Archive | March, 2015

Barnes Vols

Vols hire former Texas Coach Rick Barnes

Posted on 31 March 2015 by Allen

Barnes Vols

Rick Barnes will officially be introduced as the new men’s head basketball coach at the University of Tennessee in a press conference held at Pratt Pavilion at 4 p.m., on Tuesday.

Tennessee’s fortunes on the hardwood have never looked brighter, as Rick Barnes, the most decorated and accomplished head coach in school history, was handed the reins to the men’s basketball program on March 31, 2015.

The marriage of Barnes’ Hall of Fame-worthy resume — highlighted by 604 career Division I head coaching wins, the ninth-most among active coaches — and Tennessee’s world-class facilities, fervent fan base and outstanding athletic and academic resources, sets the Volunteers on a course to consistently compete for championships.

“Rick Barnes is an elite basketball coach in every respect,” Tennessee Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart said. “Rick brings an extremely impressive track record of excellence, as well as much-needed stability, to our men’s basketball program. This is an exciting day for our Tennessee family.”

In fitting with Hart’s mantra of “comprehensive excellence,” Barnes’ commitment to his players’ academic achievement cannot be overstated. His teams have posted a perfect 1,000 score in each of the last five multi-year APR reports as well as perfect single-year APR scores every year dating to 2005-06.

Immediately prior to Barnes’ arrival on Rocky Top, he oversaw a prolific, 17-year run at Texas that included 16 trips to the NCAA Tournament.

In 28 overall seasons as a Division I head coach, Barnes has led his teams to 22 total NCAA Tournament berths, six Sweet Sixteens, three Elite Eights and one Final Four in 2003.

He boasts coaching experience in Southeastern Conference (Alabama assistant, 1985-86), Big 10 (Ohio State assistant, 1986-87), Colonial Athletic Association (George Mason head coach, 1987-88), Big East (Providence head coach, 1988-1994), Atlantic Coast Conference (Clemson head coach, 1994-98) and Big 12 (Texas head coach, 1998-2015).

His success on the “power conference” sidelines is simply staggering. He coached Providence to three NCAA Tournament berths in six seasons. He then guided Clemson to the Big Dance three times in four years. And his 16 NCAA appearances during his 17-season stint at Texas gives him 19 tournament berths in the last 20 years.

Dating to 1995, every four-year player Barnes has coached has made at least three trips to the NCAA Tournament.

Not only do his players find themselves perennially positioned to play for national championships, but they also carry themselves with a top-25 swagger. Over the last 17 years, Barnes’ teams have spent 180 total weeks in the Associated Press Top 25, including 84 weeks in the Top 10. His Texas squad earned the program’s first-ever No. 1 national ranking on Jan. 11, 2010. And he had previously coached Clemson to a No. 2 national ranking–the highest in that school’s history–during the 1996-97 campaign.

On the flipside, Barnes has collected 96 career wins over Top-25 opponents. And his squads have toppled Top-10 teams a total of 34 times.

Nationally respected in player development, Barnes is the only coach in the nation that can claim two different National Players of the Year in the last 13 seasons (T.J. Ford in 2003 and Kevin Durant in 2007). Barnes also produced four consensus first-team All-Americans and three National Freshman of the Year honorees.

Barnes has produced 23 total NBA Draft picks, including 13 first-round selections. Durant — who refers to Barnes as “more than a coach,” but also a “father figure” — was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. Durant has won an NBA Most Valuable Player Award, four NBA scoring titles, the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and an Olympic gold medal.

A native of Hickory, N.C., Barnes was born on July 17, 1954. He was a standout player at Hickory High, from which he graduated in 1973. Barnes moved on to Lenoir-Rhyne College (Hickory, N.C.), where he lettered for three seasons and won the Captain’s Award for Leadership as both a junior and senior.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Lenoir-Rhyne in 1977 and was named the college’s Distinguished Alumnus in 1997. Barnes was inducted into the Lenoir-Rhyne College Hall of Fame on Oct. 5, 2002, and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Lenoir-Rhyne on May 7, 2005.

He and his wife, Candy — who is also a Hickory native — have a son, Nick (born Oct. 3, 1984), and a daughter, Carley (born Jan. 9, 1988). Carley and her husband, Josh Lickteig, have two children: 7-year-old Avery and 4-year-old Caleb

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Shelton inks with CU basketball

Shelton inks with CU basketball

Posted on 31 March 2015 by Allen


Cumberland University men’s basketball coach Lonnie Thompson announced the signing of Savannah, Tenn., native Will Shelton to scholarship papers this week for the 2015-16 season.

The Hardin County High School product was a four-year letterwinner for coach Rory Carpenter. He scored over 1,800 career points for the Tigers and posted 25 points and 10 rebounds as a senior at HCHS.

