Sunday, January 21, 2018

NSU Overcomes Late S.C. State Surge, Prevails 71-67

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina – Norfolk State women's basketball survived an upset scare at the hands of South Carolina State on Saturday and ultimately escaped with the 71-67 victory at the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.

Norfolk State (10-5, 3-0 MEAC) reached the 10-win plateau in only 15 games, which matches both the 2001-02 and 1999-00 teams for the quickest pace to double-digit wins in the program's Division-I era.

The Spartans won their first three MEAC games for the second-straight season, as last year's squad opened conference play 4-0.

NSU led by 10 after the first quarter and was up 19 early in the second quarter, but the Lady Bulldogs (6-11, 1-4 MEAC) refused to be buried and briefly led midway through the fourth quarter.

Down 15, 50-35, with 3:58 left in the third quarter, S.C. State went on an extended 21-5 run to take its lone lead of the game at 56-55 with 4:48 remaining in the fourth.

Bryesha Blair and Kyesha Lewis keyed the Lady Bulldogs run, scoring a combined 15 points in that span. Blair netted the first eight points in the fourth quarter for S.C. State, and Lewis laid it in to give her team the lead in the fourth quarter.

NSU broke the run with five-straight points, but Blair promptly cut the deficit to a single point on a 3-pointer at the 3:31 mark. Following two free throws by Raven Russell, S.C. State once again drew to within one, 62-61, but the Spartans responded with a 7-0 run to regain control of the game.

Russell's steady hand at the charity stripe was a major factor in the run as the junior guard made four-straight free throws at the 1:45 mark to make the score 69-61. For the game, Russell was a perfect 12-of-12 from the line as she becomes the first Spartan to not miss a free throw on eight or more attempts since Jordan Strode went 12-of-12 last season at Longwood.

The Millbrook, Alabama native joins three other players for the sixth-most free throws made by a Spartan in a single game and finished the game with 16 points and a season-high eight rebounds.

SCSU never relented and trimmed the lead to 69-67 in the final minute, but it proved too little and too late as Blair turned the ball over with less than five seconds remaining to seal the game.

Blair shared the game high in points (20) with Kayla Roberts. Roberts matched a career high with four 3-pointers while shooting 50 percent from the field (7-14) with seven rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal.

NSU built a 22-11 lead after one period with a tenacious defensive effort. The Lady Bulldogs made just one field goal on 11 attempts (9.1 percent) and turned the ball over six times.

As was the case for the entire game, S.C. State stayed afloat at the charity stripe and made nine of 13 attempts in the first period. For the game, the Lady Bulldogs attempted 10 more free throws than the Spartans and made seven more. Norfolk State shot a season-best 81.8 percent (18-22) from the line, while SCSU shot 78.1 percent.

Norfolk State scored 10 of the first 12 points of the second quarter for its largest lead of the game, 32-13, with 7:17 left in the half. Gabrielle Swinson scored four of her 11 points during the run, and Alexys Long and Armani Franklin both made a trey.

Following a long ball by the Lady Bulldogs, Alexis Sparkman hit from long range to push the lead back to 19 with 4:45 on the clock. From there, S.C. State closed out the half on a 10-2 run and trailed 37-26 at the break.

After missing their three attempts in the first quarter, the Lady Bulldogs shot 3-of-4 from 3-point range in the second and finished the game 8-of-16 from deep. Norfolk State shot 9-of-20 (45 percent) from beyond the arc.

NSU won the rebounding battle 36-30 behind a career-high 10 boards by De'Janaire Deas. Esther Udonsi led SCSU with six rebounds.

The two teams combined for 45 turnovers with the Spartans giving the ball away 24 times. NSU scored 32 points off turnovers while the Lady Bulldogs netted 29 off Spartan giveaways.

Norfolk State recorded more blocks than its opponent for the 13th time in 15 games, 6-3. Deas led the Spartans with two rejections.

NSU completes its southward swing on Monday against Savannah State at 6 p.m.



Five in a row: Southern's women blitz Alabama State's zone defense to extend winning streak

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana -- From Saturday’s opening tip in Southern’s 66-58 win against Alabama State, the Hornets shrunk into a 2-3 zone to dictate Southern's scoring opportunities.

The Hornets' plan was to limit layups and force the Jaguars to put it up from outside.

Southern, which was shooting 24.9 percent from 3-point territory going into the game, overcame the zone to improve to 7-9 and 6-1 against the Southwestern Athletic Conference while winning its season-high fifth straight game.

