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Game Results—Dec. 25-31

Western Illinois (6-4)—72, William & Mary—48 (It took 10 minutes for Western Illinois to gain control but they ten progressively pulled away for the remainder of the game.  Sf James Johnson pumped in 21 points and PG Tom Daniel hit for 14 points while dishing out 7 assists.)

UC-San Diego (7-3)—64, Northwestern State—63 (Northwestern State held the lead for the first 13 minutes.  The Tritons then went on top for the next 22 minutes of the game.  But the Demons regained with 5 minutes to go and held onto it until PG Brian Thomas hit a 14 foot jumper with 2 seconds left to gain the one-point victory for UC-San Diego.  SG Craig Williams scored 12 points and C Shannon Van Hook had 10 points and 10 rebounds.)

Alcorn State (6-4)—92, Coppin State—70 (After the Braves gained their first lead 7 minutes into the game, they steadily expanded their lead until the buzzer sounded ending the game.  PF Will Friel had 25 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists and PG Caleb Sanden scored 19 points.)

DePaul—72, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (7-3)—62 (Arkansas-Pine Bluff hung with DePaul for the first 29 minutes of the game but then faded as DePaul’s home crowd buoyed the Blue Demons.  C Chris Betts had 18 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 4 blocks.)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (8-3)—78, Tarleton State—75 (The first half totally belonged to the Golden Lions an they fashioned a 48-42 halftime advantage.  The Texans came back on their home court to go ahead 4 minutes into the 2nd half.  Arkansas-Pine Bluff wasn’t able to regain the lead until there were just 3 minutes remaining.  They held of for an exciting victory.  SF Dan Jefferson scored 26 points which included hitting 6 of 10 from beyond the arc.  C Chris Betts got sick during halftime, but reserve Jacob Allen replaced him to score 14 points and pull down 10 boards in his 17 minutes on the court.)

MD-Eastern Shore (6-4)—73, Florida State—70 (A HUGE road victory by the Hawks for a much more vaunted opponent.  Florida State led 37-32 after 20 minutes of play and then opened as much as an 11 point lead in the 2nd half.  But in the final 4 minutes the plucky Hawks made a game comeback and finally tied the Seminoles with 42 seconds remaining.  Florida State was unable to score inside and Travis Temple knocked down a long 3 with 5 seconds on the clock.  Florida State could only get off a desperation shot from nearly 30 feet away that was far off the mark.  C Dwayne Bullett scored 20 points.)

Awards: Will Friel of Alcorn State was Conference T’s Player of the Week.

Significant Injuries: Back spasms are limiting Western Illinois’ C Craig Grant.  While he may play in the team’s next few games, his effectiveness Is likely to be affected.

Comments:  MD-Eastern Shore’s upset win over Florida State highlighted the week.  Coach Mike McMillan exclaimed after the victory, “No one thought we could win, particularly taking on the Seminoles in Tallahassee.  But our guys just wouldn’t give up even after Florida State put us in a big hole in the 2nd half.

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Game Results—Jan. 1-7

High Point—82, Western Illinois (6-5)—73 (The Leathernecks trailed from start to finish and lost this game primarily due to making 22 turnovers.  SG Marcelo Barker scored 17 points.)

Seton Hall—68, UC-San Diego (7-4)—60 (The Tritons led 37-28 at halftime, but couldn’t hold onto the lead as the Pirates took control in the 2nd half.  Seton Hall scored 9 more points at the foul line, but UC-San Diego’s 22 turnovers also led to their losing.  C Shannon Van Hook scored 11 points.)

Alcorn State (7-4)—78, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi—56 (Alcorn State was on top the entire game and totally dominated the Islanders in the 2nd half to bury them.  PG Caleb Sanden led the Braves’ scoring with 17 points.)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (9-3)—91, South Carolina State-68 (The Golden Lions had no problem handling the Bulldogs.  Arkansas-Pine Bluff led 60-37 at the half and eased their way through the 2nd half.  SF Dan Jefferson had 24 points and 7 rebounds and SG Kwame Mickens scored 22 points while dishing out 9 assists.)

MD-Eastern Shore (7-4)—58, Albany—52 (Even though the Hawks led the entire game, the game was close most of the way.  SF Jibran Hale had a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds.  Reserve guard Edouardo Gaultier also scored 12 points.)

Awards: none

Significant Injuries: none

Comments: At the conclusion of pre-conference play, all 5 coaches had their teams over .500.  Arkansas-Pine Bluff had the best record (9-3), but MD-Eastern Shore had the best NET ranking (21st best within Division I). 

Ken Yamoto (UC-San Diego): “My guys have played pretty well thus far.  All 4 of our losses were on the road.  SF Gregg Green is averaging 16.5 ppg and C Joe Roland has scored 10.4 ppg.  As a team we’re averaging 79.5 ppg which is 15th best in the country.  Our team has hit 51% of our FGA’s and 39% of our 3PA’s.  But we need to tighten our defense since our opponents averaged 75.5 ppg.  I like our chances in Conference V.”

Mike McMillan (MD-Eastern Shore): “We did damned well since every one of our 11 pre-conference games was on the road.  Next season we need to schedule a decent amount of home games.  Our biggest victory was over Florida State and we have won 5 of our last 6 games.  Our defense has been stronger than our offense.  But we have 3 players averaging in double figures: SG Travis Temple (12.4 ppg), SF Jibran Hale (11.5 ppg), and C Dwayne Bullett (10.0 ppg). Our top rebounders are Bullet (6.5 rpg), PF Tony Rueter (6..2 rpg), and Hale (5.6 rpg).  Our guys are excited to begin play in Conference U.”

Ramon Montez (Alcorn State): “We’re ready to take on what’s likely to be tough Conference T competition after doing well in pre-conference play.  2 of our losses were playing at Stanford and #6 ranked Providence.  We’ve outscored our opponents 74.9 ppg to 68.6 ppg.  After missing 4 games due to an injury, Caleb Sanden has returned to average 14.6 ppg.  C Gabriel Atwood is averaging 13.5 ppg  and 7.4 rpg while PF Will Friel averages 11.8 ppg and 5.8 rpg.  Our interior players have combined to score 41 ppg.”

Terry Morillo (Western Illinois): “Three of our 5 losses were by 2 points or less.  And although we lost to #9 Indiana and strong Georgia Tech, we nearly pulled off big-time upsets of both of those teams on their home courts.  We’re a good defensive team and don’t do bad offensively either.  So I think we can do well in Conference V.  Our top scorers are SG Marcelo Barker (13.0 ppg); C Jamar Curtis (12.51 ppg) who has also grabbed 6.5 rpg; SF James Johnson (10.6 ppg); and SF James Johnson (10.6 ppg).”

Donnell Spencer (Arkansas-Pine Bluff): “Pre-conference play was an excellent tune-up for going up against our Conference T opponents.  After losing our first 2 games, we’ve reeled off 9 victories in our last 10 games.  We’ve got the 5th best scoring team in Division I, averaging 81.2 ppg.  SG Kwame Mickens is having another strong season, scoring 14.6 ppg.  SF Dan Jefferson isn’t far behind with 14.3 ppg. And C Chris Betts is right on his tail with 13.9 ppg.  Mickens also is averaging 5.8 apg and 4.4 rpg.  Betts is our top rebounder (7.1 rpg).”

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Game Results—Jan 8-14

Conference V:

NJIT—66, Western Illinois (6-6, 0-1)—59 (Coach Morillo stated, “We got jobbed in this road game.  We outshot the Highlanders 46% to 43% and made 6 more FG’s than they did.  But we were sent to the foul line 22 fewer times and NJIT scored 19 more points on free throws.  Road games are tough enough without having that kind of discrepancy.”  SG Marcelo Barker scored 21 points.

Western Illinois (7-6, 1-1)—72, Maine—53 (The Leathernecks led the entire game, but it wasn’t until the 2nd half they were able to pull away.  SG Marcelo Barker and C Jamar Curtis both scored 17 points and Curtis had 11 rebounds to record a double-double.)

UC-San Diego (8-4, 1-0)—69, Central Connecticut—63 (The Tritons’ defense limited the Blue Devils to just 19 points in the first half and led by 9 at the break, but then both teams’ offenses clicked in the 2nd half.  UC-San Diego fell behind by 6 points with 10 minutes to play but the Tritons rallied to regain the lead and pull away in the final 6 minutes of play.  SF Gregg Green scored 20 points.)

UC-San Diego (9-4, 2-0)—91, South Dakota State—54 (The game was tied with 9 minutes to go in the first half, but UC-San Diego then shut down the Bulldogs defensively and their offense went into high gear.  By the end of the half they were up 52-34 and then continued to blow away the Bulldogs in the final 20 minutes. SF Gregg Green poured in 29 points, SG Chris Williams hit for 19 points, and PG Brian Thomas had 13 points plus 10 assists.)