Shelton was a four-time All-District and All-Region selection at Hardin County and also lettered three years in football at HCHS. He was also Class President for two years.

He is the son of Willie Shelton and Lakeisha Hopson.

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Portis Named Associated Press All-American

Portis Named Associated Press All-American

Posted on 31 March 2015 by Allen


Two weeks after being named the SEC Player of the Year, Arkansas sophomore Bobby Portis was lauded by the Associated Press (AP) again on Monday by being named to the outlet’s All-America second team. The All-America distinction is the third of the year for Portis, while he is the program’s first AP All-American since 2006.

Named the SEC Player of the Year by the AP and the SEC head coaches, Portis has also earned a spot on the USBWA All-America second team and Sporting News All-America third team.

“Bobby is worthy of every award he receives. He’s one of the hardest working players I’ve ever been around and the best part about him is that all his goals are team oriented,” said Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson. “Since he arrived on campus his focus has been to become a great player and everyday he truly works at it with the best yet to come.”

Portis finished his sophomore campaign as the team leader in scoring (17.5), field goal percentage (.536), rebounding (8.9), offensive rebounds (133), blocks (50) and steals (39). Along the way to leading the Razorbacks in nearly every statistical category, Portis also became the first player in the storied program’s history to accumulate 600 points and 300 rebounds.

The Little Rock native is a finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, Lute Olson Award and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award.

Arkansas finished its fourth season under coach Anderson with a 27-9 record, good for the sixth-most wins in the program’s 92-year history. The Razorbacks earned an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time since 2008, advancing to the third round as the No. 5 seed in the West Region. Part of Arkansas’ 27 wins was a 13-5 record in the SEC which marked the most SEC wins since the 1993-94 national championship team.

in a class by himself
Over his two seasons as a Razorback, Portis has put his name in the conversation with some of Arkansas’ elite players in program history. Portis is the first player in program history with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds as a sophomore. During Arkansas’ NCAA Tournament second round win over Wofford, Portis surpassed 600 points and 300 rebounds on the year, becoming the first player in program history to accomplish the feat.

bP mode
Currently in the top 5 of the SEC in scoring (17.5/2nd), rebounding (8.9/4th), offensive rebounds (3.7/1st), defensive rebounds (5.2/5th) and field goal percentage (.536/2nd), Portis continued to etch his name in the Arkansas record books in 2014-15.

* Second Razorback to be named SEC Player of the Year.

* Just the third sophomore to reach the 1,000-point plateau, joining TODD DAY (1990) and SCOTTY THURMAN (1994).

* First player in program history with five straight double-doubles in SEC regular season action.

* Program record nine double-doubles in SEC play.

* First player in program history with 30 points and 10 rebounds in an SEC game against Vanderbilt with 32 points and 11 boards.

* First player in program history to go for 18+ points and 7+ rebounds in six straight games since Corliss Williamson did during his sophomore season in 1994.

* Just the fifth player to record multiple 30-point games in his career against SEC opponents, joining Todd Day (4), Jannero Pargo (3), Scotty Thurman (3) and Jonathon Modica (2).

* Had a 27-game double figure scoring streak that surpassed Todd Day’s 25-game streak from the end of 1990-91 into 1991-92.

demanding the rock
The only sophomore on the Wooden Award Final 15 list, Portis became the focal point of Arkansas’ offense and the team leader on and off the court. With 70 straight starts to open his career, Portis has been dominant his last 40 games that includes the final four of his freshman year.

Category Last 40 First 30
Points Per Game 16.9 (679) 12.7 (368)
Double Figures 38 19
18+ Points 20 4
20+ Points 13 1
Team Leader in Scoring 19 7
Rebounds Per Game 8.8 (352) 6.9 (199)
7+ Rebounds 30 17
Double Figure Rebounds 17 3
Double-Doubles 16 3
Team Leader in Rebounds 30 13
Double Figure FG Attempts 36 9

three of a kind
Portis is one of just three high-major players in the country that averaged or is averaging at least 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Name Program Points Rebounds
Bobby Portis Arkansas 17.5 8.9
Rakeem Christmas Syracuse 17.5 9.1
Jahlil Okafor Duke 17.5 8.7

SEC checklist
Taking on a league full of future NBA first round draft picks and some of the best big men in the country, Portis posted a double-double or 20-point game against 12 of the 13 SEC members in the regular season. Below is Portis’ checklist against SEC foes. Kentucky is the only opponent Portis didn’t do either, as he finished the Feb. 28 meeting in Lexington with 15 points and eight rebounds. Over his 36-game SEC career, Portis has a 20-point game or double-double against every league opponent.

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Walden named to two All-American Teams

Walden named to two All-American Teams

Posted on 31 March 2015 by Allen


Eastern Kentucky University senior Corey Walden has been chosen to the Lou Henson All-America Team and the Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America Team, announced recently.