When it couldn't penetrate, Southern’s offense connected on 5 of 17 3-point tries. When it could, the Jaguars piled on 28 points in the paint, a third of their offensive production.

“The zone,” Southern star forward Briana Green said, “that’s something we’ve kind of been struggling with all season. I don’t think we did exceptionally well against the zone. I think we can (do) better.”

Alabama State (4-13, 2-4) sat in the compacted zone throughout Saturday, enticing long-distance shots and removing near-the-rim looks, which Southern prefers.

“We weren’t solid against the zone,” coach Sandy Pugh said. “We weren’t getting the ball to the high post. We weren’t very effective. I thought we were standing, very tentative against the zone.”


BCU matches best MEAC start ever at 5-0

DOVER, Delaware -- Brandon Tabb scorched Delaware State with 27 points, and Isaiah Bailey nearly matched him with 23 as Bethune-Cookman University took an 86-78 decision Saturday at Memorial Hall. The Wildcats (11-9) earned their sixth straight victory and matched a program-best 5-0 start in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play.

Despite a 42-29 lead at the break, the hosts rallied back and tied the game at 50 on a Joe Lewis lay-in at 11:50.

BCU would not be denied of its fourth consecutive road win as the Wildcats went on an 11-0 run capped off by Malik Maitland's jumper at 8:05.

A 9-0 Hornet (2-19, 0-6) run cut the lead to a basket on a Lewis field goal at 5:50, but the Wildcats came back with seven straight points in 49 seconds to hold a 68-59 advantage. Over the remainder of the game, Bailey made all six of his free throw attempts and Tabb sank his four to lead BCU to the 86-78 victory.

Shawntrez Davis joined the duo in double-figures with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds, while Maitland poured in 10 points.

BCU assisted on 14 of 24 made field goals with Tabb and Bailey each dishing out four, and shot 49% from the field and was 9-24 from beyond-the-arc. The Wildcats also sank 29 of their 35 free throws.

Tabb and Jeff Altidort each connected from three and BCU grabbed a 6-0 lead to open the game. BCU eventually extended its lead to nine as Tabb sank a three and converted an and-one for a 27-18 edge with 7:25 remaining in the opening half. A Bailey to Davis alley-pop capped the scoring with 1:29 to go as BCU held a 42-29 lead at intermission. The Wildcats shot 52% in the half on 13-25 shooting and held DSU to 12-33 from the floor.

The Wildcats continue MEAC action on the road with a Jan. 27 contest at Norfolk State.


Teamwork Leads Undefeated A&T Over UMES

PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland – North Carolina A&T has had trouble beating Maryland Eastern Shore lately. Therefore, North Carolina A&T women’s basketball coach Tarrell Robinson decided not to piecemeal the Aggies attack Saturday afternoon.

Instead, he sent Aggies at the MDES Hawks in waves, subbing in five at time throughout the game. As a result, the Aggies had 10 different players score in a 57-45 win at Hytche Center. The win snapped the Aggies four-game losing streak to the Hawks. The Aggies last win over the Hawks came at the Hytche Center, a 73-63 win on Feb. 1, 2014. In Saturday’s win, senior Kala Green and sophomore Cinia McCray led the group scoring with nine points apiece. Sophomore Le’on Hill was the top rebounder with 11, and sophomore Shantell Bostick dished out six assists. Hill played the most minutes, 28, while McCray played the fewest (14).

N.C. A&T (9-7) has now won five straight and they sit atop the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference standings at 4-0 with Bethune-Cookman in what looks like it is going to be an entertaining race with two other teams – Hampton and Norfolk – still undefeated in the conference at 3-0.

“I’m proud of this team, I’m proud of this win and I’m glad we’re still undefeated in conference play,” said Robinson, who saw the Aggies improve to 4-0 in the MEAC for the first time in his six-year tenure. “It has been a while since we have been able to get a win over Eastern Shore. It was a hurdle we needed to get over.”

In beating MDES, the Aggies not only shared the offensive responsibilities, but they also swarmed the Hawks (4-14, 1-5 MEAC) defensively. The Aggies made it tough on MDES all night, holding the Hawks to 24.2 percent shooting. Offensive rebounding helped the Hawks stay in the game as they outscored the Aggies 15-3 in second chance points, but the Aggies would finally start making the Hawks pay for their misses in the third quarter.

Robinson used some of his quicker players such as sophomores C’Coriea Foy, Mikaya Wilson, Chrishyanah Alston and Bostick to take advantage of the MDES long misses. Robinson said he knew the Hawks would try to shoot their way back into the game from the perimeter. He told his team the long misses would be their opportunity to get out and run. They listened.