Conference U:

North Dakota—80, MD-Eastern Shore (7-5, 0-1)—77 (While North Dakota held a 5 point lead at halftime, the two teams traded the lead repeatedly throughout the 2nd half.  But the Hawks, trying to send the game to OT, couldn’t make their 3 point shot in the closing seconds. SF Jibran Hale had 16 points and 8 rebounds.)

MD-Eastern Shore (8-5, 1-1)—73, Presbyterian—69 (The Hawks trailed 36-26 at the half, but 6 minutes into the 2nd half began to rally.  With 8 minutes to go MD-Eastern Shore tied the Blue Hose and went ahead by 10 points before nearly losing their lead in the final few minutes.  The top scorer was C Dwayne Bullett who had 21 points plus 8 boards.)

Conference T:

Central Arkansas—82, Alcorn State (7-5, 0-1)—79 (Alcorn State fell behind by 16 points in the first half and trailed by 9 at the break.  But the lead changed back and forth throughout the 2nd half.  Central Arkansas hit a 3 to win the game in the final 12 seconds.  PF Will Friel had 18 points and 9 rebounds before fouling out.)

Alcorn State (8-5, 1-1)—45, Southern—40 (A total and complete defensive battle the entire way.  But Alcorn State was in control the final 28 minutes of the game.  Reserve C Bernie Graham scored 15 points and grabbed 8 rebounds.)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (10-3, 1-0)—74, Southern—59 (The Golden Lions took over 4 minutes into the game and rapidly pulled away and led 49-28 at the end of the first half.  The team was never seriously challenged in the 2nd half.  SF Dan Jefferson scored 26 points and pulled down 7 boards).

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (11-3, 2-0)—76, Central Arkansas—68 (Central Arkansas led most of the first half, but the Golden Lions rallied late to achieve a 37-33 advantage at the break.  Arkansas-Pine Bluff led nearly the entire 2nd half.  SF Dan Jefferson tossed in 23 points.)

Awards: Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s Dan Jefferson was named the Conference T Player of the Week.

Significant Injuries: none

Comments:  UC-San Diego and Arkansas-Pine Bluff had great starts.  Both went 2-0 to start conference play.  The other 3 teams are 1-1 in conference play.  Dan Jefferson (Arkansas-Pine Bluff) and Gregg Green (UC-San Diego) both totalled 49 points in their two games.

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Game Results—Jan 15-21

Conference V

Florida A&M—82, UC-San Diego (9-5, 2-1)—69 (“We shot well (52%) and dominated the boards (+18).  Hard to believe we lost.  But…you gotta hold onto the ball and play defense.  And we had 28 turnovers and let the Rattlers score 51 points in the first half and hit 52% of THEIR shots the whole game,” said Coach Yamoto.  PF Jack Robinson had 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 1 block)

UC-San Diego (10-5, 3-1)—83, Maine—68 (The Tritons took an early lead and stretched it out.  Maine was tagged for 30 fouls which gave UC-San Diego a huge advantage on the foul line.  SF Gregg Green scored 18 points and PF Jack Robinson again had 18 points and 8 rebounds.)

Western Illinois (8-6, 2-1)—82, Merrimack—70 (Western Illinois held a small lead throughout most of the first half and left the court at intermission with a 41-38 advantage.  Merrimack came back to capture the lead early in the 2nd half.  But the Leathernecks stormed back to lead by as much as 17 before relaxing a bit for what turned out to be an easy victory.  With starting C Jamar Clark in foul trouble, reserve C Larry McClain filled in to lead the team in scoring (16 points) and rebounding (9 boards).)

Western Illinois (9-6, 3-1)—76, Florida A&M—70 (The Leathernecks got ahead early to take the Rattlers’ home crowd out of the game and held off a late run by Florida A&M.  SF James Johnson hit for 18 points.)

Conference U

MD-Eastern Shore (9-5, 2-1)—71, Nicholls State—51 (Big road win for the Hawks.  The game was oh so close the entire first half, but MD-Eastern Shore came out in the 2nd half on a mission and rapidly pulled away as they outshot the Colonels 51% to 39% and were +13 on the boards. C Dwayne Bullett had 17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks.)

North Alabama—71, MD-Eastern Shore (9-6, 2-2)—53 (“North Alabama is a very good team, particularly at home.  They immediately took us out of our game and hounded us defensively the entire 40 minutes,” said Coach McMillan.  SF Jibran Hale scored 16 points.)

Conference T

Alcorn State (9-5, 2-1)—92, Arkansas-Pine Bluff—89 (“This was just a helluva close game the entire way.  When you go up against one of Donnell’s teams, you just know your team’s gonna have to play its best.  We did, but our fans really helped us pull off this win in the closing minutes of the 2nd half,” said Coach Montez.  PG Caleb Sanden dropped in 20 points.)

Alcorn State (10-5, 3-1)—72, Bellarmine—60 (After trailing 33-31 at the half, Alcorn State came on strong in the 2nd half and won easily. The Braves outshot Bellarmine 54% to 34% and were +10 on the boards.  C Gabriel Atwood had 22 points and PG Caleb Sanden scored 20.)

Alcorn State—92, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (11-4, 2-1)—89 (“This game made me 10 years older.  25 freakin’ lead changes.  Just two really good teams fighting it out the entire 40 minutes,” said Coach Spencer.  SF Dan Jefferson scored 24 points and SG Kwame Mickens had 20 points and 11 rebounds.)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (12-4, 3-1—87, Tennessee Tech—62 (Arkansas-Pine Bluff totally overwhelmed the Golden Eagles with both teams deploying their entire bench late in the game.  PG Darrin Randolph pumped in 20 points and SG Kwame Mickens nearly had a triple-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds,and 9 assists.)

Awards: James Johnson of Western Illinois was selected as the Conference V Freshman Player of the Week.

Significant Injuries: none

Comments:  All the teams except MD-Eastern Shore are nipping at the heels of their respective conference leaders.  The highlight of the week was the exciting game featuring Alcorn State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

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Game Results—Jan 22-28

Conference V

Western Illinois (10-6, 4-1)—82, South Carolina State—59 (Western Illinois had a slow start but pulled into a tie 7 minutes into the game and then ran away from the Bulldogs.  SG Marcelo Barker had 28 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and 4 steals.)

Western Illinois (11-6, 5-1)—67, Central Connecticut—56 (The Leathernecks used some hot-shooting (hitting 55% of their FG’s) to achieve a solid road victory.  SG Marcelo Barker scored 19 points.)

UC-San Diego (11-5, 4-1)—75, NJIT—65 (UC-San Diego trailed 36-31 at halftime.  NJIT held onto a solid lead until the Tritons went on a run with 6 minutes left in the game to not only capture the lead but pull away for a solid win.  Leading the way was PF Jack Robinson with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.)

UC-San Diego (12-5, 5-1)—95, Merrimack—64 (The Tritons simply trounced Merrimack, dominating all aspects of the game enroute to a start to finish win.  SF Gregg Green hit for 22 points and reserve C Joe Roland scored 19.)

Conference U

MD-Eastern Shore (10-6, 3-2)—63, St. Francis (PA)—62 (It took a while for the Hawks to get untracked, but once they did midway through the first half, they just continued to expand their lead.  SG Travis Temple had 21 points and 6 rebounds.)

MD-Eastern Shore (11-6, 4-2)—58, S.E. Missouri St.—43 (The Redhawks opened an early 10 point lead and were in control most of the first half, but the Hawks rallied late to tied the score at 24-24 when the half ended.  MD-Eastern Shore came on strong in the 2nd half, using a lockdown defense to overwhelm the Redhawks.  PF Tony Rueter had a double-double (16 points and 10 boards).)

Conference T

Alcorn State (11-5, 4-1)—67, Tennessee Tech—50 (Alcorn State opened a big lead midway through the first half and lost it to end up in a 29-29 tie at the break.  The Braves fell behind in the 2nd half but came back to retake the lead with 14 minutes remaining and poured it on to whip the Golden Eagles..and rise into a tie with Omaha for first place in the conference standings.  C Gabriel Atwood scored 17 points.)

Alcorn State (12-5, 5-1)—80, Hampton—62 (The Braves took an early lead and were never threatened after that and they breezed to an easy victory.  Leading the way were SG Craig Brown 17 points and 7 rebounds and PF Will Friel who also scored 17 points but had 6 rebounds.)

Hampton—76, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (12-5, 3-2)—55 (“The Pirates made us walk the plank tonight,” said Coach Spencer.  The Golden Lions made just 28% of their FGA’s and 15% of the 3PA’s.  SF Dan Jefferson scored 16 points.