The Lou Henson All-America Team recognizes the top Mid-Major men’s basketball players. The Lou Henson Award will be given to one of the 31 All-Americans to signify the top player at the Mid-Major level. The Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America Team recognizes the best defenders at the NCAA Division I level. One of the 26 All-Americans from that team will be chosen as the Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year.

The winners of both awards will be announced at the Awards Banquet on Friday in Indianapolis, site of the 2015 Final Four. Walden is the only player from the Ohio Valley Conference selected to either All-America team.

Walden also earned a spot on the Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America team in 2014. This season, the Dayton Beach native has already been named first team All-OVC and first team All-District 19 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).

Walden closed out his career as one of the best in program history. In just three years as a Colonel, he scored 1,518 points, the eighth most-ever by a Colonel.

The two-time OVC Defensive Player of the Year also broke the EKU career and single season records for steals. His 236 career steals broke Jamie Ross’ mark of 221 and is the fifth most-ever in OVC history. Walden finished the 2014-15 season with 99 steals, which also broke the record of 87 held by Ross and is the second-most ever in one season by an OVC player.

During his senior season Walden averaged 18.6 points, four rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.1 steals per game. He shot 55 percent from the field and nailed 82 percent of his free throws.

The 2014-15 first team All-OVC selection was the only player ranked in the top-10 in the OVC in scoring (2nd), field goal percentage (7th), assists (7th) and steals (1st). Walden leads the nation with an average of 3.09 steals per game and ranks 35th in scoring.

Walden became the 33rd player in EKU history to score 1,000 points when he scored 33 in a win at Southern Utah (Nov. 26). In the Colonels’ 28-point victory at No. 18 Miami, Walden had 18 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. He hit two three-pointers from the “U” logo in the final five minutes to squelch any chance of a Miami comeback. He scored a career-best 35 points in Eastern’s regular season finale against Tennessee Tech. Walden’s lay-up with 12 seconds to go gave the Colonels a 66-65 victory over High Point in the second round of the Postseason Tournament (CIT).

Eastern Kentucky went 21-12 this season and made its third straight appearance in a national postseason tournament. Eastern finished first in the OVC East Division with an 11-5 mark in league games. The Colonels have finished in the top-3 in the conference each of the last three seasons. The 21 victories are tied for the fourth most-ever in program history.

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Gooch Named Associated Press All-American Honorable Mention Selection

Gooch Named Associated Press All-American Honorable Mention Selection

Posted on 31 March 2015 by Allen


WKU senior Chastity Gooch has been named an Associated Press All-American Honorable Mention selection, the outlet announced today. It is Gooch’s second All-America honor of her career and first this season. She was named a WBCA Coaches’ All-American Honorable Mention selection in 2013-14.

Gooch is WKU’s fourth player in program history to earn Associated Press All-America honors a total of five times, joining Gwen Doyle (1994-95 Honorable Mention selection), Leslie Johnson (1997-98 Honorable Mention selection) and Crystal Kelly (2006-07 Honorable Mention selection and 2007-08 Honorable Mention selection) as the only individuals to earn AP distinctions in the past. The Associated Press first began selection of All-American teams in 1994-95.

Gooch is one of 14 different players to earn 28 different All-American honors during their WKU careers.

Gooch finished her career among the top performers and most accomplished players in program history. The 2014-15 Conference USA Player of the Year averaged 17.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the Lady Toppers this season. She completed her outstanding WKU career with two NCAA Tournament appearances, finishing fourth in career scoring, third in career rebounding, fourth in career blocks and fourth in career steals in the WKU record books. She completed her career with 1,925 points in 131 career games.

Conference USA has now had six players earn AP All-American Honorable Mention honors over the last two seasons.

Gooch is still eligible for the 2014-15 WBCA Coaches’ All-American Team after being named an All-Region selection by the WBCA last week.

2014-15 Associated Press All-American Teams

First Team

Jewell Loyd, Notre Dame, 5-foot-10, junior, Lincolnwood, Ill., 18.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 52.8 fg pct, 82.3 ft pct. (35 first-team votes, 175 total points).

Breanna Stewart, UConn, 6-5, junior, Syracuse, N.Y. 17.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.6 blocks (35, 175).

Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina, 5-9, junior, Charlotte, N.C., 14.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.9 apg, 49.9 fg pct. (27, 159).

Nina Davis, Baylor, 5-11, sophomore, Memphis, Tenn., 20.9 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 58.5 fg pct. (21, 136).

Amanda Zahui B., Minnesota, 6-5, sophomore, Stockholm, 18.8 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 4.1 blocks, 55.5 fg pct. (20, 129).

Second Team

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, UConn, 5-11, senior, Anaheim Hills, Calif., 14.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 49.1 3pt pct, 52.8 fg pct (7, 104).