Wilson started the fun out on the break with a layup on a pass from senior Kayla Green. Wilson was fouled on the play and converted the free throw for the 3-point play to give the Aggies a 31-25 lead with 4:49 to play in the third quarter. The Aggies went running again when Green found senior Quenswayla Story open for a short jump shot and a 34-26 Aggies lead. N.C. A&T went ahead by double figures for the first time in the game as Bostick grabbed a defensive rebound and raced down the floor to set up Alston who then set up Foy for a layup and a 38-28 lead with 2:18 to go in the third.

Alston finished off the quarter by scoring on back-to-back baskets to give the Aggies a 44-33 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Aggies shot 50 percent in the third. In the fourth, MDES’ Martha Thompson got the Aggies lead under 10 for the final time in the game as she followed her own miss to get the Hawks to within nine at 44-35 with 8 ½ minutes remaining in the game. But the Aggies turned to their two seniors to put the Hawks away.

Green took a pass from McCrary and didn’t hesitate to put an open shot from three that explosively went through the net for a 47-35 Aggies lead. Another Story jumper gave the Aggies their biggest lead of the game, 14, at 49-35 with 6:50 to play.

“It’s real important that we’re able to get contributions from so many people, especially at this point in the season,” said Robinson. “I knew we had back-to-back games coming up, and I looked at how we performed against Morgan State with some of our young women playing heavy minutes last Saturday. As a result, we turned around and came out flat against Coppin State on Monday. I wanted to spread out the minutes a little more to make sure everyone got important minutes. I think that helped us win tonight.”

Jordyn Smith led the Hawks with 12 points and 11 rebounds. The Aggies will try to pick up another road win as they travel to Washington, D.C., to face the Howard Bison (7-11, 3-2 MEAC) Monday night at 5:30.



Edmead's Steal Keeps A&T Undefeated In MEAC Play

PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland -- North Carolina A&T is getting an education on playing in and winning close games, and thus far the Aggies are getting very high marks.

In their latest drama-filled, suspenseful thriller, the Aggies got a big 3-pointer from junior Femi Olujobi and critical steal from junior Aaren Edmead to down Maryland Eastern Shore 66-64 at Hytche Center Saturday evening. The win improves the Aggies to 12-8 overall and 5-0 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Aggies are now tied for first with Bethune-Cookman.

Olujobi led the Aggies with 17 points and six rebounds, while Edmead finished with 14 points and five assists. Senior Davaris McGowens scored in double figures for the seventh straight time as he ended the evening with 11 points and nine rebounds.

“I commend these young men because they never stop fighting,” said N.C. A&T coach Jay Joyner. “It took grit tonight because when you are sitting where we are sitting right now, everybody is going to be coming for you with their best shot every night. We can’t afford to take any nights off, so we’ll take this one and move on to the next challenge.”

In one season, the Aggies went from the team everyone wants to play to the team everyone wants to play for two very different reasons. A year ago this time, the Aggies were winless in the conference which provided opponents an incentive to want to play the Aggies. This season, the Aggies are undefeated in the league, providing teams with an incentive to want to be the first team to knock off N.C. A&T. The Aggies have a two-point over Morgan State, a 3-point win over Norfolk State and Saturday’s two-point over MDES.

“We keep finding different ways to win ballgames and that tells me these young men think they’re supposed to win. That’s a good thing for us right now,” said Joyner. “To know we know how to win tight games down the stretch is huge when talk about what it takes to win in March. Right now, we just have to go back to work and get better.”

N.C. A&T and MDES did engage in a back-and-forth game that featured 11 ties and 10 lead changes. After Hawks guard Logan McIntosh ripped down a rebound and sprinted down court to score in transition to give the Hawks a 54-49 lead with 8 ½ minutes remaining in the game, the Aggies and the Hawks traded big shot for big shot almost until the buzzer sounded. After McIntosh’s layup, Edmead started the fun with a 3-pointer to cut the Hawks’ lead to two. Edmead then intercepted a Miryne Thomas pass and took it down the floor for an easy layup to tie the game at 54 with 7:41 to play. On the Aggies next possession, Edmead found McGowens lurking wide open on the baseline and whipped a pass inside to him for an easy layup.