Clemson—108, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (12-6, 3-3)—106 (OT) (Although each team at one point in the game held a 10 point edge, the score was very close most of the way with 19 lead changes and 11 ties.  It was an offensive show the entire way and even more so in the OT with Citadel outscoring the Golden Lions 19-17 in those 5 short minutes.  SF Dan Jefferson scored 29 points, C Chris Betts had 15 points and 9 board, and SG Kwame Mickens scored 17 while dishing out 6 assists and getting 5 steals.  Coach Spencer said, “Our guys played their hearts out, but the Bulldogs had the last possession and got the ball in the hoop.  A tough loss at home, though.”)

Awards: none

Significant Injuries: Lataryl Brown of MD-Eastern Shore sprained his wrist and is expected to not be fully recovered for a week.  Western Illinois’ Zac Johnson sustained a sprained knee and will be hampered all next week.

Comments:  Great week for 4 of the teams as they each won both their games.  But previously high-flying Arkansas-Pine Bluff came up short in both of their games to drop into the middle of the pack in Conference T.  Alcorn State is tied for the lead in Conference T.  MD-Eastern Shore is now in a 4-way tie for 2nd place, one game behind North Alabama.  In Conference V, UC-San Diego and Western Illinois are in a 3-way tie for 2nd place, one game behind Eastern Illinois.  Terry Morillo, head coach of Western Illinois said, “All 5 of us coaches are obviously intent on having our teams do their best, but we really want to finish high up in the standings so we can all get promoted to the next higher conference next season.”)

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Game Results—Jan 29-Feb 4

Conference V

Western Illinois (12-6, 6-1)—74, UC-San Diego (12-6, 5-2)—51 (The lead changed hand 6 times early but then the Leathernecks, with their home crowd cheering them on, took control and pulled away to crush the Tritons.  SF James Johnson dropped in 19 points.)

Western Illinois (13-6, 7-1)—63, North Florida—50 (The Golden Lions got an early lead and were on top 23-17 at halftime.  Both teams got their offenses going in the 2nd half, but Western Illinois lead expanded throughout the half.  SG Marcelo Barker finished with 13 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks and 3 steals.  PF Craig Grant also scored 13 points.)

Western Illinois (12-6, 6-1)—74, UC-San Diego (12-6, 5-2)—51 (“We just didn’t get the job done tonight.  You’re not going to win when you hit just 36% of our FG’s and 14% of our 3’s and get outrebound us 38-24,” commented Coach Ken Yamoto.  PF Jack Robinson and reserve C Joe Roland both scored 10 points.)

UC-San Diego (13-6, 6-2)—79, Alabama State—62 (The first half was highly contested with 13 lead changes and UC-San Diego hanging onto a narrow 35-34 lead at the break.  But the Tritons poured it on in the 2nd half to win decisively.  SG Chris Williams dropped in 16 points.)

Conference U

MD-Eastern Shore (12-6, 5-2)—73, Tennessee-Martin—68 (OT) (MD-Eastern Shore trailed the Skyhawks most of the game, but the Hawks tied the game just before the end of regulation time.  The lead shifted between the two teams for 4 minutes in the OT, but the Hawks scored 5 points to none by the Skyhawks.  C Dwayne Bullett scored 17 points and SF Jibran Hale had 14 points, 3 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks and 4 steals.)

MD-Eastern Shore (13-6, 6-2)—77, Jackson State—74 (The Hawks were ahead 35-25 at the half and held onto a narrower lead throughout the 2nd half.  Jackson State made a big run late in the game, but MD-Eastern Shore was able to hang on for a nice road victory. SF Jibran Hale and reserve G Marcos Santini both scored 14 points.)

Conference T

Alcorn State (13-5, 6-1)—54, Citadel—48 (“I need to thank Coach Spencer at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.  They must have wore out the Bulldogs’ last week so we were able to shut down their offense that had been so awesome against the Golden Lions,” said Coach Ramon Montez.  C Gabriel Atwood scored 13 and pulled down 9 boards.)

Alcorn State (14-5, 7-1)—86, Texas Southern—76 (The lead went back and forth (24 lead changes and 16 ties) throughout the first half and for the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half.  But then the Braves asserted themselves and drove to a successful conclusion.  Alcorn State hit an amazing 61% of their shots. SG Caleb Sanden scored 17, C Gabriel Atwood had 16 points and 8 boards, and PF Will Friel had 14 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 6 steals.)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (13-6, 4-3)—80, Bellarmine—62 (This was Arkansas-Pine Bluff the entire way.  Total domination.  SF Dan Jefferson scored 17 points.  SG Kwame Mickens had a double-double, scoring 10 points and getting 10 assists.)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (14-6, 5-3)—67, Omaha—62 (This was a tightly contested game with good defense by both teams and team stats that were as close as the score.  C Chris Betts poured in 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.)

Awards: Jibran Hale of MD-Eastern Shore was named the Conference U Freshman Player of the Week.

Significant Injuries: MD-Eastern Shore’s Lataryl Brown’s sprained wrist still hasn’t healed and isn’t expected to for another week-and-half.

Comments:  Another big week for these teams with 9 victories and just 1 loss.  Alcorn State is now alone in first place in Conference T, 2 games ahead of 5 teams including Arkansas-Pine Bluff.  MD-Eastern Shore is in a 3-way tie for 1st place in Conference U.  Western Illinois is now tied for 1st place in Conference V with UC-San Diego alone in 3rd place, a single game behind the two leaders.

“All 5 coaches began at the same time with independent teams competing to move up into Division I and thence up the promotion ladder.  Ken (Yamamoto) and Terry (Morillo) turned out to be saddled with the toughest challenges.  Their two initial teams, Dixie State and Tarleton State, are simply dogs.  They were unable to make those 2 teams into winners, and after 3 seasons they wisely moved on to other teams.  Their 2 initial teams have continued to be losers.  It was no different this season…those two combined to win just 9 and lose 21 games against Division I opponents.  Hell, it’s been 5 years and Dixie State has a 26-49 record against Division I teams.  And…Tarleton State has an ignominious 15-60 record against Division I competition.  Ken and Terry have subsequently built their new teams into winners.  So good for them,” said Coach Ramon Montez.

Top Scorers for each team:  Gregg Green is averaging 15.9 ppg for UC-San Diego; Jibran Hale is averaging 11.8 ppg for MD-Eastern Shore; Gabriel Atwood is averaging 13.1 ppg for Alcorn State; Marcelo Barker is averaging 15.1 ppg for Western Illinois; and Dan Jefferson is averaging 16.8 ppg for Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

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Game Results—Feb 5-11

Conference V

Longwood—64, Western Illinois (13-7, 7-2)—62 (Western Illinois was playing catchup almost the entire way.  And they very nearly tied the game at the end with a missed 10 footer as time ran out.  “This was a strange game.  We hit 50% of our shots, the Lancers hit 59% of theirs…but both teams scored in the low 60’s.  But even though the teams shot well, the defenses were tough with 16 turnovers by them and 19 by us,” said Coach Morrillo.  C Jamar Curtis had 15 points and 7 boards.)

Western Illinois (14-7, 8-2)—75, Mississippi Valley—56 (The Delta Devils outplayed Western Illinois for the first 16 minutes, but the Leathernecks came back to lead 34-31 at the break and then drew away in the 2nd half.  Western Illinois held a 50% to 42% shooting advantage, dominated the boards 32-16, and had 8 fewer turnovers. PG Martin Dixon came off the bench to score 14 and SG Marcelo Barker had 13 points, 4 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals.)

UC-San Diego (14-7, 7-2)—76, Houston Baptist—72 (The teams were within a few points of each other for the first 28 minutes.  The Tritons then edged ahead and their lead grew to 10.  But Houston Baptist made a late run that put a scare into UC-San Diego.  “I can’t say we played good tonight, but it was nice to our guys take over late in the 2nd half and then hold on to get a road victory,” said Coach Yamoto.  SF Gregg Green scored 20 points.)

UC-San Diego (15-6, 8-2)—85, SIU Edwardsville-65 (The Tritons trailed 40-37 at the half.  But the 2nd half was all UC-San Diego as they steadily pulled away from the Cougars.  PF Jack Robinson scored 17 points, C Shannon Van Hook had a double-double (14 points, 10 boards), and C Joe Roland scored 16 points during his 10 minutes on the court.)

Conference U

MD-Eastern Shore (14-6, 7-2)—76, Kennesaw State-42 (This game was in doubt for just 3 minutes and then the Hawks flew circles around the Owls.  MD-Eastern Shore outshot Kennesaw State 50% to 27% and destroyed the Owls on the glass 45-19.  SF Jibran Hale dropped in 17 points and had 7 rebounds.)

Massachusetts-Lowell-73, MD-Eastern Shore (14-7, 7-3)—66 (MD-Eastern Shore led 33-30 at the break.  But the Hawks couldn’t overcome the refs in the 2nd half.  Mass-Lowell got to the line 18 more times and score 16 more points on foul shots.  A frustrated Coach McMillan sighed while saying, “Playing on the road is difficult enough when you’re only having to play against 5 guys.”  SF Jibran Hale was high point man with 16 points.)

