Thursday, March 23, 2017

Gold Rush beat OBU, extend home win streak to 16 duals

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier University of Louisiana continued its home success, and Antoine Richard and Catalin Fifea defeated regionally ranked singles players Wednesday in a 5-2 men's tennis victory against Ouachita Baptist.

The XULA men (8-3), ranked second in the NAIA, won for the 16th consecutive time at XULA Tennis Center and the eighth time in their last nine dual matches overall. It was the fifth Gold Rush victory of the season against a ranked opponent — the Tigers (3-8) are No. 39 in NCAA Division II.

Richard and Fifea won in singles and doubles. Fifea won 7-5, 6-0 against Juan Moncada, ranked 16th in the D2 Central Region, and Richard used a late surge to beat Lennart Lonnemann, ranked seventh in his region, 6-4, 7-5.

"Antoine was in a pretty good battle," XULA coach Alan Green said. "He got down in the second set, got down mentally, but he overcame that and put together five good games in a row to close out his match."

Karan Salwan got the other XULA singles victory, a 6-1, 6-1 decision against Dan Kaplun. Salwan and Fifea have 6-match singles win streaks.

Richard and Moses Micheal won 9-8 (7-0) against Moncada and Luis Chab, and Fifea and Adam Albrecht — paired for the first time in doubles — rallied from 5-2 and 7-4 deficits to defeat Andre Stefano and Braydon Montgomery 9-8 (7-4).

Next for the Gold Rush will be a noon dual match April 8 at Jackson State.

NOTES: The Gold Rush are 3-0 at home this season after going 7-0 in 2016 and 6-0 in 2015 . . . The XULA men are 19-7 against ranked opponents (all venues) the last three seasons . . . Green said he added Grambling to the Gold Nuggets' schedule. They'll meet at 1 p.m. April 1 at Alexandria, La. As a result, the XULA dual that same day with LSU-Alexandria moved to 9 a.m. Alexandria City Courts will be the site of both duals.

Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Coppin men's basketball coach Michael Grant let go

BALTIMORE, Maryland -- Michael Grant will not return as Coppin State's men’s basketball coach after three losing seasons, the university announced Monday morning.

Coppin State University athletic director Derek Carter, in a news release saying that Grant's contract will not be renewed for the 2017-18 season, said a national search will begin immediately.

While expressing his disappointment at being unable to continue to coach the Coppin State men’s basketball team, Grant said he understood the university’s decision.

“Whenever you lose your job or you’re not going to be renewed where you’ve spent the last three years there, you’re invested,” Grant said Monday morning. “It’s not like I was here for a year and left. I’ve been here for three years and I moved my family here and became rooted in the community. So yes, I’m disappointed, but as I said before, it’s all part of the business, and this is the business I signed up for, and if you’re in this business long enough, you’re going to get let go. That’s just the way things go.”


S.C. State opens spring football workouts

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina -- The upcoming college football season begins to take shape for South Carolina State this week.

The Bulldogs will begin their quest for a 17th Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship on Tuesday (Mar. 21), when the team kicks off spring football practice a little while before daylight.

Coach Buddy Pough's team will conduct 15 practices, which will culminate with the annual Garnet and Blue spring game on Saturday, April 15. The contest will kick off at 1 p.m. at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium and admission is free.

The 2016 Bulldogs team closed out a 5-6 season with a 28-0 home win against Bethune-Cookman. Then last month, on National Signing Day, the program signed 22 players, all from the state of South Carolina.

"We are ready to see this team develop for the 2017 year," Pough said recently. "The difference in this year's team and last year's team is that team was probably a more experienced team and we had a better idea about some of our personnel.


Bethune-Cookman, men’s basketball coach Gravelle Craig parting ways

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida -- After six seasons, there's a vacancy in the Bethune-Cookman men's basketball program.

Following a down 2016-17 season, the Wildcats and Gravelle Craig agreed to part ways late Monday evening, ending the 46-year-old's run as the program's head basketball coach.

Craig's contract was set to expire at the end of the month.

