by Cheval John
University of California-Irvine Anteaters opened the 2012 Progressive Sub-Regional Round with a 65-46 win over the Liberty Flames.
The win upped the Anteaters’ record to 2-1 for the season while the Flames are 0-3.
Daman Starring led UC-Irvine with 12 points and three rebounds. Chris McNealy contributed with 10 points, 3 assists, and two rebounds.
The first half started off competitive as both teams trade a total of 12 points in the opening minutes.
The Flames went on a 9-7 run to increase to lead 17-13.
But the Anteaters answered with an 18-7 run to have a 30-24 lead by halftime.
From there, Irvine blew the game wide open with a 14-6 run to increase their lead at 44-31 thanks to a pair of baskets by Starring, John Ryan, Will Davis II and Conor Clifford.
They went on to cruised to an easy 64-46 win.
Davon Marshall led the Flames with 12 points, 4 assists and three rebounds. Tavares Speaks followed with 11 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and a steal.
The Flames shot 33% from the field and made six free throws out of sixteen attempts.
Courtesy: Paul Ridings, Jr., SHSU Sports Information
Sam Houston State will host three top NCAA Division I opponents in November as SHSU participates in the Progressive Legends Classic Nov. 19-21.
UC-Irvine, Liberty and Southern Mississippi will visit Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum in Huntsville for the event.
The tournament will feature a round-robin schedule with two games each evening.
Southern Mississippi defeated Georgia in overtime Thursday and brings a 3-0 record into the tournament.
UC-Irvine is 2-1 with the Anteaters’ only loss by one point to UCLA in overtime.
Monday will see Sam Houston host Southern Mississippi while Liberty and UC-Irvine match up.
On Tuesday, the Bearkats play Liberty and USM and the Anteaters battle.
On the final evening of the tournament, Sam Houston takes on UCI and USM and Liberty face.
“Having the opportunity to play three outstanding NCAA Division I teams on our home floor here in Huntsville is really exciting,” Hooten said.
“It’s great for our program and it’s great for area fans.”
Southern Miss has been to Huntsville once, with the Bearkats winning 61-57 in 2005.
Last season the Golden Eagles finished 11-5 and second place in Conference USA play.
They finished the year 25-11 overall and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, earning the No. 9-seed.
They lost their opening game to Kansas State 70-64.
The Kats and Golden Eagles have faced each other twice, with each winning once.
UC-Irvine visited Johnson Coliseum in 2007 where the Kats pulled off a 61-54 win.
Last season the Anteaters were 12-20 overall and 6-10 in the Big West.
They won the Big West Conference Tournament opening game over first place Long Beach State, before losing in the semifinals to Loyola Marymount.
The Kats and Anteaters have faced each other twice, with each taking care of business at home.
Liberty was the fifth place team in the Big South last season, finishing the year 9-9 in league play and 14-18 overall.
They finished the regular season strong, winning five of their last six games, before losing in the opening round on the Big South Tournament to Charleston Southern.
This will be the first meeting between the Bearkats and the Flames.
Capsules on the Bearkats’ four 2012 Progressive Legends Classic foes:
Liberty Flames – Head Coach: Dale Layer (Big South Conference)
The Flames look to improve upon their 14-win season of a year ago…fourth-year head coach Dale Layer, who has won over 300 games during his coaching career, welcomes back three starters, each of whom averaged double figures – junior guard John Caleb Sanders (11.6 ppg), senior forward Antwan Burrus (11.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg), and senior guard Tavares Speaks (10.2 ppg).
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles – Head Coach: Donnie Tyndall (Conference USA)
Donnie Tyndall takes over at Southern Miss after leading Morehead State to 114 wins and three straight 20-win seasons in his six years…Tyndall inherits a team that went 25-9 last season and earned its first NCAA bid in 21 years…two starters are back, as is leading scorer Neil Watson, who netted 12.3 ppg as a sophomore…seniors Jonathan Mills (9.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Rashard McGill (2.6 ppg) started for the Golden Eagles in 2011-12.