Kelsey Mitchell, Ohio State, 5-8, freshman, Cincinnati, 24.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.2 apg, 83.5 ft pct. (6, 97).

Elizabeth Williams, Duke, 6-3, senior, Virginia Beach, Va., 14.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 2.9 blocks (6, 91)

Moriah Jefferson, UConn, 5-7, junior, Glenn Heights, Texas., 12.4 ppg, 4.9 apg, 2.6 spg, 59.6 fg pct (6, 87).

Brittany Boyd, California, 5-9, senior, Berkeley, Calif., 13.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 6.8 apg, 3.0 spg (3, 48).

Third Team

Lexie Brown, Maryland, 5-9, sophomore, Suwanee, Ga., 13.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.6 apg, 82.7 ft pct. (1, 42).

Samantha Logic, Iowa, 5-9, senior, Racine, Wis., 13.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 8.1 apg (38).

Jillian Alleyne, Oregon, 6-3, junior, Fontana, Calif., 18.4 ppg, 15.2 rpg, 57.6 fg pct. (2, 32).

A’ja Wilson, South Carolina, 6-5, freshman, Hopkins, S.C., 13.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.7 blocks, 53.2 fg pct (28).

Ruth Hamblin, Oregon State, 6-6, junior, Houston, British Columbia, 12.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 3.8 blocks, 58.0 fg pct. (1, 24).

Reshanda Gray, California, 6-3, senior, Los Angeles, 17.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 56.5 fg pct. (24).

Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order)

Lindsay Allen, Notre Dame; Morgan Bailey, BYU; Adut Bulgak Florida State; Cierra Burdick, Tennessee; Blake Dietrick, Princeton; Lexi Eaton, BYU; Makayla Epps, Kentucky; Tia Faleru, Mississippi; Chelsea Gardner, Kansas; Chastity Gooch, WKU; Dearica Hamby, Wake Forest; Alex Harden, Wichita State; Isabelle Harrison, Tennessee; Brittany Hrynko (1 first-team vote), DePaul; Niya Johnson (1), Baylor; Ashia Jones, UT-Martin; Jonquel Jones (1), George Washington; Jordan Jones, Texas A&M; Betnijah Laney, Rutgers; Vicky McIntyre, Oral Roberts; Mariya Moore, Louisville; Amber Orrange (1), Stanford; Kelsey Plum (1), Washington; Aerial Powers, Michigan State; Shereesa Richards, Albany; Porsha Roberts, Stephen F. Austin; Stacia Robertson, High Point; Leticia Romero, Florida State; Ka-Deidre Simmons, Seton Hall; Morgan Tuck, UConn; Brianna Turner, Notre Dame; Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State; Courtney Walker, Texas A&M; Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Maryland; Aleighsa Welch, South Carolina; Courtney Williams, South Florida.

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SEC Network to televise Gamecock’s Pro Day

SEC Network to televise Gamecock’s Pro Day

Posted on 31 March 2015 by Allen


The University of South Carolina’s annual Pro Day will be televised live on the SEC Network, beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday from Williams-Brice Stadium, it was announced today.

Maria Taylor and college football and NFL draft analyst Kevin Weidl will be on site to host the two-hour show.

South Carolina’s Pro Day, which draws personnel and scouts from every NFL team, begins at 10 a.m. in the Crews Building weight room area, with each participant being measured, then tested in the vertical and broad jumps, before finishing with the 225-pound bench press.

The participants will then move to the field where they will run the 40-yard dash and take part in various shuttle runs, before going through a series of individual drills specific to their position.

Seventeen draft-eligible Gamecock players are slated to participate on Wednesday, including Rory Anderson, Damiere Byrd, A.J. Cann, Ryland Culbertson, Mike Davis, Patrick Fish, Cody Gibson, Sharrod Golightly, Tyler Hull, Nick Jones, Kadetrix Marcus, Connor McLaurin, Sidney Rhodes, Corey Robinson, J.T. Surratt, Dylan Thompson, and Brison Williams.

Due to construction around the stadium, the event is closed to the general public.

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Skyhawks drop Finale to Govs, 6-3

Skyhawks drop Finale to Govs, 6-3

Posted on 29 March 2015 by Allen


Just one day after recording a pair of program milestones, the University of Tennessee at Martin softball team could not overcome a balanced threat from Austin Peay in the series finale – dropping the 6-3 decision.

The Skyhawks (15-14, 4-5 OVC) posted a pair of milestones on Saturday, seeing the program notch its 700th career victory while head coach Donley Canary continued to blaze new trails atop the coaching leaderboard at UT Martin, picking up his 450th win.

With the glitz and glam of Saturday in the rear-view mirror, the Skyhawks would battle back to tie the game in the second inning before being held scoreless in the final five frames. Despite being outhit 9-8 on the day, Kacie Daugherty and Kelsey Dixon paced the home squad with two hits each. The senior duo of Dixon and Lauren Smith would each tally an RBI in the contest.