"At the end of the season, we sat down as always to evaluate the state of our program," said Lynn W. Thompson, B-CU Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics. "After discussion, Coach Craig and I arrived at the decision that the timing was right for him to pursue new career opportunities. We are grateful for his leadership and the impact that he had on our student-athletes during his tenure, and we will move promptly to focus on the right coach who will build upon the foundation that Gravelle Craig put in place here."

The former Cleveland State guard took over the program in 2011, and compiled a 74-123 record during his six-year run. During his first season, Craig helped the Wildcats to the 2012 MEAC title game against Norfolk State. The following year, B-CU advanced to the MEAC semifinals.


N.C. A&T’s Cohen feels he measures up

GREENSBORO, North Carolina – The 5-foot-6, 179-pound stature of former North Carolina A&T running back Tarik Cohen has long been an issue surrounding his potential future in the NFL.

He sizes it up differently.

“I wouldn’t be the player that I am if it wasn’t for my size,” he said.

Appearances aside, Cohen’s heart and desire measure up to an NFL level, and so could his performance.

Considered a late-round possibility for the April 27-29 draft, the speedy Cohen is viewed as a change-of-pace type of back, a la the similarly sized Darren Sproles of the Eagles, although he also patterns himself after Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Like both of those players, he envisions a dynamic role that puts his many skills to work.

“I can play in the backfield, out of the backfield and in the special team game,” he said. “Any part of the game that can get the ball in my hands will be great.”


Sunday, March 19, 2017

119-30! Baylor women open with most-lopsided NCAA Tournament win ever over TSU

WACO, Texas -- By doing the things that coach Kim Mulkey had been emphasizing since a rare Big 12 Tournament loss, the Baylor Lady Bears opened the women' NCAA Tournament with an overwhelming record-setting performance.

It also helped that the Lady Bears, with three post players at least 6-foot-4, were much bigger than NCAA first-timer Texas Southern.

Beatrice Mompremier had 22 points with 11 rebounds, Kalani Brown scored 21 points and freshman post Lauren Cox from Flower Mound had 17 as the Lady Bears defeated Texas Southern 119-30 on Saturday night in the most lopsided women’s NCAA Tournament game ever. Baylor’s 119 points were the most ever in regulation of a tournament game.

“That work we’ve put in since the tournament championship game, I think you saw it today,” said Mulkey, whose team lost in the Big 12 championship for the first time in seven years.

“You saw post players feeding each other better than they have all year. I think you saw production from people immediately when they came in the game,” she said. “It’s just been an emphasis to continue to work on your defense.”


Nearly a champ, TSU Mike Davis now just wants to win one NCAA game

GREENVILLE, South Carolina — Fifteen years ago this month, Mike Davis coached a team that unhorsed No. 1 Duke in the Sweet 16, the Duke presumably destined for a second consecutive title. Eleven days later, Davis led Indiana into the NCAA championship game against Maryland in the Georgia Dome. He was 41. It was his second season as a head coach.

On Friday, Mike Davis coached a team that had no chance. His Texas Southern Tigers faced top-seeded North Carolina. If you’re a No. 16 seed, the one team you don’t want to be paired against it’s the Tar Heels, who are too big and too smart and too focused to trip over a mouse.

The final score was 103-64. It could have been anything. Texas Southern led twice – at 7-6 and 10-8. Carolina led 24-10 at the second at the second TV timeout. And that’s enough – too much, really – about the game.

The ol’ roundball can take odd bounces. Steve Fisher won an NCAA title and made three Final Fours at Michigan and wound up at San Diego State. As we know, Paul Hewitt took Georgia Tech to the 2004 title game. Within 11 years, he’d be fired by both Tech and George Mason. Larry Brown, owner of an NCAA and NBA title, landed at SMU. (Then, being Larry Brown, he quit.)

Davis’ career path is the oddest. He was pressed into service as Indiana’s head coach when school president Myles Brand fired Bobby Knight in September 2000. Years later, he’d concede that he hadn’t been ready. Still, he looked pretty primed when the Hoosiers beat Duke and then Kent State and then Oklahoma to reach the NCAA final. You know the saying, “Fake it till you make it”? Davis had made it.