Hawks guard Ahmad Frost responded with a 3-pointer to help the Hawks regain the lead at 57-56 before fifth-year senior Denzel Keyes responded to that shot with his first 3-point make of the night to put the Aggies ahead with five minutes to play. MDES scored the next three points to recapture the lead, but Keyes, who is 6-for-11 from 3-point range in his last two games, connected on another 3-pointer to put the Aggies in front 62-60 with four minutes to play. MDES tied the game again as McIntosh waited patiently for a cutting Tyler Jones to enter the lane. McIntosh found the cutting big man for an easy layup to tie the game at 62 with 3:40 to play.

Ninety seconds later, with the shot clock running down, Olujobi spotted up for a 3-pointer near the Aggies bench and scored to give the Aggies the lead back with a little more than two minutes remaining.

“I believe in their ability to hit big shots because we have a very talented team,” said Joyner. “I think I have done a better job this year of giving the players the freedom to take those shots. We just want them to know we believe in them because ultimately, they are the ones out there playing the game. Femi’s three was huge. Keyes hit some big shots for us. I’m glad guys are confident enough to take those shots in the clutch.”

Frost kept the Hawks alive, however. After a great defensive effort by the Aggies in which they forced MDES into a bad shot, Frost snuck in for the offensive rebound and scored on the put back to bring the Hawks to within one. Edmead’s 3-pointer on the Aggies next possession went long with 19 seconds remaining give the Hawks a chance to win the game in the late seconds. But quick hands from Edmead forced a McIntosh turnover which led to Edmead making one out of two free throws to seal the win for N.C. A&T.

“I think tonight was great for Aaren Edmead’s confidence,” said Joyner. “He came up huge tonight, and he made the defensive stop we needed to win the game. I’m glad Aaren is figuring out how to score and facilitate for our team.”

McIntosh had 11 assists for MDES and Jones finished with 18 points. The Aggies travel to Washington, D.C., to face a Howard to team that is coming off an upset win over N.C. Central Saturday. The tip is scheduled for 8 p.m.



Savannah State holds off Hamptonm 103-101

SAVANNAH, Georgia -- In a game featuring two, teams on the verge of leaving the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, both squads tallied a combined 204 points and had five players score at least 20 points.

Alante Fenner's layup with 21 seconds left gave Savannah State a 100-99 lead and a pair of free throws by Zach Sellers increased it to 102-99 with 11 seconds remaining.

After Hampton's MaliqueTrent-Street made two free throws to get the Pirates within 102-101, SSU's Javaris Jenkins sealed the win with a free throw with six seconds left to give the Tigers a 103-101 win.

It was the first time SSU defeated Hampton since an 86-83 win on January 24, 2015. The series between Savannah State and Hampton dates back to the 1973-74 season.

Hampton (6-12, 1-2 MEAC) will be leaving the MEAC after this season while Savannah State will leave the conference following the 2018-19 season.

The Tiger Arena crowd of 2,219 saw Savannah State lead by one point at the half but the Pirates started the second period with a 17-3 run to go ahead 65-52 with 16:58 left in the game.

The Tigers chipped away at their deficit and found themselves down by eight with 10:44 showing. That led to Jenkins kick-starting a 17-2 run with a 3-pointer where five different players scored.

The SSU spurt gave them a 84-77 edge with 7:38 remaining.

Two free throws by senior Khallen Pinckett with 4:40 remaining pushed the Tigers lead to 93-83 but Hampton strung together a 16-5 rally of their own to grab a 99-98 lead with 50 seconds left.

Savannah State (7-13, 4-1 MEAC) led 49-48 at intermission. The first half featured six ties and eight lead changes.

A 3-pointer by Dexter McClanahan gave SSU their largest lead of the night at 37-22 with 6:30 left but Hampton used a 19-4 run to tie the game at 41 with 2:34 remaining.

Savannah State had three players to score at least 20 points. McClanahan had 25 points, Fenner added 22 and Jenkins had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Sellers chipped in 13 points.

The Tigers shot 42.3 percent from the floor, made 30.3 percent of their 3-point shots and shot 73 percent from the free throw line.

Hampton's Jermaine Marrow led all scorers with 29 points while Tren
t-Steet added 28.

The Pirates, who won the rebounding battle, 46 to 40, shot 52.6 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from beyond the arc and 61.0 percent from the free throw line.



'Get the job done': Southern withstands late Alabama State punch to earn third SWAC win

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana -- Southern can’t escape games like these.

These contests decided by one point, sometimes two, between the Jaguars and whichever Southwestern Athletic Conference opponent they face that night.

In Southern’s 63-61 win Saturday against Alabama State, the Jaguars avoided a crushing home loss in a game in which they never trailed.