Three pitchers would see action in the circle for the Skyhawks while senior Casey Vincent (3-5) earned the hard fought loss in the contest. Vincent lasted three innings while allowing just two earned runs and striking out a pair. Elizabeth Wiegand also tossed three innings of relief while allowing one earned run. Brooke Kennedy held the Lady Govs hitless in her one inning of work.

Austin Peay (6-19, 3-7 OVC) would pick up the victory due in large part to the play of Chandler Groves with two hits and a pair of RBIs. Erica Inagaki and Courtney Brower also tallied a pair of hits on the day. Natalie Ayala picked up her third win of the season after allowing three earned runs and eight base hits.
The Lady Govs would come out of the gates with a boom, as Groves got the game started with a leadoff home run which cleared the scoreboard in left field, giving the visiting squad an early 1-0 advantage.

The visiting squad would push its lead out to three runs in the top of the second inning. The first two batters of the inning would reach base following an error and a bunt single before moving into scoring position following a ground out. The Lady Govs would tally a pair of runs in the inning with a single to left from Brower before Groves brought the third run home off a sacrifice fly to right field.

UT Martin would look to storm back in the bottom half of the inning, scoring the contest’s equalizing runs. The first four Skyhawk hitters would reach base to start the inning, including a walk and a trio of singles from Alicia Hansen, Dixon and Jodie Duncan to plate a run. Smith would later bring the second run home following a pinch hit sacrifice fly, scoring Hansen on the play. Shifty baserunning, including a pickle and fleet feet by Dixon, would result in the third run crossing the plate prior to the final tag being placed.

The Lady Govs would respond in the following half inning by retaking their advantage of an RBI single to right center from Morgan Hoeg to score Christiana Gable on the play and taking a 4-3 lead.

Austin Peay would put the game out of reach in the top of the fifth inning, pushing its margin out to three runs. The Lady Govs would notch a single from Inagaki through the left side to notch the team’s fifth run before ending the days scoring following an errant throw compounded with a wild pitch.

UT Martin will return to action on Tuesday, March 31 with a trip to Southeastern Conference opponent Ole Miss. Action from Oxford, Miss. is scheduled to get underway at 5 p.m.

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Teddy Holder KOs Thiago Silva at WSOF 19

Teddy Holder KOs Thiago Silva at WSOF 19

Posted on 29 March 2015 by Allen

Teddy Holder MMA

After a year and a half of stops and starts Teddy Holder kept his foot on the gas and capitalized on a once in a lifetime opportunity last night at WSOF 19. Holder was originally set to face Jake Heun in a light heavyweight tournament reserve bout but just four hours from showtime the Henderson, TN native was offered a spot in the co-main event against former UFC light heavyweight #1 contender Thiago Silva.

“A few hours before the show my phone rang,” explained Holder. “We were just about to leave to go to the venue. The World Series matchmaker told me that Matt Hamill had gotten sick and pulled out of his fight with Silva and asked me if I wanted it. I didn’t know what to think. We were a few hours from showtime and I was prepared to fight Jake Heun. I told him I’d call him back in a few minutes. I talked to Andy (Uhrich), my manager, and David (Ferguson) and decided to take it. I had nothing to lose. The opportunity was too good to pass up.”

Coming into WSOF 19 Holder hadn’t competed since August 2013. Ring rust wasn’t a factor as he pushed the pace for most of the fight and wound up getting a knockout of Silva in just two minutes.

“I felt I pushed the pace,” said Holder. “I had Thiago Silva backing up. That was big for my confidence. He hit me with some leg kicks but I answered those with some of my own. I was looking for the knockout.”

The fight wasn’t a cakewalk for “The Hitman”. Silva landed some ferocious leg kicks and hit him with a big right that seemed to do some damage.

“He did land the big right,” said Holder. “But honestly it didn’t really hurt me. Don’t get me wrong. He hits extremely hard. I took it and came right back at him. I was confident in my hands and when I landed that shot behind his ear he dropped. I knew I had to try to finish him because he’s such a dangerous guy. I couldn’t let him back to his feet. I just kept hitting him until the ref stopped it.”

With the win last night Holder improves to 9-1 and picked up his eighth straight first round finish. He also advances to the WSOF light heavyweight tournament finals and will face the winner of Rony Markes vs Dave Branch laster this year. But most importantly “The Hitman” created a buzz with the knockout of the former UFC star.