UC Irvine Anteaters – Head Coach: Russell Turner (Big West Conference)
After a season as one of the youngest teams in the nation, UC Irvine returns five starters from a squad that went 12-20 in 2011-12…third-year head coach Russell Turner will rely on the trio of senior forward Michael Wilder (11.5 ppg), senior guard Damon Starring (11.4 ppg, 100 assists), and junior guard Chris McNealy (10.2 ppg) to lead the Anteaters into the postseason for the first time since 2001-02.
by Cheval John
The Sam Houston State Bearkat football team knew that it was not going to be easy to make it back to Frisco.
After starting the season at 1-2, they won seven straight games to get consideration for the NCAA FCS playoffs and in the process clinched a share of the Southland Conference title with the Central Arkansas Bears.
The Bears received the automatic bid and will have a bye as well before they go on the road against No.5 Georgia Southern on Dec.1.
The 47-28 loss to Texas A&M yesterday didn’t hurt them as they were one of the final ten to be selected for the 20-team field in the FCS playoffs that’s set to begin this weekend.
The Bearkats finished the season overall at 8-3 and will have a bye before hosting Cal Poly Mustangs on Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. central on ESPN3.
“We’re very proud of being in the field of 20,” head coach Willie Fritz said.
“We wanted to be a team that is in national contention year after year. … .We’d liked to have been higher, but that’s just the way it is.”
This marks the second year in a row that the Bearkats have made the playoffs in their 26 years at the NCAA Division I level.
What’s more impressive is the fact that they only had three home games for the entire season.
“It’s a very hard thing to do and we’re just happy that we came out on top in all of those games,” senior running back Vincent Dotson said.
Last year, they went to the FCS National Championship Game in Frisco, Texas at 14-0 before losing to the North Dakota State Bison in the finals.
The Bison finished the season at 10-1 and were selected as the No.1 seed for the playoffs.
The Bearkats are just content that they will have a chance to host a playoff game and will use the time to get ready for the Mustangs.
“They’re a triple option team and run it quite different than we do,” Fritz said.
“It’s going to be good for us to have the extra days to prepare.”
“I’m just happy that we have a home game,” Dotson said.
“It will be a great advantage for us and will be a great crowd.”
Tickets goes on sale tonight at 6 p.m. and can be purchase online at gobearkats.com/tickets.
Courtesy: Paul Ridings, Jr., SHSU Sports Information
Lynchburg, Va. – Britni Martin scored 17 and three other Bearkats totaled double figures as Sam Houston State defeated Grambling State of the Southwestern Athletic Conference 73-55 in the second consolation game in the preseason Women’s National Invitational Saturday afternoon.
Anglea Beadle tallied 13 points, Jazmin Wiley added 11 more and Sequeena Thomas scored 10 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as the Sam Houston women picked up their first win of the season.
The Bearkats lost to No. 10 Delaware in the WNIT first round and Sacred Heart in the first consolation contest.
The WNIT consolation games were played on the Liberty University campus.
“The team came out with intensity and fire,” head coach Brenda Nichols said.
“I’m proud of how the team pulled together for the win”
Grambling State (0-3) led 20-16 with 7:47 remaining in the first half.
Beadle put in a layup to start a 10-0 run by the Bearkats.
Jasmine Johnson’s layup put the Kats up 26-20 at the 4:03 mark.
Sam Houston never trailed again.
The Bearkats outscored the Tigers 40-27 in the second period.
Sam Houston had its best shooting performance of the season, hitting 28-of-65 from the field (43.1%).
The Kats outscored Grambling State 44 to 26 in the paint.
Sam Houston continues its road journey, playing the Nebraska Cornhuskers Wednesday in Lincoln.
The Bearkats play their first regular home opener Friday, November 30, against Texas A&M-Commerce in the annual “Pack the House” game at 11 a.m.