Southern was taken to overtime by Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Mississippi Valley State in its previous two games.

These games — too close for Southern’s comfort — won’t go away.

“Knowing it's going to be tough, we've just got to keep grinding it out," said Eddie Reese, Southern's leading scorer with 14 points.

Forward Jared Sam added nine points, a quiet night by his lofty standards.

With 3.2 seconds to go, Alabama State guard Reginald Gee, who finished with a game-high 20 points, buried a 3-pointer multiple feet behind the perimeter arc, chipping Southern’s lead to 62-61.


TSU's Clark leads the way with career high 41 points versus MVSU

HOUSTON, Texas -- Donte' Clark (pictured above) scored a career high 41 points on 16-of-26 shooting including 7-of-12 from 3-point range and grabbed eight rebounds as the Texas Southern Tigers overcame a four-point deficit at halftime to top Mississippi Valley State 91-77 at the HPE Arena.

After trailing at the break Texas Southern responded with a big second half, outscoring MVSU 49-31 in the games' final stanza.

Trayvon Reed added a double-double with 15 points and a season high 17 rebounds and Brian Carey served as the floor general with 10 assists.

"I was happy with the intensity and sense of urgency that we played with in the second half," said TSU head coach Mike Davis. "We did a good job of sharing the basketball and we got back to playing fundamentally sound on the defensive end of the floor which was a key for us being able to get things turned around in the second half after we got out to a slow start."

The Tigers improved their league mark to 4-2 as they get set to host the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions who have undoubtedly been the surprise team of the conference so far this season as they enter Monday's game with an undefeated record in SWAC play (6-0).



GSU G-Men leaves little doubt in rolling past Tigers -- Hands Jackson State First SWAC Loss

JACKSON, Mississippi | The Grambling State University men's basketball team left little doubt on Saturday as GSU upended one of the two unbeaten teams in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), Jackson State, 72-45, at the Lee E. Williams Athletics and Assembly Center.

Grambling State (8-12 overall, 4-3 SWAC), winners of four straight, led from start to finish over Jackson State. GSU led 46-23 at the half and outscored Jackson State, 26-22, to pick up the SWAC win.

Ivy Smith, Jr., paced five Grambling State players in double figures as he finished just three assists shy of a triple-double. Smith tallied 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Anthony Gaston, the SWAC College Madness Player of the Week, tallied 16 points, seven boards, two assists and one steal. Axel Mpoyo registered 13 points and five rebounds, while Shirmane Thomas, the SWAC Player of the Week, recorded 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals. Diontae Jones chipped in with 10 points off the bench.

Maurice Rivers led Jackson State (9-11, 6-1) with 12 points as he was the lone JSU player to reach double figures.


View image on Twitter

.@GSU_TIGERS Wins Fourth Straight, Hands Jackson State First SWAC Loss -- 

Turning Point
Grambling State led 7-2 after a Smith jumper with 17:58 left in the first half, but Jackson State battled back and cut the margin to 11-8 after a River layup with 13:26 remaining.

Grambling State turned up the intensity and used a 20-5 run over the next six minutes to grab a 31-13 advantage with 7:05 left. The lead stretched to 39-19 after a Jason Perry-Murray dunk with 3:56 remaining and GSU took a commanding 46-23 advantage into the second half.

Jackson State cut the deficit to 52-36 after two free throws by Rivers with 10:03 left, but that would be as close as they would get as Grambling State was able to had JSU its first SWAC loss.

Inside The Numbers
· Grambling State shot 50.9 percent (29-of-57) from the field and 66.7 percent (8-of-12) from the free-throw line.
· Jackson State was 15-of-60 (25.0 percent) shooting and 12-of-17 (79.6 percent) from the charity stripe.
· Grambling State finished with 46 rebounds, with 36 coming on the defensive end.
· Jackson State tallied 30 rebounds, including 10 off the offensive glass.
· Grambling State scored 28 points in the paint, 23 bench points, seven second-chance points and five points off turnovers.
· Jackson State recorded 18 bench points, 16 points in the paint, 11 second-chance points and 10 points off turnovers.
· Grambling State finished with just 10 turnovers.

News & Notes
· Grambling State has won the last three meetings over Jackson State, including sweeping the season series last year.
· Grambling State has now won four straight (Alcorn State, Prairie View A&M, Texas Southern and Jackson State).
· Grambling State began a three-game SWAC road swing on Saturday at Jackson State and will conclude the trip against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Jan. 27) and Mississippi Valley State (Jan. 29).