“A win over Thiago is huge for my career,” said Holder. “He’s beaten Feijao, Matt Hamill, Jardine and a lot of really good guys. He ever fought Rashad for the belt and took him to a decision. After the fight I went over to him and thanked him for the opportunity and told him I had grown up watching him fight and had so much respect for him. Look at it this way, once Hamill backed out Silva didn’t have to take a fight. He could’ve collected his show money and went home. But that guy has a heart of a champion and wanted to fight anyone because that’s the kind of competitor he is. He gave me an opportunity to fight him. He could’ve said no but he didn’t, and I’ll always be grateful to him for that. I had heard that they offered the fight to at least one other guy in the back before me so Silva basically told them that he would fight anyone last night. You have to respect a guy like that.”

Twelve hours after the big win Holder still hasn’t gone to sleep. He’s still taking it all in.

“Last night was amazing,” said Holder. “I couldn’t sleep even if I wanted to. I had over two hundred friend requests on Facebook this morning and I’ve got a bunch of new followers on Twitter too. When I get home I’m going to get back in the gym and keep getting better. I’m so blessed. I couldn’t have done it without Andy Uhrich. He was in my ear and had my mind right all night. I have to thank David Ferguson, Houston Lantrip and the guys at Memphis BJJ. There are so many people to thank, who have stood behind me like Merciless Fighter and Smith Chiropractic. I can’t remember everyone right now but I love you all. This win was for them.”

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Georgia Football Holds First Spring Scrimmage

Georgia Football Holds First Spring Scrimmage

Posted on 29 March 2015 by Allen


The Georgia football team conducted its first scrimmage of the spring Saturday afternoon at Sanford Stadium.

Saturday’s scrimmage was the seventh practice of the spring for the Bulldogs, and they will scrimmage against next weekend before the G-Day game on Saturday, April 11 at 2 p.m.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Brice Ramsey was 16-for-32 for 232 yards and two touchdowns, while junior Faton Bauta went 17-for-30 with a team-high 247 yards and a pair touchdowns. Jacob Park was 4-for-7 for 187 yards and a long of 69 yards.

“There were flashes by all of them at times,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt. “They just dropped back and knew exactly what to do and threw a beautiful strike or threw a hot route, but there were also times when you just shake your head a little bit. I think they all have to learn that not every play is going to be successful. Sometimes you have to throw it away. There are times we still hold the ball too long, which will get you beat.”

Redshirt sophomore A.J.Turman was the leading rusher with 87 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, while senior Quayvon Hicks ran for 71 yards on nine attempts, and Brendan Douglas had 14 carries for 30 yards primarily against the No. 1 defense.

Richt noted that sophomore Nick Chubb played every third down and did not have any stats during the scrimmage, focusing mainly on pass protection and route running. Senior tailback Keith Marshall was held out to a hamstring issue.

Senior Justin Scott-Wesley hauled in eight catches for 127 yards and a score, while redshirt freshman Matt Price had 129 yards and a touchdown on two receptions. Clay Johnson added five catches for 101 yards, and sophomore tight end Jeb Blazevich grabbed four catches for 57 yards and a touchdown.

Senior transfer Jake Ganus, led the way defensively with 10 tackles, an interception, pass break-up and a sack. Senior Chris Mayes tallied seven tackles, including two for a loss, and a sack, while junior Tim Kimbrough registered six stops. Sophomore cornerback Malkolm Parrish had five tackles and an interception.

Said Richt: “There were a lot of plays – more plays than we had a year ago the first time around. We scrimmaged a long time today. We are seven days in, and we’ve had our first scrimmage. We have lot of great film to watch and a lot of great teaching. I thought the guys tried to compete hard. It was a pretty clean game.”

Georgia will return to the practice field on Tuesday.

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Skyhawks top Belmont in extra innings

Skyhawks top Belmont in extra innings

Posted on 29 March 2015 by Allen


The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team notched its fourth straight victory this afternoon with a 5-4 walk-off victory against Ohio Valley Conference leader Belmont at Skyhawk Field.

With the win, the Skyhawks (8-16, 4-7 OVC) clinched at least a series win over Belmont for the first series win over a conference opponent since UT Martin defeated Tennessee Tech on March 23-25, 2012.

The Skyhawks were able to nab the win today behind a 10th inning double off the bat of Andrew Massey, who drove in Taylor Douglas with an opposite field shot down the right field line.

“We had an opportunity to win in extra innings,” UT Martin head coach Rick Robinson said. “That’s one of the huge advantages of playing at home. I love playing at home for the simple reason that you can give them one run when you’re up by one and still have an opportunity to win. Andrew stepped up with the clutch hit, which was one of the most clutch hits of the season because that wrapped up the series win against Belmont.”

Andrew Castillo finished a double shy of hitting for the cycle today, tallying three hits with two RBI’s and two runs scored. Taylor Douglas doubled to lead off the 10th and scored the winning run to cap off a two-hit, two-run and RBI performance. Pribble also scored a run while Fletcher Johnson came away with a multi-hit effort to lead the Skyhawks, who outhit Belmont by a 10-6 margin.

Senior right-hander Alex Martin pitched two scoreless innings to receive the win, improving to 1-3 on the season. Quinton Stevens started the game and tossed a season-high five frames, allowing three runs on only four hits. Jackson Zarubin also saw time on the mound today, accounting for three innings with zero hits allowed for UT Martin.

Belmont (12-11, 5-2 OVC) struck first with a pair of runs in the top of the first before Stevens held the Bruins off the scoreboard in the second. Belmont was able to take a 3-0 lead in the top of the third before the Skyhawks evened the score in the bottom half of the inning.

Pribble reached on an error with one out and Castillo followed with an RBI triple. Douglas then singled to make the score 3-2 and Zych would tie the game with an RBI single after Douglas stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch.

Stevens then took over, retiring the side in order in the fourth and holding the Bruins scoreless in his fifth and final frame.

UT Martin took its first lead of the contest in the bottom of the fifth, as Castillo connected on a one-out round tripper beyond the fence in left field to give the Skyhawks a one-run lead. It was the third homer of the season for Castillo and second in the last five days for the junior out of Kennewick, Wash.

Zarubin followed with a shutout sixth before sitting the Bruins down in order in both the seventh and eighth innings to keep the Skyhawk lead at 4-3.

Belmont tied the game in the top of the ninth but UT Martin escaped any further damage with a strikeout and caught stealing double play to end the Bruin threat.

Martin pitched through a scoreless 10th inning, thanks in large part to Castillo throwing out a baserunner trying to nab the extra base at third for the second out of the inning.

Douglas and Massey then doubled in the bottom half of the frame to give the Skyhawks the victory.

UT Martin will go for the sweep on Sunday, March 29 when they host Belmont for the series finale. The Skyhawks are expected to throw senior left-hander Carter Smith (1-3, 2.03 ERA) while Belmont’s probable starting pitcher is yet to be announced.

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MTSU Clinches Third Straight Weekend Series

MTSU Clinches Third Straight Weekend Series

Posted on 28 March 2015 by Allen

MTSU logo

Timely hitting and another gutsy pitching performance propelled Middle Tennessee (15-10, 7-1 C-USA) to an 8-2 win over Old Dominion (13-10, 3-5 C-USA) Saturday afternoon. With the victory, the Blue Raiders clinched their third consecutive league series win and remain on top of the C-USA standings. MT goes for the sweep tomorrow at Reese Smith Jr. Field with first pitch set for 1 p.m. CT.

Junior Ronnie Jebavy (3-for-4) tied his career high with three hits and extended his hitting streak to seven games. Jebavy, the team’s leader in multiple offensive categories, has hit safely in 22 of 25 games and leads MT with 15 multi-hit efforts. The speedy center fielder also swiped his league-leading 14th base.

Seniors Michael Adkins (1-for-3) and Jake Ingold (2-for-4) each produced three RBIs, while sophomore Kevin Dupree (2-for-4) and senior Dustin Delgado (2-for-5) also collected two hits apiece.

Junior Nate Hoffmann picked up his second win on the mound. The right hander gave MT its second straight gutsy performance from a starter in as many days, working out of tough situations to strand nine ODU runners. Hoffmann totaled a career-high six innings and allowed one run on five hits.

ODU began the game with a run on two hits off Hoffmann, but the Blue Raiders responded with three in the bottom of the first. Adkins was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Ingold followed right up with a one-out single to score two runs.

With the Blue Raiders leading 4-1 in the sixth, Dupree (2-for-4) delivered a clutch two-out, two-RBI single off the first pitch thrown from ODU reliever Adam Bainbridge to give MT a comfortable 6-1 lead.

Adkins also came up big with a two-out double in the seventh to push Delgado and Allen across, putting MT up 8-1.

ODU added a run in the eighth but that was all it could manage.

Monarchs’ starter Nick Hartman took the loss after giving up six earned runs over 5.2 innings.

Freshman RHP Blake Stansberry came back to form with 2.2 innings of one-hit relief.

The Blue Raiders outhit the Monarchs 11-6 as MT improved to 14-4 when registering more than six hits in a game this season. MT left just five runners on base.

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Tyndall Terminated

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Tyndall Terminated

Posted on 27 March 2015 by Allen


The University of Tennessee announced today that it has terminated its employment agreement with head men’s basketball coach Donnie Tyndall for cause. The decision was made based on information the university received during the NCAA’s investigation of another institution.

The university concluded that Tyndall is highly likely to be found responsible for serious (e.g., Level I and/or Level II) violations of NCAA rules that occurred during his tenure as head men’s basketball coach at another institution.

“It is disappointing that we have to take this action.” said Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart. “It is highly likely that Coach Tyndall will face significant penalties at the conclusion of the NCAA’s infractions process. We believe that this decision is in the best interests of the University of Tennessee.”