Conference T

Alcorn State (15-5, 8-1)—63, Omaha—53 (In a defensive battle, the Braves held the advantage throughout. “It wasn’t pretty, but anytime you can win on the road, it’s great,” said Coach Montez.  C Gabriel Atwood had a double-double, scoring 12 and pulling down 13 boards.) 

Alcorn State (16-5, 9-1)—68, Charleston Southern—55 (The lead shifted often in the first 12 minutes but then Alcorn State spurted ahead and never looked back.  “Pretty good for only getting to the foul line 4 times the entire game,” said Coach Montez.  PG Caleb Sanden poured in 24 points.)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (15-6, 6-3)—70, Charleston Southern—62 (“We did what we needed to do, particularly defensively.  It was really touch-and-go through much of the 2nd half, but they guys put things together in the final 8 minutes,” said Coach Spencer.  “I was on pins and needles with 4 of our starters having 4 fouls apiece late in the game.”  SF Dan Jefferson had a rare game of coming in off the bench, but showed why he normally starts by scoring 19 points.)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (16-6, 7-3)—87, Sacred Heart—66 (The Golden Lions offense clicked the entire 40 minutes enroute as they smashed the Pioneers.  C Chris Betts dropped in 22 points.)

Awards: none

Significant Injuries: none

Comments: Alcorn State held onto a 2-game lead in Conference T over Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Southern.  MD-Eastern Shore is in a 4-way battle for 1st place in Conference U. Western Illinois and UC-San Diego are tied with Eastern Illinois for 1st place in Conference V.  In Conference U there are 7 teams within one game of each other for the top spot.  “All 5 of us have our teams up there fighting for the lead in our respective conferences and also in the battle to earn promotions.  We all just gotta keep our team focused on beating our very next opponent.  A loss might not only knock out of the conference championship fray but also could drop us low enough to miss out on being promoted. It’s one game at a time, baby,” said Coach Dontell Spencer of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

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Game Results—Feb 12-18

Conference V

Western Illinois (15-7, 9-2)—56, NC-Central—46 (Western Illinois trailed the Eagles most of the way in the first half, but managed to gain a 29-28 halftime edge by tightening their defense late in the half.  The Leathernecks’ defense became even ore restrictive in the 2nd half which allowed Western Illinois’ struggling offense to slowly pull away.  The biggest difference in the game was in turnovers…10 by Western Illinois and 19 by NC-Central.  Both SF James Johnson and SG Marcelo Barker scored 14 points.  C Jamar Curtis scored just 9 points but pulled down 15 rebounds.)

Alabama State—81, Western Illinois (15-8, 9-3)—63 (“We let the Hornets get ahead of us at the start and just didn’t have it in us tonight to make a comeback,” said Coach Morillo.  PF Craig Grant had 19 points.)

Eastern Illinois—97, UC-San Diego (15-7, 8-3)—93 (OT) (UC-San Diego’s players hit nearly 2/3 of their shots but couldn’t shake Eastern Illinois which hit almost 60% of their shots.  At the half the score stood at 53-58 in favor of the Tritons.  But Eastern Illinois turned the tables in the 2nd half, slowing down the pace and both teams had a much more difficult time of scoring.  Both teams held small leads at various parts fo the 2nd half, but when the buzzer sounded the score was knotted at 84-84.  In the OT, Eastern Illinois scored the first two baskets.  From there on UC-San Diego gamely tried to overtake the Panthers but each time they’d get within a point or two, Eastern Illinois would thwart the Tritons efforts to wrest away the lead.  The result was a disappointing overtime road loss by UC-San Diego to one of the teams which they had been tied for 1st in the conference. SF Gregg Green hit for 27 points.)

UC-San Diego (16-7, 9-3)—68, Longwood—53 (The Tritons led from wire to wire, outshooting the Lancers 50% to 40% and outrebounding them 39-22.  PF Jack Robinson had 12 points and 8 rebounds and SF Gregg Green had 12 points and 7 rebounds.)

Conference U

MD-Eastern Shore (15-7, 8-3)—75, Dartmouth—49 (Dartmouth controlled the game for the first 6 minutes but the Hawks spurted to a 38-28 halftime lead and then completely buried the Big Green in the 2nd half.  Reserve C Romolo Pantini scored 16 points and SF Jibran Hale had 15 points and 7 boards.)

MD-Eastern Shore (16-7, 9-3)—78, Howard—72 (The Hawks fashioned a 12 point lead in the first half only too it evaporate as the half ended with the score tied at 40-40.  Howard threatened to upset the Braves throughout the 2nd half until MD-Eastern Shore put together a 10-2 run and then held on the final 3 minutes to score the win.  SG Marcos Santini hit for 23 points and SF Jibran Hale added 20.)

Conference T

Alcorn State (17-5, 10-1)—85, Sacred Heart—58 (The Braves blew the Pioneers out of the water, quickly jumping ahead and then steadily adding to their lead throughout the first and second halves.  Complete and total domination.  All five starters scored in double figures, led by SG Craig Brown’s 21 points and PF Will Friel’s double-double (11 points and 11 rebounds).)

Alcorn State (18-5, 11-1)—75, Bethune Cookman—50 (“Our defense was solid the entire game and never let the Wildcats make a run,” said Coach Montez.  Up by as much as 35 points, the Braves’ entire team got time on the court. C Gabriel Atwood led the scoring with  20 points.)

Texas Southern—91, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (16-7, 7-4)—90 (Texas Southern looked to have this game wrapped up, leading nearly all the way and by as much as 17 points, but the Golden Lions came roaring back late in the 2nd half to lose by the narrowest of margins.  The lead shifted back and forth the last 3 minutes but the Tigers were able to score on a tip-in with 2 seconds remaining to stymie Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s remarkable comeback.  SF Dan Jefferson scored 22 points and had 7 assists.)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (17-7, 8-4)—84, Seattle—67 (Seattle out-rebounded the Golden Lions 38-28 but turned the ball over 22 times which allowed Arkansas-Pine Bluff to gain the lead early and hang onto it the rest of the way.  Coach Spencer commented, “We really needed this win tonight.”  SG Kwame Mickens had 23 points, 5 assists, 3 boards, 3 steals, and 3 blocks.)

Awards: none

Significant Injuries: Marcelo Barker of Western Illinois suffered a bruised abdominal which will hamper him for 2 weeks. Alcorn State’s Harold Hein has a strained calif that is likely to require 2 weeks to fully heal.

Comments:  All 5 teams continue to do well this season.  Alcorn State rolled off 2 easy wins and now has an 11-game win streak.  The Braves now are 3 games ahead of Arkansas-Pine Bluff and South Carolina Upstate which are tied for 2nd place in Conference T.  Conference U features a 3-way tie for 1st place composed of MD-Eastern Shore, North Alabama, and Jackson State.  MD-Eastern Shore has now won 7 of their last 8 games.  Western Illinois and UC-San Diego are tied for 2nd place in Conference V, a game behind first place Eastern Illinois.

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Game Results—Feb 19-25

Conference V

Western Illinois (16-8, 10-3)—70, Eastern Illinois—53 (Big win for the Leathernecks over the team that had been in first place a game ahead.  2 minutes into the game Western Illinois took a lead they never relinquished.  “Coach said to grab the lead and just keep grinding and that’s exactly what we did,” said SF James Johnson.  C Jamar Curtis tossed in 21 points.)

NJIT—81, Western Illinois (16-9, 10-4)—73 (“We let the game get away from us in the latter part of the 2nd half instead of driving to the finish.  I hate losing home games,” said Coach Morillo.  The top scorer was SG Marcelo Barker with 18 points.)

UC-San Diego (17-7, 10-3)—62, North Florida—37 (The Tritons stomped North Florida by outshooting them 42% to 32%, outrebounding them 32-24, and making fewer turnovers 13 vs 20.  UC-San Diego’s defense was great all the way, but particularly in the 2nd half when they allowed the Osprey to score just 13 points.  SF Gregg Green scored 17 and PF Jack Robinson scored 16.)

Central Connecticut—73, UC-San Diego (17-8, 10-4)—70 (2 OT) (The Tritons were on their way to a road win, but let the Blue Devils hit a 3 to tie the game in regulation.  Neither team could gain an advantage in the first overtime. With 3 of their starters having fouled out, the Tritons made a gallant effort in the 2nd OT, but fell just short.  The team stats were just as close as the score.  PF Jack Robinson led the scoring with 20 points plus had 6 rebounds and 4 blocks.)

Conference U

Morgan State—65, MD-Eastern Shore (16-8, 9-4)—57 (MD-Eastern Shore fell behind early and never could make a run to get closer than 4 points behind the Bears.  The Hawks controlled the boards but shot poorly.  SF Jibran Hale scored 15 points.)