Up Next
Grambling State will have a week off before resuming action as GSU will visit Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday, Jan. 27. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in Pine Bluff, Ark.

Follow Grambling State Athletics
For complete coverage of Grambling State athletics, please follow the Tigers on social media at @GSU_Tigers (Twitter), /gramblingstateathletics (Facebook), @gramblingathetics01 (Instagram) or visit the official home of Grambling State Athletics at


Grambling State Football Walk-On Tryouts - Feb. 16

UAPB wins 6th straight SWAC game with 72-66 victory over Prairie View

Travon Harper finished with 7 points, 6 boards and 3 blocks in the win over Prairie View.

PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas - With his team leading by just two points on the road and less than 30 seconds remaining in the game, junior guard Martaveous McKnight did what he does best; drove near the free throw line and gave his defender a shot fake, sending him flying in the air while McKnight calmly drained the game-winning shot as his team produced a 72-66 road victory over Prairie View A&M. This marks the sixth straight Southwestern Athletic Conference victory for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff as it improves to a perfect 6-0 in SWAC play.

McKnight finished with a game-high 39 points on 13-of-20 shooting from the field to go along with six boards, five assists, three steals and one block in 38 minutes of action while teammate Trent Steen chipped in with eight points, three rebounds and two steals in 23 minutes. Fellow Golden Lion Travon Harper produced seven points, six rebounds and three blocks in the victory. McKnight finished a near-perfect 10-for-11 from the foul line.

UAPB led by 15 points at the break before the Panthers stormed back to cut its deficit to just two points late in the second half before falling at home. As a team the Golden Lions (6-13, 6-0 SWAC) shot 46 percent from the field while holding its opponents to 39 percent. UAPB hit 18-of-26 free throws while the Panthers (5-15, 2-4 SWAC) hit 16-of-26 from the charity stripe. Prairie View's Gary Blackston finished with a team-high 27 points, grabbed eight boards, dished out eight assists and had three steals in the loss.

UAPB returns to action on Monday, January 22 as it faces Texas Southern University in SWAC action. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. in Houston.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Gunshot kills WSSU student athlete at party on Wake Forest campus

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina -- A Winston-Salem State University football player was fatally shot early Saturday morning at a party at Wake Forest University, authorities said.

Najee Ali Baker, 21, died at a local hospital as a result of his wounds.

Baker, who transferred to WSSU in March 2017 from Dean College in Franklin, Mass., was a walk-on defensive lineman for Winston-Salem State's football team who red-shirted this past season. He is from Brooklyn, New York.

“I was shocked when I got the call and as a coach you never want to get this kind of call,” Coach Kienus Boulware said. “I spoke with Najee’s father and it’s a tough call to make to let him know that his son won’t be coming home."

Boulware said Baker would have likely had a chance to be a contributor this fall on the defensive line.

He said the WSSU team will meet at the Bowman Gray Stadium fieldhouse to talk about what happened. Counseling services will also be available.


Winston-Salem State University football player killed at Wake Forest party

Baker played football one season at Dean College in Franklin, Mass., 
before transferring to WSSU in 2017.
WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina -- Tragedy has struck the Winston-Salem State University community.

Najee Ali Baker, 21, was shot and killed at an on-campus party at nearby Wake Forest late Friday, according to Wake Forest University President Nathan Hatch.

“At approximately 1 a.m. this morning, Najee Ali Baker, a student at Winston-Salem State University, was shot during an altercation at a party on campus in The Barn,” Hatch said in a statement. “I am deeply saddened to report that the student later succumbed to his injuries. My thoughts and prayers this morning are with the student’s family, friends and classmates, as well as our Wake Forest community.”

Baker, from Brooklyn, N.Y., was taken to a local hospital where he later died. He was majoring in physical education, and he was a walk-on on the football team.

“I’m looking forward to contributing at Winston-Salem State,” Baker told the Winston-Salem Journal last March when he committed. “I’ve spent a lot of time in Charlotte and wanted to get back down south, so I’m very excited about this move.”


North Carolina A&T Aggies' victory tour continues with Governor's Mansion visit (video)

RALEIGH, North Carolina — The third stop on N.C. A&T’s Celebration Bowl victory tour took two busloads of football players and coaches to the stately Governor’s Mansion on Friday afternoon.

The unbeaten Aggies traded in their helmets and shoulder pads for suit coats and ties for their meeting with Gov. Roy Cooper, who signed a proclamation honoring the 12-0 team for the best season in the program’s 93-year history.

