups, starting off with a trip to Columbia to take on South Carolina on Saturday, January 31. Tipoff is set for 4:00 p.m. and the game will air on ESPNU. The Bulldogs will then travel to Lexington to take on the currently undefeated and top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats on Tuesday, February 3, with tipoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on ESPNU.

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Arkansas tops Vols at Home 69-64

Arkansas tops Vols at Home 69-64

Posted on 28 January 2015 by Allen

Qualls Arkansas

Junior Michael Qualls scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half and the Razorbacks limited Tennessee to just 14 points over the final 15 minutes, as No. 25 Arkansas extended its win streak to three games with a hard-fought 69-64 SEC win over Tennessee on Tuesday night at Bud Walton Arena.

Both teams entered in a tie for second place in the SEC and were just two weeks removed from a meeting in Knoxville that was also decided by five points. With the win, Arkansas improves to 16-4 for the first time since 1997-98 and remains in second place in the SEC at 5-2. The road loss is the first in conference play (3-1) for Tennessee who now sits at 12-7 overall and 4-3 in the SEC.

Trailing 37-35 at the break, the Razorbacks turned to Qualls, who scored 30 points in the team’s last game at Bud Walton Arena just six days ago. After being held to three points in the first half, Qualls scored 10 in the first 7:31 on the second half, highlighted by six straight during a 9-0 run that ended with his second three of the game for a 54-50 lead (12:29).

From that point forward Arkansas relied on its defense, limiting the Vols to just 14 points over the final 15 minutes of the game. Despite the improved defense, Tennessee was able to tie the game at 60-60 with 5:32 remaining before senior Rashad Madden hit his second big shot in as many games, draining a three-pointer from the left wing for a 63-60 lead.

Tennessee drew to within one, 63-62, after the two teams traded turnovers, but a quick mid-range jumper by junior Anthlon Bell and four straight offensive possessions without points for the Volunteers allowed the Razorbacks to grow the lead to 67-62 (1:03).

Arkansas had to make one final stop coming out of a Tennessee timeout with five seconds left, as Robert Hubbs III’s three-pointer to tie the game hit every piece of the rim before Qualls grabbed the rebound and iced the game with two free throws.

Qualls and sophomore Bobby Portis’ 17 points each marked the 17th time in the first 20 games that the duo has led Arkansas in scoring. Portis’ streak of five consecutive double-doubles came to an end, as he came away with a game-high eight boards. Senior Alandise Harris reached double figures for the second straight game with 10 points while freshman Anton Beard scored 10 of the team’s first 21 points on the night.

Tennessee was led by Josh Richardson’s 17 points and six assists while he was joined in double figures by Hubbs III (15), Armani Moore (12) and Kevin Punter (10).

Coach Anderson Postgame Sound

“I’m happy for our guys to win a hard-fought game against a Tennessee team that has been playing well. I really feel like we got better from a defensive standpoint tonight and built off a good defensive second half at Missouri. After three games in six days, our guys have earned a day off. Especially after three games in this league.”

Riding a three-game win streak, No. 25 Arkansas will look for its third SEC road win of the year when it travels to Florida (11-9, 4-3 SEC) on Saturday. The game will be televised nationally on CBS and is scheduled for a noon CT tip.

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TSU to Honor 1995 OVC Championship Team

TSU to Honor 1995 OVC Championship Team

Posted on 28 January 2015 by Allen


On Saturday, Jan.31, Tennessee State athletics will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the 1995 Ohio Valley Championship Team.

Former Lady Tiger players, coaches and managers will return to the Gentry Center to be recognized for their accomplishments following the conclusion of the TSU vs. Jacksonville State women’s basketball game.

The 1994-95 Lady Tiger basketball team posted an overall record of 22-7 with an OVC mark of 12-4 on the way to the program’s second consecutive title. In addition to the OVC Tournament Championship, the Lady Tigers were the OVC regular season champs and earned an NCAA Tournament Berth.

In addition to the team accomplishments, the Lady Tigers also boasted many individual accolades.

The squad was led by All-OVC First team selection and TSU’s all-time leading scorer Connie Swift. Swift is a two-time OVC Tournament MVP and a member of the TSU Hall of Fame.

Standout Carolyn Aldridge, TSU’s second all-time scoring leader, also garnered OVC First-Team honors for the Lady Tigers in 1995.

Kim Graves (1992-96) held the record for most career assists fourteen consecutive years until her mark of 502 was passed by LaDona Pierce (505) in 2010. She is now second on the list while ranking sixth in career steals.

Tip-off for the TSU vs. Jacksonville State women’s basketball game is slated for 5:30 p.m. in the Gentry Center.