MD-Eastern Shore—70 (17-8, 10-4), North Dakota—63 (The Hawks played so well in the first half, gaining a 20 point lead and ahead 45-29 at the end of the half, that they seemed to have this game in the bag.  But North Dakota came back in the middle of the 2nd half and tied the game with 7 minutes to go.  The lead bounced back and forth for the next 3 minutes, but then MD-Eastern Shore rallied in the final 4 minutes to beat the Fighting Hawks. C Dwayne Bullett was the high point man with 20 points and PF Tony Rueter had 11 points and 11 rebounds.)

Conference T

Seattle—62, Alcorn State (18-6, 11-2)—51 (Seattle used a stingy defense and a controlled the boards to cool off Alcorn State.  The Braves attempted a comeback but had fallen just too far back to catch up.  SG Craig Brown hit for 17 points.)

Alcorn State (19-6, 12-2)—95, Central Arkansas—72 (The Braves got their potent offense back on track to drub Central Arkansas.  PG Caleb Sanden scored 22 points and SG Craig Brown had 20 points, 6 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks.)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (18-7, 9-4)—64, Bethune-Cookman—56 (It was a tough battle with 13 lead changes, but after falling behind by 2 points with 4 minutes to go, the Golden Lions went on a run that carried them to a nice road victory.  Two players had double-doubles as PF Delvon Palmer scored 20 and had 10 rebounds and C Chris Betts had 15 points and 10 boards.)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (19-7, 10-4)—77, Southern—62 (Playing away from home against the team that was tied for 2nd place with them, the Golden Lions scored first and then quickly pulled away to lead 40-23 at the break.  While their defense let up in the 2nd half, the Golden Lions never let the Jaguars get close enough to make a serious challenge.  C Chris Betts hit for 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to record a double-double.)

Awards: none

Significant Injuries: none

Comments:  The only team not to lose this week was Arkansas-Pine Bluff which propelled them into sole possession of 2nd place in Conference T, two games behind first place Alcorn State.  MD-Eastern Shore’s loss dropped them out of a first place tie in Conference U and down to sole possession of 3rd place, a game behind Jackson State and North Alabama.  In Conference V, UC-San Diego and Western Illinois re now tied for 1st place, one game ahead of Eastern Illinois.

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Game Results—Feb 26-Mar 4

Conference V

Maine—66, Western Illinois (16-10, 10-5)—60 (The Leathernecks hung with Maine for most of the first half but then faded.  Midway through the 2nd half they trailed by 17.  Western Illinois then steadily cut into the lead in the final 10 minutes but the hill was just too steep to climb.  C Jamar Curtis finished with 17 points and PF Craig Grant had 14 points and 12 rebounds.)

Merrimack—83, Western Illinois (16-11, 10-6)—76 (Western Illinois closed out their regular season with their 3rd straight loss.  The Leathernecks were on the short end of a 46-29 halftime score.  Even though they outscored the Warriors in the 2nd half, they never truly threatened to take the lead. SF James Johnson scored 15 and C Jamar Curtis had 14 points and 9 boards.)

South Carolina State—90, UC-San Diego (17-9, 10-5)—82 (The game was close with a lot of lead changes the first 5 minutes, but then SC State steadily pulled away, leading 43-29 at the half and holding the Tritons off in a frenzied 2nd half.  SF Brian Thomas was high point man with 19 points.)

UC-San Diego (18-9, 11-5)—78, Florida A&M—65 (The teams exchanged the lead throughout the first 13 minutes of the game, but the Tritons went on a run to lift them to a 41-30 halftime advantage.  Florida A&M gave the Tritons’ home fans a scare when the Rattlers briefly regained the lead midway through the 2nd half.  But UC-San Diego came back to draw away.  SF Gregg Green had 24 points.)

Conference U

Presbyterian—76, MD-Eastern Shore (17-9, 10-5)—61 (The Hawks suffered an embarrassing home court beatdown by the lowly Blue Hose.  Coach McMillan lamented, “We stunk up the gym tonight.  We fell behind and then seemed to just fold.”  SG Travis Temple scored 19 points.)

MD-Eastern Shore (18-9, 11-5)—61, Nicholls State—37 (MD-Eastern Shore trounced the Colonels by putting Nicholls State in a 41-14 hole.  The Hawks limited the Colonels’ shooting to just 27% and completely dominated the boards 40-17.  C Dwayne Bullett had 12 points and 11 rebounds.)

Conference T

Alcorn State (20-6, 13-2)—80, Southern—68 (Southern was in control in the latter part of the first half, taking a 41-32 lead to the locker room, and then continuing to hold Alcorn State off for the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half. But then with their home fans urging them on, the Braves stormed back to bury the Jaguars.  Alcorn State’s starting guards, PG Caleb Sanden and SG Craig Brown, carried the team with 28 and 19 points, respectively.)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff—67, Alcorn State (20-7, 13-3)—54 (The road proved to be too high a hurdle for the Braves.  PF Will Friel had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.)

Central Arkansas—92, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (19-7, 10-5)—89 (In a quick paced game with 12 lead changes and 6 ties, it appeared that the Golden Lions might pull off an upset on Central Arkansas’ court.  But the Bears hit a 3 to retake the lead with a minute to go, stole the ball to go up by 5 and then held on for the win.  C Chris Betts led Arkansas-Pine Bluff with 17 points and 7 boards.)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (20-7, 11-5)—67, Alcorn State—54 (The Golden Lions carved out a 37-33 lead at the half and then applied a stout defense to allow them to pull away from the Braves in the 2nd half.  SG Kwame Mickens hit for 14 points plus had 6 rebounds and 5 assists.)

Awards: none

Significant Injuries: none

Comments:  Alcorn State finished atop Conference T with Arkansas-Pine Bluff tied with Omaha for 2nd place.  MD-Eastern Shore tied with Morgan State for 3rd place but could be kept from being promoted if a team lower than them in the standings wins the conference tournament.  UC-San Diego State finished in a tie with Eastern Illinois for 1st place in Conference V with Western Illinois tied for 3rd place with Merrimack.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s Coach Dontell Spencer said, “Pretty damned good year for all us.  Each of the five teams has between 16 and 20 wins and is in the top 3 or 4 of their conferences.  So I would expect that we should all get into one of the post-season tournaments…definitely if we have some wins in the conference tournaments that happening this coming week.

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Conference Tournaments

Conference V

Day 1

Florida A&M Rattlers—94, SIU Edwardsville Cougars-86

NJIT Highlanders—68, Houston Baptist Huskies—63

Maine Black Bears—85, South Carolina State Bulldogs—58

Alabama State Hornets—93, Mississippi Valley Delta Devils—82

Day 2 Quarterfinals

Eastern Illinois Panthers—79, Alabama State Hornets—76

Maine Black Bears—85, UC-San Diego Tritons (18-10)—78 (The lead shifted back and forth 16 times and there were 12 ties in this game.  But the Black Bears owned the final 4 minutes to score an upset win.  The Tritons’ PF Jack Robinson scored 19 points.)

NJIT Highlanders—71, Western Illinois Leathernecks (16-12)—70 (NJIT held a small lead through the final 30 minutes of this game. The Leathernecks hit what they thought was a 3 pointer with 2 seconds to go to tie.  But upon review of the video, the refs detected a toe on the line and changed it to a 2-point FG changing the tie to a disappointing loss.  C Jamar Curtis had 19 points and 7 rebounds.)

Merrimack Warriors—97, Florida A&M—92

Day 3 Semifinals

Eastern Illinois Panthers—73, Merrimack Warriors—59

Maine Black Bears—81, NJIT Highlanders—70

Day 4 Championship

Maine Black Bears—75, Eastern Illinois Panthers—66

[The underdog Maine Black Bears scored their 4th straight upset victory in the tournament after finishing 10th in the Conference V standings.]

Conference U

Day 1

Dartmouth Big Green—74, Howard Bison—53

Nicholls State Colonels—63, Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks—59

Prairie View Panthers—78, Delaware State Hornets—70

UMass-Lowell River Hawks—69, SE Missouri State Redhawks--63

Day 2 Quarterfinals

Jackson State Tigers—84, UMass-Lowell River Hawks—65

North Alabama Lions—80, Prairie View Panthers—76

Morgan State Bears—52, Nicholls State Colonels—44

MD-Eastern Shore Hawks (19-9)—78, Dartmouth Big Green—65 (After building an 8 point lead in the middle of the first half, the Hawks let the Big Green back into the game as their leas was reduced to 32-31 at the break.  But MD-Eastern Shore took control in the 2nd half.  PF Tony Rueter scored 20 points and SF Jibran Hale totalled 15 points, 5 assists, 9 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks.)

Day 3 Semifinals

MD-Eastern Shore Hawks (20-9)—71, Jackson State Tigers—47 (The game was close for 5 minutes but then the Hawks used a staunch defense and domination of the boards to run away and continue to expand their lead all the way to the end of the game.  SF Jibran Hale  finished with 20 points and 7 boards.)