They munched on cookies and sipped sweet tea, wandering from posh room to posh room on the ground floor of the big brick building on Blount Street that opened in 1891.

“It’s nice, man. Really cool,” sophomore wide receiver Elijah Bell said. “Just think, one person gets to live here. I’m glad I got to see it. There’s a lot of history here. There’s history everywhere you look.”

A&T made history of its own this season. These Aggies were the first MEAC team to finish a complete season undefeated since the league was founded in 1971, ending the year with a 21-14 victory over Grambling in the Celebration Bowl in December.


HBCU Bands on parade at 2018 MLK day

The World Famed Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band To Perform at Dallas Mavericks’ Jan. 26 Game

DALLAS, Texas -- The “Best Band in the Land” is coming to the American Airlines Center.

The world famous will perform during halftime of the Mavericks game against Portland on Jan. 26. The special appearance is part of the Mavericks’ African American Heritage Night.

Doors open at 6 p.m. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.

African American Heritage Night is a fundraiser for and A portion of the proceeds raised from this special ticket offer will go toward scholarships provided by UNCF and NPHC.

During the game, the Mavericks, local Historical Black College and Universities (HBCU) alumni and the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc. – Dallas, will also host Greek Night for the Dallas alumni chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Beta Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho and Iota Phi Theta. All members of Greek organizations are encouraged to wear their Greek paraphernalia at the game.


Swag, speed and threes: Savannah State is the fastest team in college basketball

The Tigers lead the NCAA in three-point attempts and tempo, but miss a ton of shots. Still, that doesn’t bother them, and the style could lead Savannah State to a tourney appearance.

SAVANNAH, Georgia — A lot of folks say that the Golden State Warriors changed basketball with the way they use pace, space and a fire-at-will mentality from beyond the three-point arc.

It’s debatable whether that’s true or not - if Steph Curry and his fellow gunslingers truly altered the game - but what is an absolute fact is that they’ve started a trend. Take a look at the Houston Rockets, who are attempting 43.5 three-pointers per-game. Or try Villanova, Gonzaga or Marquette, who have all attempted more than 490 three-pointers this year.

And that trend has now trickled to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

The Savannah State Tigers are testing the limits of relying on the three-point shot as the primary way to score points. The result has been a mixed bag of ridiculousness and artistry.

Savannah State is both beautiful and bad, both admirable and awful, and always fun, fascinating and – at times for opposing teams – frightful, because if the Tigers get on a roll, they can be uncatchable and unstoppable.

“We just get up a lot of threes,” said junior guard Dexter McClanahan. “We come in and do what we do. That’s shoot three’s, play fast, and try to outrun ‘em.”


Friday, January 19, 2018

Xavier Openers are Saturday; Green nears coaching milestones

Coach Alan Green
NEW ORLEANS — Alan Green is on the verge of a pair of coaching milestones as he leads his Xavier University of Louisiana tennis teams into the 2018 spring semester.

Green, in his 15th season as coach of the XULA men and women, needs one dual-match victory to reach 200 in his career with the Gold Rush (men) and two victories to reach 200 with the Gold Nuggets. Green's career records: 199-134 with the men and 198-157 with the women.

XULA, a perennial NAIA power, will play its first dual matches at 2 p.m. Saturday against NCAA Division I's South Alabama at Mobile, Ala. The home opener for the Rush and Nuggets will be Jan. 28 — one week from Sunday — against city rival Loyola at XULA Tennis Center. Admission is free to all XULA home matches.

Both the men's and women's schedules again will feature a heavy dose of NCAA DI teams and ranked NCAA DII and NAIA opponents. Both teams will play defending NAIA champion Georgia Gwinnett during the Grizzly Invitational at Lawrenceville, Ga., Feb. 16-18. The XULA men will play defending NCAA DIII champion Emory during the Grizzly Invitational, and they'll visit last season's NCAA DII champion, West Florida, April 15.

he Gold Rush — the NAIA national runner-up in 2016 and 2017 and No. 2 in the 2017 postseason coaches poll — will play nine duals against NCAA DI (Louisiana-Lafayette twice, Abilene Christian, Jackson State, Jacksonville State, South Alabama, Nicholls State, Prairie View A&M, Jackson State), three against top-10 NCAA DII opponents (No. 1 West Florida, No. 4 Valdosta State, No. 10 Embry-Riddle [Fla.]), one against a ranked NCAA DIII opponent (No. 1 Emory) and six against ranked NAIA teams (No. 1 Georgia Gwinnett, No. 3 Keiser, No. 7 William Carey twice, No. 11 Mobile, No. 25 SCAD Atlanta).