After going through the Bruce Pearl scandal a few years ago the Vols had to let Tyndall go. Rumor has it the former Vol’s head coach deleted emails on a Southern Miss account while he was the coach in Knoxville.

Belmont coach Rick Byrd is thought to be the front-runner for the job.

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Skyhakws to play at Evansville in CIT Semis

Skyhakws to play at Evansville in CIT Semis

Posted on 27 March 2015 by Allen


It was announced today that the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team will play at Evansville in the 2015 Postseason Tournament semifinals on Tuesday, March 31. Tipoff time from the Ford Center has yet to be announced but the game will be broadcasted live on CBS College Sports Network.

The Skyhawks are in the midst of a remarkable turnaround under head coach Heath Schroyer, a finalist for the Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year Award. After finishing with eight overall wins and a last-place finish in the Ohio Valley Conference last year, UT Martin is one win shy of tying the program record for single-season victories with a 21-12 record. The 13-win increase is tied for the fourth-best improvement in Division-I behind Temple (17), UC Davis (16) and Northern Iowa (15).

By the time that UT Martin and the Purple Aces tip off on Tuesday, the Skyhawks will be one of just 14 teams still alive in the hunt for a postseason championship. UT Martin has advanced to the CIT Final Four behind the first three Division-I postseason wins in school history, defeating Northwestern State (104-79), USC Upstate (60-49) and Eastern Kentucky (70-69) all on the road in the span of seven days. The Skyhawks now boast 12 road victories this season, which is tied for the most in the Division-I basketball ranks.

Alex Anderson has been UT Martin’s leading scorer in the postseason, averaging 19.0 points while connecting on 60 percent (15-for-25) of his three-point attempts. Twymond Howard is just behind at 18.0 points per game on 56 percent shooting (20-for-36) while Marshun Newell (14.3 points per game) and Deville Smith (12.3 points per game) have also averaged double-figures in the scoring column. Newell played the role of hero in the Skyhawks’ quarterfinal win at Eastern Kentucky, burying the game-winning three-pointer with 3.3 seconds left while Smith has led the team in rebounding (9.0 per game) and assists (6.0 per game) during the postseason run.

Evansville enters the contest with a 22-12 overall record after a home win over IPFW (82-77) and road wins over Eastern Illinois (83-68) and Louisiana (89-82) in the CIT. In his eighth season at the helm of his alma mater, Marty Simmons has guided the Purple Aces to their most victories since 1998-99.

The Purple Aces have been led by DJ Balentine, who leads the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring with 20.0 points per outing. The junior guard has elevated his game in the postseason with 30.7 points per game, including a pair of 35-point performances.

Evansville also boasts junior center Egidijus Mockevicius, whose 19 double-doubles ranked as the sixth-most in the nation this year. In CIT play, the 6-10, 225-pounder has averaged 14.3 points and 11.0 rebounds per outing.

Tickets are now on sale through the Evansville ticket office at (812) 488-2237. Skyhawk fans can ask for preferred seating in the UT Martin section, which is section 107. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for fans ages three through 17. Children age two and under get in free.

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EKU 2015 Soccer Schedule Announced

EKU 2015 Soccer Schedule Announced

Posted on 26 March 2015 by Allen


Head coach Melissa Barnes released the Eastern Kentucky University soccer team’s 2015 schedule on Thursday.

After a home exhibition versus Mercer (August 13) and an away exhibition at Wright State (August 16), EKU will open the fall season on August 21 at Western Carolina. The Colonels defeated the Catamounts, 1-0, in their season opener in Cullowhee, North Carolina last year. Freshman Emmi Carroll scored the game-winner on an assist from sophomore Mikayla Brillon in the 70th minute.

EKU will then play at UNC Asheville (August 23) before returning home to host Cleveland State in its home opener on August 28. Following another home game against UNC Greensboro on August 30, the Colonels will play their next three games on the road: at East Tennessee State (September 2), at Marshall (September 6) and at Xavier (September 13).

In all, five of the Colonels’ first seven games will played on the road.

Eastern will then close out the non-conference season with a home game versus Kent State on September 18.

“We are very excited about our fall schedule,” Barnes said. “We know this schedule will prepare us for conference play and ultimately to qualify and compete for an OVC title. We will have a lot of freshmen again competing for significant playing time, so testing our team early is very important.”

EKU will open Ohio Valley Conference play at home on September 24 versus Murray State.

A crucial conference weekend could be October 9 – 11 when the Colonels host the last two OVC regular season champions – Southeast Missouri (October 9) and UT Martin (October 11) – at EKU Soccer Field.

The Colonels will close out the conference schedule at Jacksonville State on October 25.

The OVC Tournament will be held November 5-8.

Carroll, an OVC All-Newcomer team performer last fall, and junior Cassie Smith (team-best seven goals last fall) return to lead the Colonels in 2015.

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