North Alabama Lions—86, Morgan State Bears—71

Day 4 Championship

MD-Eastern Shore Hawks (21-9)—96, North Alabama Lions—91 (OT) (North Alabama led throughout most of the game and by as much as points.  But the Hawks slowly chipped away at the lead over the final 15 minutes of regulation and gained a tie by hitting a last second jumper.  MD-Eastern Shore built an 8 point lead in the overtime to win the championship.  SF Jibran Hale completed a stellar tournament by scoring 24 points, pulling down 10 rebounds, and making 5 assists.  PG Lataryl Brown and SG Travis Temple both scored 20 points with Brown dishing out 10 assists for a double-double.)

Conference T

Day 1

South Carolina Upstate Spartans—85, Texas Southern Tigers—76

Hampton Pirates—76, Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles—70

Central Arkansas Bears—67, Bethune-Cookman Wildcats—61

Seattle Redhawks—99, Charleston Southern Buccaneers—64

Day 2 Quarterfinals

Alcorn State Braves (21-7)—79, Seattle Redhawks—62 (Alcorn State took care of business right out of the gate and never trailed in this contest.  PG Caleb Sanden poured in 26 points and PF Will Friel has 11 points and 12 boards.)

Central Arkansas Bears—76, Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions (20-8)—69 (Throughout the first half and the first 7 minutes of the 2nd half this was a close game with 10 lead changes.  But then the Bears began pulling away and held onto the lead the rest of the way.  SG Kwame Mickens had 13 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and a block.)

Omaha Mavericks—92, Hampton Pirates—85

South Carolina Upstate Spartans—59, Southern Jaguars—54

Day 3 Semifinals

Alcorn State Braves (22-7)—75, South Carolina Upstate Spartans—71 (OT) (Alcorn State led 39-31 at the half and their lead increased to 13 points in the 2nd half, but the Spartans made a furious comeback late in the game to tie at 62-62 and send the game to overtime.  The Braves hit some big shots in the OT to prevent the upset.  PG Caleb Sanden and reserve PF Virgil Brown both scored 12 points.)

Omaha mavericks—73, Central Arkansas Bears—66

Day 4 Championship

Alcorn State Braves (23-7)—89, Omaha Mavericks—71 (The Braves made it look easy, hitting 64% of their FG’s.  C Gabriel Atwood had 22 points and 8 boards and SG Craig Brown scored 21 and dished out 7 assists.)

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Post-Season Tournament Selections for the teams coached by the Five Muskaterrs :

NCAA

Coach Mike McMillans’s MD-Eastern Shore Hawks are the 13th seed in the South Region and will play #4 seed Pacific.

Coach Ramon Montez’ Alcorn State Braves are the 11th seed in the West Region and will play #6 seed Syracuse.

 NIT

Coach Dontell Spencer’s Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions are the #2 seed in the East Region and will play #7 seed Alabama State.

CBI

Coach Ken Yamoto’s UC-San Diego Tritons are the #2 seed in the West Region and will play #7  seed NC-Asheville.

Missed the Cut

Coach Terry Morillo’s Western Illinois Leathernecks failed to get into any post-season tournament due to losing their final 4 games this season.

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CBI Results

Round 1

UC-San Diego (19-10)—77, NC-Asheville—49 (UC-San Diego dominated the Bulldogs in the first half and led 42-23 at the break.  Their lead grew to 32 in the 2nd half as they destroyed NC-Asheville by outshooting them 53% to 32%, holding a 38-33 rebounding advantage and making 3 less turnovers.  SF Gregg Green scored 19 points.)

Round 2

UC-San Diego (20-10)—97, Cleveland State—94 (OT) (Hell of a game.  29 lead changes and 19 ties.  Cleveland State led 40-37 at the half.  But the Vikings had to knock down a 3 with 4 seconds to go to send the game to overtime.  The Tritons jumped ahead in the OT and stubbornly wouldn’t let Cleveland State back into it.  UC-San Diego held advantages in most all team stats but the Vikings’ SF Josh Moore dropped in 29 points to keep them in the game.  SG Chris Williams and PF Jack Robinson both scored 16 for the Tritons with Robinson also hauling down 7 rebounds.  C Shannon Van Hook scored 11 and had 10 rebounds for a double-double.)

Round 3

Oregon State—79, UC-San Diego (20-11)—63 (The Tritons came out of the first half with a 39-36 lead.  The Beavers gained the lead with 15 minutes to go and sprinted to a lop-sided victory.  Coach Yamoto said, “Our energy lagged in the 2nd half, but this was a great experience for our team and coaches.  Our guys put together a very good season.”  SF Gregg Green topped the scoring with 19 points.)

NIT Results

Round 1

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (21-8)—89, Alabama State—71 (The Golden Lions quickly got ahead and good shooting and strong rebounding gave them a 49-30 halftime advantage.  They held the Hornets off in the 2nd half for a decisive win.  C Chris Betts had 18 points and 8 boards and SF Dan Jefferson scored 16, pulled down 4 rebounds, dished out 6 assists, and had 3 blocks and 2 steals.)

Round 2

Yale—72, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (21-9)—63 (“We hung with Yale for a while, but once they got ahead, they we were unable to give them a real challenge since we shot so poorly,” said Coach Spencer.  C Chris Betts scored 23 and had 7 rebounds.)

NCAA Results

Round 1

Pacific—92, MD-Eastern Shore (21-10)—73 (The Hawks’ offense was clicking in the first half as they outscored Pacific 49-46.  But Pacific throttled the Hawks in the 2nd half and ran away to bury MD-Eastern Shore.  “Too many turnovers and too little defense,” said Coach McMillan. “But Pacific was just too good for us tonight.”  SF Jibran Hale scored 20 points.)

Syracuse—82, Alcorn State (23-8)—78 (Syracuse tore up the Braves in the first half to lead 54-32 at the break.  But Alcorn State steadily crept up on the Orange in the 2nd half to make a game of it.  Coach McMillan said, “I’m proud of how our guys fought to get back into this game.  Syracuse is a very good team but we were able to put a scare into them.  It’s not often you lose when you outshoot a team 51% to 39% but they scored 11 more points at the foul line than we did and we were a -8 on the boards.”  PG Caleb Sanden topped the Braves’ scoring with 21 points.)

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TEAM STATS

Alcorn State Braves

Team: Record: 23-8 (13-3); 73.7 ppg; 66.4 oppg;  Net ranking: 33; 17.6 apg; 32.8 rpg.

Players:

PPG: Caleb Sanden—13.3; Gabriel Atwood—12.0; Will Friel—10.9; Caig Brown—9.6; Virgil Brown—6.8; Bernie Graham—6.4; Todd young—5.4; Harold Hein—4.6

RPG: Gabriel Atwood—6.9; Will Friel—6.7; Harold Hein—4.1; Bernie Graham—3.3; Craig Brown—3.1; Caleb Sanden—2.7

APG: Craig Brown—4.0; Todd Young—2.6; Harold Hein—2.5; Caleb Sanden—2.0

Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions

Team: Record: 21-10 (11-5); Net ranking: 76; 79.0 ppg; 70.9 oppg; 19.8 apg; 33.3 rpg.

Players:

PPG: Dan Jefferson—15.2; Chris Betts—13.4; Kwame Mickens—13.3; Delvon Palmer—8.6; Darrin Randolph—8.1; Dwayne Robinson—5.4; Jacob Allen—4.7; Antonio Gailey—4.3

RPG: Chris Betts—6.9; Kwame Mickens—5.2; Delvon Palmer—4.9; Dan Jefferson—3.8; Jacob Allen—3.4; Antonio Gailey-3.2

APG: Kwame Mickens—6.3; Darrin Randolph—2.5; Dan Jefferson—2.3; Chris Betts—2.2

MD-Eastern Shore Hawks

Team: Record: 21-10 (11-5); Net Ranking: 51; 70.2 ppg; 65.9 oppg; 17.3 apg; 32.3 rpg.

Players:

PPG: Jibran Hale—13.6. Travis Templ3—11.9, Dwayne Bullett-10.7, Lataryl Brown—7.4, Tony Rueter—7.0, Ramolo Pantini—6.3, Edouard Gaultier—4.7, Terrance Mann—3.4, Marcos Santini—3.2

RPG: Tony Rueter—7.1, Jibran Hale—6.3, Dwayne Bullett—5.6, Romolo Pantini—3.7, Travis Temple—2.9, Lataryle Brown—2.3

APG: Lataryl Brown—5.6, Travis Temple—2.3, Jibran Hale—2.0, Dwayne Bullett—1.9

UC-San Diego Tritons

Team: Record: 20-11 (11-5); Net Ranking: 112; 77.7 ppg; 70.7 oppg; 19.5 apg; 33.1 rpg

Players:

PPG: Gregg Green—15.8, Jack Robinson—11.5, Joe Roland—8.5, Brian Thomas—8.2, Chris Williams—8.0, Shannon Van Hook—6.9, Brad Sanders—5.8, Delante Keams—4.5, Stephen Perry—4.5

RPG: Shannon Van Hook—6.4, Jack Robinson—5.5, Brad Sanders—3.9, Gregg Green—3.7, Joe Roland—3.1, Brian Thomas—2.9, Chris Williams—2.8

APG: Brian Thomas—5.1, Chris Williams—3.1, Delante Keams—2.7

Western Illinois Leathernecks

Team: Record: 16-12 (10-6); Net Ranking: 173; 71.1 ppg; 65.3 oppg; 17.7 apg; 30.5 rpg

Players:

PPG: Marcelo Barker—13.9, Jamar Curtis—12.3, James Johnson—10.3, Craig Grant—9.3, Tom Daniel—5.5, Martin Dizon—5.4, Larry McClain—5.3, Emerson Owen—3.6

RPG: Jamary Curtis—6.4, Craig Grant—4.9, Larry McClain—4.1, James Johnson—3.5, Marcelo Barker—3.2

APG: Tom Daniel—4.1, Marcelo Barker—2.6, Martin Dixon—2.4, Jamar Curtis—2.2, Craig Grant—2.1         

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Awards:

SG Kwame Mickens, Arkansas-Pine Bluff—Conference T Player of the Year

Ramon Montez, Alcorn State—Conference T Coach of the Year

SG Kwame Mickens, Arkansas-Pine Bluff—Conference T 1st Team All-Conference

SF Dan Jefferson, Arkansas-Pine Bluff—Conference T 2nd Team All-Conference

C Chris Betts, Arkansas-Pine Bluff—Conference T 2nd Team All-Conference

C Gabriel Atwood, Alcorn State—Conference T 2nd Team All-Conference

SF Jibran Hale, MD-Eastern Shore—Conference U Freshman of the Year

Mike McMillan, MD-Eastern Shore—Conference U Coach of the Year

SF Jibran Hale, MD-Eastern Shore—Conference U 1st Team All-Conference

SG Marcelo Barker, Western Illinois—Conference V Defensive Player of the Year

Ken Yamoto, UC San Diego—Conference U Coach of the Year

SG Marcelo Barker, Western Illinois—Conference U 2nd Team All-Conference

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Recruits Coming to the 5 Teams in the Coming Year

UC-San Diego

C Joe McCray #722, 2 star  Inside shooting and scoring

PF Jeremiah Mason #1165 1 star  Outside shooting and scoring

PG Calvin Henderson #1289 1 star  Ball handling and passing

PG Matt Holcomb #1304 1 star  Outside shooting and scoring

PF Michael Faulkner #1407 1 star  Inside shooting and rebounding

PF Stephen Leith #1565 1 star  Rebounding

MD-Eastern Shore

Filled 2 of 4 vacancies

SF Ryurik Rokossovsky #99 4 star Inside shooting and scoring

PG Cark Hancock #1619 1 star Defense and outside shooting

Alcorn State

C Rick Kraft #907 1 star Inside & outside shooting and rebounding

PG Jameel Miller #1238 1 star Outside shooting and passing

PF Zach Baker #1381 1 star Inside and outside shooting

PF Anthony Hanganu #1453 1 star Inside and outside shooting

SF Danny Murphy #1725 1 star Outside shooting and passing

Western Illinois

PF Orvo Haapajarvi #7  4 star Inside shooting and scoring

SF Eliran Zaichik #163 3 star Inside shooting and scoring

Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Filled 2 of 3 vacancies

PF Derron O’Quin #1306 1 star Shooting and passing

PG Erik Taylor #1699 1 star Passing and outside shooting

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Results of Coach Requests to Their College’s Board of Directors

Four of the coaches were able to get their requests to their boards approved this year

UC-San Diego: Increased budget by $7150

MD-Eastern Shore: Increased budget by $7000

Western Illinois: Will get a facilities upgrade (from D- to C-)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff: Increased budget by $4000

But...

Alcorn State:  Budget increase was not approved.  Coach Ramon Montez was blunt, "This sucks!"

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Article on the online portal for “COLLEGE BASKETBALL”

THE FIVE MUSKETEERS

Six years ago the NCAA reorganized into 22 conferences of 16 teams each.  After each season within each conference the four teams with the best record are promoted to the next higher conference and the four teams with the worst records are relegated to the next lower conference.  Additionally 6 independent teams play 15 games against Division I opponents with the team with the best record in those games being moved up into the lowest prestige conference to supplant the team with the worst record which drops down into Independent status.

In that initial season new coaches were hired at 5 of those initial Independent teams.  None of these coaches had prior head coaching experience in Division I basketball.  These five coaches became known as The Five Musketeers.  Ken Yamoto was hired at Tarleton State, Mike McMillan became the new coach for MD-Eastern Shore, Ramon Martinez was the new head coach at Alcorn State, Terry Morillo was brought aboard by Dixie State, and Dontell Spencer took over the reins at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

During the succeeding six seasons these five head coaches have grown close…to a degree where the term “Five Musketeers” apply fits.  While occasionally their teams compete on the court, the five coaches are supportive of each other and communicate frequently.  “Sometimes it feels like we’re true brothers,” said Ramon Montez.  “We get together in the off-season and have a great time together.”  Ken Yamoto added, “I’ve learned a lot from each of the other four guys.  We bounce ideas and suggestions off each other.  Since we all came into our head coaching jobs with different strengths and weaknesses, this has really helped round each of us out and become better coaches.”

Things weren’t each for the five during their early years as head coaches.  Their teams were initially very weak, win-loss records weren’t impressive, and getting out of Independent status was a huge challenge.  The teams of three of the coaches were promoted into Division I after the first three seasons.  The first to make the jump to Conference V was Ramon Montez at Alcorn State for the 2031-32 season. Then in the 2032-33 season Mike McMillan got his MD-Eastern Shore squad into Division I.  The next season (2033-34) saw Dontell Spencer and his Arkansas-Pine Bluff move from being an Independent to becoming part of Conference V.  That left Ken Yamoto and Terry Morillo still out of Division I and mired in the depths as Independents.

“When we got together right after the conclusion of the 2032-33 season, Ken and I were strongly encouraged by Dontell, Ramon and Mike to see what jobs at other schools were coming available and to jump ship,” said  Terry Morillo.  Dontell Spencer added, “Yeah we could see that the administrations at Dixie State and Tarleton State just weren’t supportive enough of their basketball programs that Terry and Ken were likely to be able to get their teams promoted in the foreseeable future.  And that’s been confirmed by the fact that both those teams have continued to be unsuccessful the past 3 seasons as well.  So it was good that Ken left Tarleton State and got hired by UC-San Diego and Ken went from Dixie State to Western Illinois.”  The validity of those statements is that both Yamoto and Morillo have been able to develop rather moribund basketball programs at UC-San Diego and Western Illinois into successful ones in the space of 3 seasons.

Arguably Dontell Spencer could be viewed as the most successful of the five. But let’s look at how each of the Five Musketeers has done in their 6 years since first getting hired:

Dontell Spencer, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Overall Record: 96-51 (.653); Season records: 6-10, 9-7, 11-8, 25-6, 24-10, 21-10. 4 NIT and 1 NCAA appearances In the past 4 seasons with advancement to the Semifinals one year and to the Championship game another year in the NIT, and ranked in Top 25 one season, 4 promotions to higher conferences.

Ramon Montez, Alcorn State, Overall Record: 101-66 (.605); Season records: 8-7, 14-14, 14-16, 18-14, 24-7, 23-8. 1 CIT and 1 NCAA appearance, and 4 promotions to higher conferences.

Mike McMillan, MD-Eastern Shore Hawks, Overall Record: 79-69 (.534); Season records: 8-7, 6-9, 12-17, 12-17, 20-9, 21-10.  1 NIT and 1 NCAA appearances, 3 promotions to higher conferences.

Ken Yamoto, UC-San Diego, Overall Record: 56-75 (.427); Season records: 3-12, 2-13, 6-9 at Tarleton State and 10-17, 15-13, 20-11 at UC-San Diego. 1 CBI appearance, 1 promotion to a higher conference.

Terry Morillo, Western Illinois, Overall Record: 59-73 (.447); Season records: 4-11, 7-8, 4-11 at Dixie State and 13-16, 15-15, 16-12 at Western Illinois. 1 promotion to a higher conference.

This past season the Five Musketeers’ teams combined for 100 wins and just 52 losses and all 5 got their teams promoted to the next higher conference.  Coaches Yamoto, Montez and McMillan were named their individual conference’s Coach of the Year.  Ramon Montez said, “Great season by all 5 teams!  The five of us are going to party when we get together in early May.  Then it’s on to preparing for even better records next year.”

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2036-2037 SEASON

Conference Changes due to Promotion/Relegation

Michigan State relegated from A to B

Duke relegated from A to B

Texas relegated from A to B

North Carolina relegated from A to B

Georgetown promoted from B to A

Providence promoted from B to A

Baylor promoted from B to A

Connecticut promoted from B to A

Vanderbilt relegated from B to C

St. Bonaventure relegated from B to C

Kansas State relegated from B to C

Nebraska relegated from B to C

Cincinnati promoted from to C to B

Memphis promoted from C to B

Texas Tech promoted from C to B

Gonzaga promoted from C to B

Ohio State relegated from C to D

Wichita State relegated from C to D

Utah State relegated from C to D

Purdue relegated from C to D

Virginia Commonwealth promoted from D to C

Oklahoma State promoted from D to C

Nevada-Las Vegas promoted from D to C

Syracuse promoted from D to C

Auburn relegated from D to E

Louisiana State relegated from D to E

Utah relegated from D to E

Penn State relegated from D to E

Iowa State promoted from E to D

Texas A&M promoted from E to D

Temple promoted from E to D

Houston promoted from E to D

Colorado State relegated from E to F

Iowa relegated from E to F

Boise State relegated from E to F

Rutgers relegated from E to F

Old Dominion promoted from F to E

Wake Forest promoted from F to E

Colorado promoted from F to E

Illinois State promoted from F to E

Mississippi State relegated from F to G

Saint Louis relegated from F to G

Arizona relegated from F to G

Ohio relegated from F to G

Pacific promoted from G to F

Wright State promoted from G to F

Fresno State promoted from G to F

Alabama-Birmingham promoted from G to F

Nevada relegated from G to H

Murray State relegated from G to H

Kent State relegated from G to H

Tulsa relegated from G to H

Duquesne promoted from H to G

Akron promoted from H to G

Winthrop promoted from H to G

Bowling Green promoted from H to G

Saint Mary’s relegated from H to I

Loyola (IL) relegated from H to I

Furman relegated from H to I

Western Michigan relegated from H to I

Northern Iowa promoted from I to H

Middle Tennessee promoted from I to H

UC-Irvina promoted from I to H

DePaul promoted from I to H

New Mexico State relegated from I to J

Western Kentucky relegated from I to J

Weber State relegated from I to J

George Washington relegated from I to J

Stony Brook promoted from J to I

Drake promoted from J to I

Pennsylvania promoted from J to I

Sam Houston State promoted from J to I

Northeastern relegated from J to K

Loyola Marymount relegated from J to K

East Tennessee State relegated from J to K

NC-Greensboro relegated from J to K

MD-Baltimore County promoted from K to J

Georgia State promoted from K to J

Stephen F. Austin promoted from K to J

Morehead State promoted from K to J

Princeton relegated from K to L

Valparaiso relegated from K to L

Miami (OH) relegated from K to L

Hofstra relegated from K to L

Evansville promoted from L to K

Little Rock promoted from L to K

Grand Canyon promoted from L to K

Eastern Washington promoted from L to K

Illinois-Chicago relegated from L to M

Long Beach State relegated from L to M

William & Mary relegated from L to M

Hawaii relegated from L to M

Coastal Carolina promoted from M to L

Austin Peay promoted from M to L

Fairfield promoted from M to L

Liberty promoted from M to L

Mercer relegated from M to N

Georgia Southern relegated from M to N

Charlotte relegated from M to N

Iona relegated from M to N

Southern Mississippi promoted from N to M

High Point promoted from N to M

Ball State promoted from N to M

Southern Utah promoted from N to M

Abilene Christian relegated from N to O

Portland relegated from N to O

Manhattan relegated from N to O

South Alabama relegated from N to O

Jacksonville State promoted from O to N

Youngstown State promoted from O to N

Brown promoted from O to N

Eastern Kentucky promoted from O to N

Siena relegated from O to P

Robert Morse relegated from O to P

NC-Wilmington relegated from O to P

East Carolina relegated from O to P

Army promoted from P to O

Idaho promoted from P to O

Norfolk State promoted from P to O

Long Island promoted from P to O

Appalachian State relegated from P to Q

Lipscomb relegated from P to Q

Cal Poly relegated from P to Q

UC-Riverside relegated from P to Q

Northern Arizona promoted from Q to P

Texas-Rio Grande promoted from Q to P

Monmouth promoted from Q to P

Lamar promoted from Q to P

Wagner relegated from Q to R

Mount St. Marys relegated from Q to R

Sacramento State relegated from Q to R

San Jose State relegated from Q to R

Stetson promoted from R to Q

Saint Peters promoted from R to Q

Troy promoted from R to Q

Incarnate Word promoted from R to Q

New Orleans relegated from R to S

Delaware relegated from R to S

Purdue Fort Wayne relegated from R to S

Gardner-Webb relegated from R to S

Cal State Northridge promoted from S to R

Kansas City promoted from S to R

North Carolina A&T promoted from S to R

Bryant promoted from S to R

UC-Davis relegated from S to T

Chicago State relegated from S to T

Canisius relegated from S to T

Montana State relegated from S to T

Alcorn State promoted from T to S

Arkansas-Pine Bluff promoted from T to S

Omaha promoted from T to S

Southern promoted from T to S

Citadel relegated from T to U

Bellarmine relegated from T to U

Sacred Heart relegated from T to U

New Hampshire relegated from T to U

Jackson State promoted from U to T

North Alabama promoted from U to T

Morgan State promoted from U to T

MD-Eastern Shore promoted from U to T

Kennesaw State relegated from U to V

Presbyterian relegated from U to V

North Dakota relegated from U to V

Saint Francis (PA) relegated from U to V

Eastern Illinois promoted from V to U

UC-San Diego promoted from V to U

Western Illinois promoted from V to U

Maine promoted from V to U

Longwood relegated from V to Independent

Birmingham promoted from Independent to Vq

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TRANSFERS

UC-San Diego—no one transferred and all scholarships filled.

MD-Eastern Shore—SF Jibran Hale transferred away.…excellent player (last season was Conf. Freshman of the Year and 1st Team All-Conf.) so a big loss.  3 open scholarships to try to fill with transfer players…Will try to land a SF and an interior player plus best available.

Alcorn State—3 players transferred away leaving so have 3 scholarships available to try to fill with transfer players…need a guard, interior player and either a SG or SF.

Western Illinois—one player transferred so one scholarship to fill with a transfer player…prefer to get an interior player.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff—no one transferred away, but had one open scholarship to fill with a transfer player…need a guard.

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Posted (edited)

Transfer Results

ALCORN STATE

Ramon Montez: “Our goal was to sign a guard, an interior player, and either another guard or a small forward.  We spent more money than we’d have liked, but ended up getting 3 very good players.  SF Jared Kraft transferred from Indiana where he didn’t play much as a freshman, but is likely to start for us.  PG Teremun Harris comes to us from Tennessee-Martin where he started his entire freshman year and averaged 12.7 ppg.  PF LaRon Eldridge played as a freshman for Lehigh where he was their primary sub and averaged 8.8 ppg and 3.9 rpg.  Harris and Eldridge will get substantial playing time and could challenge for a starting role.”

MD-EASTERN SHORE

Mike McMillan: “Losing SF Jibran Hale was a big blow since he played so well for us as a freshman.  Jibran ended up transferring to Georgetown.  We needed to sign a SF to take Jibran’s place.  And we got our man bt signing SF Winston Morris who started for Oregon as a freshman and averaged 11.2 ppg and 5.9 rpg.  He’s likely to start for us  this coming season..  We also signed C Tim Taflinger who, as a freshman, started for Jacksonville where he averaged 5.9 ppg and 5.1 rpg.  We also signed PF Luke Feeley who got limited playing time at Kansas last season.  Taflinger and Feeley both will get some solid playing time ths season.”

WESTERN ILLINOIS

Terry Morillo:  “We just had one scholarship to fill and were looking for a good interior players. We signed PF Joe Bergmann.  He played well last season as a freshman at Yale where he started and averaged 12.9 ppg and 3.6 rpg and was the Conference E Freshman of the Year.  We expect him to be a starter for us this season.”     

ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF

Dontell Spencer: “We were going after a guard to fill our lone vacant scholarship.  We were able to convince SG Bill Thorton to likely start for us this season.  As a freshman he attended Florida Gulf Coast.  He broke his wrist so missed a third of the season but was a starter in the games he could play.  He scored 15.4 ppg and pulled down 4.4 rpg.”

UC-SAN DIEGO

Ken Yamoto: “When I see the level of transfer players the others signed, I sort of wish we could have participated.  But we had a full house of scholarship players.  We will have a young team this season. Nine of our 13 scholarships are filled by freshman and sophomores.  So we could be in for a big challenge this year.”

Edited by PointGuard

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