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MMA: UFC 159-Villante vs St. Preux

Tennessee Athletic Commission isn’t going down without a fight

Posted on 26 January 2015 by Allen

MMA: UFC 159-Villante vs St. Preux

Since last June I’ve been working on trying to rally the troops to save the Tennessee Athletic Commission. I’m not going to rehash everything here, instead I’ll post the links to the other stories below for those hadn’t read them.

Lawmakers want to pull the plug on MMA and Boxing in Tennessee

MMA and Boxing Events to become Illegal in Tennessee on July 1

How to keep MMA in Tennessee

Last week I spoke with House Speaker Beth Harwell’s office and asked them what their position was on the Commission sunsetting. They didn’t know about it at the time but told me they would look into it and get back with me. This afternoon I received a phone call from the Speaker’s office. I was told that on January 26, 2014 Senator Mike Bell and Rep Judd Matheny sponsored bill SB 1564 – HB 1586 that gave the Athletic Commission a one year extension to keep it out of sunset. Speaker’s Hartwell’s office informed me that it was likely that the Commission would be given another year and legislation would be introduced by Rep Jeremy Faison from the 1th District in East Tennessee. As chairman of the Government Operations Committee Mr. Faison would be the one to sponsor a bill giving the Commission another year.

If you want to speak to Mr. Faison about the commission he can be contacted via email, or by phone, (615) 741-6871.

The UFC is also aware of what is going in the Volunteer State. I have been in touch with Zuffa and they tentatively have plans to bring a show to Nashville this year. A lot of that hinges on what happens with the Commission though. The vice president of regulatory affairs for the UFC, Marc Ratner went on record with today stating that the UFC was aware what was going on in Tennessee and were working to help the commission. It’s unclear what exactly they can do but the UFC obviously has deep pockets and a lot of clout when it comes to regulation.

The UFC has two of the most notable fighters from Tennessee on their roster. Rampage Jackson or Ovince St. Preux would draw a lot of local interest and pack the Bridgestone Arena if they were on the card. A fight in Nashville between the two men from west and east Tennessee would likely sell it out.

Sherdog, MMAMania, MMAFighting, and the underground have all picked up on the story and have helped energize the hardcore fans in Tennessee. The problem is that fans in Texas and Kentucky can’t fight this battle. It has to come from Tennesseans.

Today the local media in Clarksville did a piece on what is going on. I was also contacted by Channel 5 in Nashville and they are working on a piece that will air at 6 PM Central. They did their own investigation and shot some footage at Nashville MMA.

It’s good that local media is starting to take note but we still must encourage other journalists, talk show hosts and reporters to report on what is going on.

Keep on fighting. It’s not over yet.

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Arthur Named Sounds’ Chief Operating Officer

Arthur Named Sounds’ Chief Operating Officer

Posted on 26 January 2015 by Allen


The Nashville Sounds have named Garry Arthur as the club’s Chief Operating Officer, an announcement made by owner Frank Ward on Monday morning.

Arthur had previously served as a senior advisor to Sounds ownership dating back to MFP Baseball LLC’s acquisition of the club in 2009.

“I am very pleased to have Garry step into this role during a very exciting time for the Sounds franchise,” said Ward. “His vast knowledge of the industry and previous experience in opening a new minor league ballpark are very important as we celebrate the opening of First Tennessee Park and a new era of baseball in Nashville.”

Nashville is Arthur’s fourth stop in the Pacific Coast League. He previously served a combined 14 seasons as General Manager in Sacramento (1999-2004), Vancouver (1998-99), and Calgary (1989-95). During those tenures, Arthur’s teams recorded more than 1,000 wins and his teams carry a 30-18 record in eight postseason appearances.

Among the most decorated executives in Minor League Baseball, Arthur was the 2002 winner of The Sporting News’ Minor League Executive of the Year award, a prestigious award that is selected from all executives among the 176 minor league teams. He was also named as the 1999 recipient of the PCL Executive of the Year award.

“Many of us longstanding members of the Pacific Coast League have held the belief that with the right ownership and a new stadium Nashville could return to being one of the premiere franchises in all of Triple-A Baseball,” said Arthur. “A committed-to-excellence ownership and the magnificent First Tennessee Park is now here, and I feel my involvement is both an honor and privilege. I look forward to guiding this young talented staff to ensure that everyone’s experience at First Tennessee Park is a memorable one.”

Arthur served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the River Cats during the team’s first six seasons in Sacramento from 1999-2004 and oversaw the successful opening of Raley Field. During his tenure, the River Cats won two Pacific Coast League Championships (2003-04) and four PCL South Division titles (2000-01, 2003-04).

During his six years as Sacramento GM, Arthur was affiliated with the Oakland Athletics organization, the new parent club of the Sounds.

After departing Sacramento at the conclusion of the 2004 campaign, Arthur served as a consultant to the River Cats as well as to the Pacific Coast League, chairing its Scheduling Committee. He has been associated with the PCL since October 1988 when he was named General Manager of the Triple-A Calgary Cannons, a position he held for seven seasons from until 1995.

After his Cannons stint, he was named Vice President of Japan Sports Systems, a Japan-based company which owned the Triple-A Vancouver Canadians, in November 1996. He became General Manager of the Canadians in 1998, and he held that position until the franchise was relocated to Sacramento following the 1999 Triple-A World Championship season.

Prior to his career in baseball, Arthur spent five years working for the XV Olympic Winter Games, which were held in 1988 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He began his tenure with the XV Olympic Winter Games as the Manager of Information Systems (1984-85) and was promoted to Press Secretary (1985-87) in 1985. In 1987, he was appointed Director of the Chairman’s Office for the XV Olympic Winter Games. For his efforts (the Games made a $146 million profit), Arthur received the Alberta Achievement Award in 1988.

His professional career began in sports broadcasting. Arthur was a broadcaster with CBC (Canada) radio and television for 12 years and spent one year as Vice President of All-Pro Sports Consultants, Inc. (1984).

The native of Vancouver, British Columbia has two grown children: a daughter, Stacey, and a son, Jamie.

Arthur will lead the entire Sounds front office staff and be joined on the club’s senior management team by Brandon Yerger, Senior Vice President of Fan Experience; Doug Scopel, Senior Vice President of Operations; Jason Franke, Senior Vice President of Corporate & Premium Partnerships; and James Rozzoni, Vice President of Stadium Operations.

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Kuligowski will return to Missouri

Kuligowski will return to Missouri

Posted on 26 January 2015 by Allen


University of Missouri Assistant Football Coach Craig Kuligowski announced today that he has withdrawn his name for consideration for a co-defensive coordinator coaching position at Illinois, and will remain at Mizzou.

“As a coach, you’re always looking to advance yourself professionally in hopes of someday having a chance to become a head coach. It was important for me and my family to consider this opportunity, and I’m grateful to have gone through the experience, but after evaluating everything, what is best for us is to stay here at Mizzou. We’ve built something special here at Mizzou, and I’m excited to continue to be part of it.”

Missouri’s defense has been outstanding the past two years and is a big reason that the Tigers have gone to the SEC Championship Game in 2013 and 2014.

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How to keep MMA in Tennessee

How to keep MMA in Tennessee

Posted on 25 January 2015 by Allen


I’m sure if you are reading this then you have heard that lawmakers in Tennessee want to pull the plug on the Tennessee Athletic Commission on July 1st. If new legislation is not introduced by February 12, 2015 then June 30th will be the last day the Commission is in place and boxing and MMA shows will be legal in the state beginning July 1.

What can you do to help keep MMA and boxing events legal? There are several things.

Contact your local elected state Senator and Representative. A bill needs to be introduced and must pass in both houses for the Commission to stay in place. Contacting the Governor’s office will do no good. They have been very supportive but they cannot enact or sponsor new legislation. That comes from the House and State Senate.

Find your local representative and Senator here. Call them and email them. When you talk to them tell them you want to know your representative’s position and explain what is going on. Explain how the local economy will be affected and bars and restaurants will miss out on millions of dollars from fans who come to see the UFC. Talk to them about ideas to increase revenue for the Commission such as putting pro wrestling under the jurisdiction of the Athletic Commision or licenses for amateur fighters. Or just read this post from last year to see what some other states are doing. Be polite but firm. They may tell you your local representative is out of the office. Ask them to call you back. They work for you so make them accountable. Ask them to sponsor new legislation to keep the Commission in place.

Another main thing is to draw awareness to what’s going on. When you call your local representatives there is a 95% chance you will get an aid or member of their staff. You won’t get to talk to them right away. Their staff will be friendly and courteous but you need to educate yourself as to what you are talking about and have ideas as to how the Commission can be viable and why it is necessary. If they mention that the Commission is not able to sustain itself, you need to be able to tell them that the fights will go on unregulated in bars where promoters won’t have to carry insurance. Fighters could be carrying HIV or hepatitis into the cage with them without bloodwork being done. The sport going on without checks and balances is very dangerous.

Also, Tennessee will be the first state to regress from having an Athletic Commission to having none. It’s possible that one day there could be something new proposed by lawmakers and we could get a new sanctioning body but God knows how long it would take to get set up. With the way the government works it could be several years.

Another idea is raise awareness. On Saturday Sherdog and MMAMania picked up the story but they are preaching to the choir. This issue needs to be covered locally. Contact your local news stations and make them aware. Tell them what is going on or send them a link to the story. Most stations have websites with ways to contact them. Most reporters have Twitter accounts too. Reporters are always looking for a good story. And what better story than politicians who are taking something away from their constituents?

These reporters can put pressure on the politicians to talk about their position on the record on camera. The reporters or media members can also talk about what’s going on on the air (television or radio) to increase awareness. Right now the hardcore MMA fans know what’s a stake. Once it gets on the news or sportstalk stations boxing fans or casual UFC might hear about it and get ticked off too.

Here are some Contact pages with email addresses and phone numbers to news stations in Tennessee.

WMC 5 Memphis
Fox 13 Memphis
WKRN 2 Nashville
WSMV 4 Nashville
Fox 17 Nashville
WATE 6 Knoxville
WTVC 9 Chattanooga

I have reached out to numerous people in the media in Middle Tennessee recently and a few responded. MMA is a niche sport and it’s fanbase isn’t a broad as football or basketball. But if enough people tweet these people and blow up their Twitter feed they will see that losing MMA in the state is a big deal. Eventually they will have to pay attention to it.

Here are the Twitter handles for news people and media members in Tennessee. Tweet them and respectfully tell them you want MMA and boxing in Tennessee. In 140 characters or less tell them what is going on.

Channel 5 WMC
Joe Birch @JBirchWMC
Ursula Madden @UMaddenWMC
Kendall Kirkham @KendallKirkham
Janice Broach @JBroachWMC
Amy Speropoulos @amysperopwmc

Channel 13 Fox
Mearl Purvis @Mearlonfox13
Darrell Greene @dgonfox13
Matt Stark @MattStarkFOX13
Scott Madaus @scottmadaus

Channel 3 CBS
Alex Coleman @AColeman_WREG3
Todd Demers @Toddon3_WREG
Adam Hammond @AHammond_WREG3
Jessica Gertler @jgertler_WREG3

Memphis Commercial Appeal
Zack McMillin @zackmcm
Daniel Connolly @DanielConnolly

Sports 56 WHBQ / 87.7 FM
Peter Edmiston @peteredmiston
Rob Fischer @thefishnation
Greg Gaston @Greg_Gaston

Here are the Twitter handles for Nashville newspeople.

News 2 ABC
Anne Holt @anneholtwkrn
Bob Mueller @bobmuellerwkrn
Cory Curtis @CoryCurtis2
Andy Cordan @AndyCordan
Audra Martin @Audra_Martin

Channel 4 WSMV
Jeremy Finley @WSMVJeremyITEAM
Tracy Kornet @WSMVTracyKornet
Chris Harris @ChrisHarrisWSMV

Channel 5 CBS
Cuthbert Langley @NC5_CLangley
Vicki Yates @NC5_VickiYates
Chris Conte @chrisconte
Mark Bellinger @NC5_MBellinger

Fox 17
Dave Foster @DaveFoster17

104.5 The Zone
Kevin Ingram @KIngramSports
Brent Dougherty @brentdougherty
Blaine Bishop @bbishop23
Frank Wycheck @FrankWycheck1

102.5 The Game
Willy Daunic @WillyD1025

The Tennessean
Dave Ammenheuser @NashSportsEd
David Climer @DavidClimer

Here are the Twitter handles for East Tennessee newspeople.

Channel 8 CBS
Mark Packer @wvltpacker
Amanda Hara @AmandaHara
Rick Russo @wvltrick

Channel 6 ABC
Kristin Farley @krisfarley
Michael Spencer @WATEMichael
Stephanie Beecken @StephBeecken

Robin Wilhoit @robinWBIR
Nick Carboni @NickCarboniWBIR
Jim Matheny @JimMatheny

Knoxville News Sentinel
Jack McElroy @JackatNews

Jimmy Hyams @JimmyHyams

Channel 3 NBC
Cindy Sexton @CindySexton3
Jed Mescon @jedmescon
Matt Barbour @MattBarbourWRCB

Chattanooga Times Free Press
Jay Greeson @jgreesontfp

Also hit up the UFC. The guys at Zuffa know what’s going and they can help us with our cause by simply coming to town.

Dana White @danawhite
Lorenzo Fertitta @lorenzofertitta

Those two guys make the big decisions for the UFC. Don’t bother hitting up Joe Silva. Just because he’s the matchmaker doesn’t mean he decides where to take the cards. Hitting up Rampage might not be a bad idea but he doesn’t use Twitter very often. I was told that he wanted to fight in Memphis last year but had to settle for Southaven, Mississippi when he fought King Mo. His Twitter account is @Rampage4real.

Go after Scott Coker too. Bellator has never been to Nashville and Coker produced one of his biggest shows ever when he brought Henderson vs Shields to the Music City live in primetime on CBS a few years ago. His Twitter account is @ScottCoker.

We have just over two weeks until the deadline to sponsor new legislation passes. After February 12th MMA is dead in the water and the Commission will be officially put out to pasture on July 1st. Let your voice be heard. Just remember, be kind and respectful. Everyone has a job they are trying to do and if you belligerent you will get tuned out. Educate yourself then reach out and make a difference.

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