The Gold Nuggets — ranked No. 1 a combined five times in 2012 and 2013 and No. 10 in the 2017 postseason — will play nine duals against NCAA DI (Louisiana-Lafayette twice, Grambling, Jackson State, Nicholls State, Prairie View A&M, South Alabama, Southern, Southern Miss), two against ranked NCAA DII opponents (No. 5 West Florida, No. 25 Valdosta State) and 11 against ranked NAIA teams (No. 1 Georgia Gwinnett, No. 6 William Carey twice, No. 8 San Diego Christian, No. 9 LSU-Alexandria twice, No. 13 Mobile, No. 14 Cumberlands, No. 15 SCAD Atlanta, No. 16 Arizona Christian, No. 17 Lewis-Clark State).

All NAIA team rankings are from the 2017 postseason polls. The first of nine rankings in 2018 will be announced Tuesday.

The NAIA National Championships will be played at Mobile, Ala., for the 15th consecutive season. The Gold Rush will attempt to qualify for nationals for the 10th consecutive year and the 10th time overall; the Gold Nuggets will try to qualify for the seventh consecutive year, the 10th time in 11 years and the 12th time overall.

Green expects his teams to be well-equipped to handle the demanding schedules. He has eight players with current or previous national or regional ITA rankings during their XULA tenures. The Gold Rush roster includes returning All-Americans Antoine Richard and Catalin Fifea, plus newcomer Samir Chikhaoui, ranked 19th in the NAIA in singles. Richard was third in the 2017 postseason singles rankings; Fifea currently is 42nd. Also back is Pierre Andrieu, who was 12th with Fifea in doubles at the close of 2017.

Two-time All-American Charlene Goreau returns for the Gold Nuggets, and she's ranked 23rd nationally. Also back for the XULA women are Yi Chen Pao, No. 50 in singles, and Lacee Ancar, who ranked as high as 12th last year in doubles. Newcomer Manon Bonada is 18th in the South in singles.

2018 XULA Tennis Schedule

BothJan. 20 (Sat.)at South AlabamaMobile, Ala.2 p.m.
MenJan. 27 (Sat.)at Louisiana-Lafayette  (DH)Lafayette, La.10 a.m./2 p.m.
WomenFeb. 3 (Sat.)at Louisiana-Lafayette  (DH)Lafayette, La.10 a.m./1:30 p.m.
WomenFeb. 8 (Thu.)at Southern MissHattiesburg, Miss.2:30 p.m.
WomenFeb. 9 (Fri.)GramblingBaton Rouge, La.3 p.m.
WomenFeb. 10 (Fri.)LSU-AlexandriaAlexandria, La.Noon
BothFeb. 16-18
Grizzly InvitationalLawrenceville, Ga.TBA
BothFeb. 21 (Wed.)at Nicholls StateThibodaux, La.1 p.m.
MenFeb. 22 (Thu.)Prairie View A&MBaton Rouge, La.2 p.m.
BothFeb. 23 (Fri.)at MobileMobile, Ala.3 p.m.
BothMarch 2 (Fri.)at William CareyHattiesburg, Miss.3 p.m.
WomenMarch 8 (Thu.)at Arizona ChristianPhoenix, Ariz.4 p.m. MST
WomenMarch 9 (Fri.)Lewis-Clark StatePhoenix, Ariz.6:30 p.m. MST
WomenMarch 10 (Sat.)WestmontPhoenix, Ariz.Noon MST
WomenMarch 10 (Sat.)Ottawa (Ariz.)Phoenix, Ariz.6 p.m. MST
WomenMarch 11 (Sun.)San Diego ChristianPhoenix, Ariz.Noon MST
MenMarch 26 (Mon.)at Embry-RiddleDaytona Beach, Fla.3:30 p.m. EDT
MenMarch 27 (Tue.)KeiserOrlando, Fla.1 p.m. EDT
BothApril 14 (Sat.)Valdosta StatePensacola, Fla.3 p.m.
BothApril 15 (Sun.)at West FloridaPensacola, Fla.Noon
BothTBANAIA Unaffiliated Group
BothMay 15 (Tue.)-
May 19 (Sat.)
NAIA National ChampionshipsMobile, Ala.TBA
(DH) doubleheader
Home matches (in bold and CAPITAL LETTERS) are played at XULA Tennis Center (capacity 200), Xavier University campus, New Orleans
TBA — to be announced
All times are Central, except where noted
Schedule is subject to change

Ed Cassiere, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications