Saturday, May 23, 2015

HBU heads to NCAA post-season play with 6-0 win over Sam Houston

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2015 TexSport Publications

SUGAR LAND, TEXAS (May 23, 2015) With a stunning six-run eighth inning, the Houston Baptist UniversityHuskies defeated the Sam Houston State University Bearkats by the score of 6-0 to win the 2015 Southland Conference Baseball Tournament on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas. With the win, the Huskies advance to the NCAA regional tournament.

The game remained scoreless until the eighth inning, when HBU erupted for six runs on six hits to secure the win. Starting pitcher Curtis Jones went the distance for the Huskies, facing 35 batters, and giving up 10 hits, while striking out 7 and walking a single batter. He threw 111 pitches and finished the game with a 3.62 ERA; raising his record to 6-6 heading into the regionals. For his effort, Jones was selected as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

The Huskies batted through their lineup in the eighth inning, scoring their six runs with two outs on the scoreboard. They lead off the inning with two out before catcher Samm Wiggins drew a walk and first baseman Andrew Alvarez singled. The Bearkats pulled starting pitcher Greg Belton, who threw 7.2 innings, giving up seven hits. Belton was replaced with right-hander Jordan Church who promptly gave up four hits that scored five runs. He was pulled after facing four batters and replaced by Alex Bisacca. The right-hander walked a batter before giving up double and a run. He closed out the Huskies with a strikeout, but by then the damage was done.

HBU tallied 12 hits in route to their six runs, all of them earned. Alvarez was 2-of-4 with a single run and two RBI while right fielder Thomas Clay went 2-of-3 with a run. Left fielder Brandon Morones secured two hits and a one RBI.

In addition to Jones, the Huskies placed three on the All-Tournament Team. Second baseman Greg Espinoza, right fielder Clay Thomas and Alvarez joined Jones on the elite squad. Tournament runner-up Sam Houston State placed designated hitter Jake MacWilliam, outfielders Hayden Simery and Bryce Johnson, along with left-handed pitcher Andrew Godail on the squad.

This will be the first time in school history the Huskies have made it to the NCAA post-season. In 2007, they advance to the NAIA World Series, finishing in third place.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Rematch of 2014 scheduled at World Gyro Eating Championship in Houston

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vocs Photography
Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2015 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (May, 13, 2015) On Sunday, May 17, 2015 , Niko Niko's Greek & American Cafe will be hosting the World Gyro Eating Championship during Houston's Greek Festival which is held on the grounds of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Houston. The event is sponsored and sanctioned by Major League eating and will feature two of the world's leading eaters battling for gyro eating supremacy

In 2014, Matt Stonie (San Jose, California), who was the No. 2 ranked eater in the world, down No. 1 Joey Chestnut (San Jose, California) by eating 24 8-oz gyros in 10 minutes. The performance was a new world record, breaking Chestnut’s record of 22.5 gyros established in 2013.

The victory was the first for Stonie, who finished in second place in 2013 and 2014, and third place in 2011. Chestnut had previously won the title in 2010, 2011, and 2013. In 2013, Chestnut consumed 21 gyros for second place in 2014, while eating 21 in 2010, where he tied the record established by Pat Bertoletti in 2008.

“This event at Greek Fest highlights our summer. Matt definitely shocked everyone last year by not only beating Joey, but shattering his record,” stated Dimitri Fetokakis in the pre-event press release from Major League Eating. Fetokakis is the owner of Niko Niko’s Greek & American CafĂ© and further stated, “Our gyro sandwiches are no joke. We can’t wait to see what these two and all the competitors have in store this year.”

Other competitors eating for the Niko Niko’s Belt include No. 4 Miki Sudo (Las Vegas, Nevada) and No. 16 Steve Henley of Dixon California. Sudo placed fourth in 2014. Consuming 11.5 gyros in the 10 minute limit.

Major League Eating President Richard Shea was quoted in a prepared press release; “Joey’s loss last year to Stonie shook him to the core, and caused him to rethink his entire approach to gyro eating. He returns to Houston this year with his reputation on the line and a deep need to dominate Stonie.”

The event will kick off at 2 p.m. with tickets costing $3.00 each.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Houston, Colorado battle to scoreless draw in MLS action

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography 

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2015 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 28, 2015) Coming into Saturday’s game against the winless and scoreless Colorado Rapids, the Houston Dynamo were looking for quick ninety minute game and an easy win in their second home game of 2015. The Rapids had other plans as both teams battled to a scoreless draw in front of a nearly packed BBVA Compass Stadium on March 28, 2015. With the win the Dynamo raise their record to 1-1-2 (5 points) while the Rapids take a 0-0-3 record back to their Rocky Mountains’ home.

The Dynamo, who played the entire game with a noticeable command of the field, had 11 shots-on-goal, with none of them able to get into the net. In contrast, the Rapids drilled six shots towards the Dynamo net and none of them were able to put points on the score board.

Three yellow cards issued to the Houston Dynamo, the first in the 43rd minute to Ricardo Clark. Alexander Lopez received his in the 68th minute and KofiSarkodie was carded in the 84th  minute. The Rapid was not carded for any misconduct the entire game.

With the draw, Houston received one point to raise their total to five after four games. The Rapid also tallied one point for the draw, giving them three points for the season.

The Dynamo will next face Seattle on Saturday, April 4 on the road before returning home to play Montreal on Saturday, April 11. Colorado will next play New England at home on April 4 with a April 10 match-up against FC Dallas on April 10 in Dallas.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

No. 3 Vanderbilt remains undefeated at Southland Bowling League Championsip

Photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2015 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 21, 2015) The Southland Bowling League Championship continued on Saturday afternoon, March 21. 2015 Del-Mar Lanes in Houston with four matches; one in the championship bracket and three in the consolation bracket. Match nine was the first of the afternoon with the No. 5 Valparaiso Crusaders facing No. 7 Monmouth Hawks. Both teams came into the match with 1-1 records. The Crusaders overcame the Hawks by the score of 4-0 (183-164, 168-122, 163-158, 214-190).

In the second consolation matchup, match 10, the No. 2 Stephen F. Austin LadyJacks faced the No. 4 Sam Houston State Bearkats. In the end, the Bearkats came out on top by the score of 4-2 (190-179, 186-173, 246-201, 176-184, 176-179, 171-191). The SHSU win setup a rematch of a round one game with the Bearkats facing Valparaiso. In that game (match 12) the Crusaders came out on top by the score of 4-3 (145-154, 187, 217, 193-173, 201-166, 199-149, 202-174).

Prior to the Sam Houston vs. Valparaiso match, the two undefeated teams, No. 1 Arkansas State and No. 3 Vanderbilt played to a 4-3 outcome with the Commodores coming out on top. The win gave Vanderbilt a 3-0 record while the Red Wolves fell to 2-1. As a result, the Red Wolves will face Valparaiso at 9:35 a.m. on Sunday, March 22 with the winner advancing to the final against Vanderbilt. Should the Commodores should lose in the noon match, a 1:45 p.m. match would be schedule since Vanderbilt would have only one loss. The championship round will be streamed live at

Arkansas State, Vanderbilt undefeated through two rounds of SBL Championship

Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin will face off in the
third round of the SBL Championship.
Photo b y Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved.
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2015 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 21, 2015) Day one of the Southland Bowling League Championship was contested at Del-Mar Lanes in Houston on Saturday, March 21, 2015 and saw No. 1 Arkansas State and No. 3 Vanderbilt advancing to the third round, both having defeated their first and second round opponents to remind undefeated. 

In the first round, Arkansas State downed No. 8 seed Louisiana Tech by the score of 4-1 (264-156, 147-187, 189-178, 204-166, 212-199) while Vanderbilt took down Tulane 4-1 (157-126, 168-149, 176-186, 199-161, 204-142).

In other first round matches, No. 4 Sam Houston State defeated No. 5 Valparaiso 4-2 (234-170, 194-173, 167-176, 195-234, 179-176, 220-241) while No. 7 Monmouth beat No. 2 Stephen F. Austin 4-1 (204-198, 170-203, 194-185, 218-184, 206-179).

The second round found Valparaiso eliminating Louisiana Tech 4-2 (215-181, 197-210, 191-195, 185-159, 237-174, 244-135). SFA also sent Tulane home with their second loss of the day by the score of 4-3 (156-169, 202-190, 202-174, 173-174, 189-183, 181-200, 214-202).

The third round, which kicks off at 2:30 p.m. CDT on Saturday, March 21 will see the two undefeated teams, Arkansas State and Vanderbilt, facing off. The four teams who stand at 1-1 will bowl, with the losers going home. The consolation bracket consists of Valparaiso facing Monmouth and SFA facing SHSU.

Arkansas State is currently ranked number three in the nation by the National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA) poll. SFA is ranked fifth nationally in the poll, with Vanderbilt ranked sixth and defending NCAA champion Sam Houston is ranked seventh.

Semi-final and final matches will be contested on Sunday, March 22 beginning at 9:30 a.m. CDT.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Houston downs cross-town rival Rice in first game of Silver Glove Series

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2015 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 17, 2015) Exploding for five runs in the fourth inning, the No. 21 Houston Cougars added insurance runs in the seventh and eighth innings to down the No. 8 Rice Owls by the score of 8-3 at Cougar Field on Tuesday, March 17, 2015. The match-up was the first of the three-game series to determine the winner of the Silver Glove Series.

Rice scored two runs in the sixth inning and added one run in the eighth inning in the loss. Rice fell to 15-7 for the season. The Cougars raised their record 14-7.  The two cross-town rivals will again face-off on April 14 at Rice’s Reckling Park and May 12 at Constellation Field in Sugar Land.

The Cougars clobbered off 11 hits in route to the win with Chris Iriart going 2-of-3 and raising his batting average to .338.   Center fielder Zac Taylor was 3-of-3, scoring one run and knocking in one RBI.  Starting pitcher Seth Romero, pitching 6.1 innings, gave up two earned runs and struck out nine. He raised his record to 2-1. Rice starter Jordan Stephens received the loss, dropping his record to 1-1. Aaron Garza, pitching 1.1 innings in relief, received his first save of the season. Houston stranded six runners on base, while Rice left nine on base. Rice used seven pitchers in the loss, while Houston used three pitches in relief.

Houston will now hit the road for a three-game series in Albuquerque against New Mexico on March 20-22, 2015. They will return to Cougar Field on March 25 to face the Lamar Cardinals before again hitting the road for an eight-game road trip. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

HBU comes up short against Iowa bats; falls 7-2

Photo by Robert H Kelly
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2015 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 16, 2015) Iowa jumped out to an early four-run lead, and HoustonBaptist University was unable to overcome the deficit and dropped the third game of their current four-game series against the Hawkeyes by the score of 7-2 at Husky Field on Monday, March 16, 2015. With the loss, HBU falls to 2-1 versus Iowa. The final game of the series scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 17.

The Hawkeyes scored one run in the first inning and added three runs in both the second and eighth innings before the Huskies got on the board in the bottom on the ninth inning with two runs. Iowa tallied 15 hits in route to their win. HBU managed to get six hits in route to their two runs. Shortstop Louie Payetta was 2-for-4 while starting pitcher Curtis Jones struck out five in the loss. Jones fell to 1-3 on the season in pitching six complete innings.

Iowa starter Calvin Mathews got his second win of the season, pitching 5-1 innings and giving up four hits. Iowa went to 11-4 on the season while the Huskies fell to 9-10. The Huskies won the two previous games in the series 7-1 and 5-1. After the final game against the Hawkeyes the Huskies will host Central Arkansas in a three-game conference series. Game time will be 2 p.m. on Friday, March 20 and Sunday, March 22 with a 1 p.m. first pitch on Saturday, March 21. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

HBU could not overcome Arkansas State bats; fall 13-2 in first game of double header

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2015 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (February 28, 2015) The Houston Baptist University Huskies could not overcome the ArkansasState bats early in the game and dropped the first game of their double header against the Red Wolves by the score of 13-2 at Husky Field in Houston on Saturday, February 28, 2015. With the loss, the Huskies fell to 5-5 on the season. Arkansas State raised their record to 6-3.

HBU got on the scoreboard in the first inning on a double by center fielder Zach Nehrir, scoring third baseman Curtis Jones for second base. That would be the Huskies only run until the sixth inning when Jones again scored off another Nehrir hit.

After the initial hit by the Huskies, Arkansas State ripped of four runs in the second inning and another five runs in the third to take command of the game. They scored three insurance runs in the eighth inning and added a single run to their tally in the ninth.

The Huskies used five pitchers in the loss, with starter Matthew McCollough receiving the loss. The pitched two complete innings; facing 17 batters and giving up seven runs off nine hits. Starting pitch Jon Glidewell was credited with the win, his first of the season. In pitching six full innings, he faced 24 batters and game up two runs off three hits.  He threw 76 pitches, with 45 of them strikes.

The Huskies will continue their four game weekend series with game three at 2 p.m. on Saturday. They will conclude the series versus Arkansas State with a 2 p.m. game on Sunday, March 1.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Arizona State Sun Devil pitchers strike out 10 but fall to TCU Horned Frogs 3-0

Photo by Mike Stockman
By Mike Stockman
Staff Correspondent 

PHOENIX, ARIZONA (February 20, 2015) The No. 8 ranked Arizona State University Sun Devils were unable to score against the No. 1 ranked Texas Christian University Horned Frogs, losing 3-0 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona on Friday, February 20, 2015. 

The Sun Devils pitching staff are averaging almost ten strike outs per game this year.

The Horned Frogs were aggressive with stealing base attempts. Before this game, they were second in the Big 12 with 8 stolen bases. They had 8 attempts, scoring one, but were either thrown or tagged out by Sun Devil catcher Brian Serven on three of the eight attempts.

When asked how to slow down the Horned Frogs aggressive base stealing in the post-game interview, Coach Tracy Smith responded “We’ve got to fight to not over-analyze”.  “They’re going to be aggressive, I thought Serven did a pretty good job. Obviously we want to hold guys close, but it wasn’t like they walked all over us.”

The Sun Devils host the Horned Frogs for two more games this weekend. Game times are Saturday,  February 21  at 1:00 P.M. AZ time and Sunday, February 22 at 12:30 P.M. at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Thomas wins long jump; leads HBU women to eighth place finish at SLC championships

Photo by Michael Wade-Wade Event Photography.
Used with permission.
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2015 TexSport Publications

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA (February 18, 2015)With a jump of 5.88 meters (19 feet, 3.5 inches), Houston Baptist University sophomore Taylor Thomas (shown right) won the long jump at the Southland Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships that concluded on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Thomas, who hails from Waller, Texas, gave the Huskies their first-ever track title and led the Huskies to eighth place in the women’s team standing with 28 points. Stephen F. Austin won the team title with 132.50 points, followed in second place by Sam Houston with 118 points. Lamar University finished in third with 106 points.

Kierstin Santana added eight team points with her second place in the 800-meter run. Her silver medal performance of 2:12.12 was less than a second behind Lamar’s Verity Ockenden first place finish (2:13.09). In addition, HBU sophomore Michelle Chukwujekwu placed sixth in the triple jump (11.58 meters/38 feet, 0 inches).

The Huskies also placed two relays in the top eight. The 4 x 400-meter relay consisting of Ericka Rodriguez, Jazmine Warden, Gbemisola Orundami, and Santana were fourth with the time of 3:47.34. The distance medley relay place seventh (12:33.98) with the foursome of Carolyn McClanahan, Roneisha Webb, Stephanie Aguilar, and Santana.

In the men’s division, the Huskies finished in tenth place with 14 points. Christian Guzman finished in fourth place in the 60-meter hurdles with the time of 8.21 seconds. Daniel Shelton added three team points with a sixth place finish in the 800-meter run (1:52.60) while Garrison Fick finished in sixth place in the heptathlon (4835 points)

In the relay events, the HBU group of Jordan Claypool, D’Anthony Graham, David Hicks, and Brice Christian placed seventh in the 4 x 400 relay. In the distance medley relay, the Huskies finished eighth (10:35.83) with the foursome of Jeremy Lewis, Cody Hammonds, Daniel Shelton, and Juan Fraga.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Arizona State men's swimming win meet in final race; down BYU 151 - 148

1st Place and 2nd go to ASU’s Men’s 400 Free Relay.
Photo by Mike Stockman
By Mike Stockman
Staff Correspondent
Copyright 2015 Phoenix Area Sports

(used with permission by TexSport Publications)

TEMPE, ARIZONA  (January 10, 2015) Arizona State University’s men swimming and diving team squeeze out a victory by taking first and second place in the final event of the meet, the 400 free relay, against the Brigham Young University Cougars for a final score 151 -148 at Mona Plummer Aquatic Complex on Saturday, January 10, 2015.

Going into the final event, the 400 Free Relay, ASU’s men were down by 10 points. ASU had two relay teams and BYU fielded three. It would take a stellar performance by both relay teams, requiring them to place first and second to take the meet.

ASU’s “A” team, consisting of Patrick Park, Tadas Duskinas, Sean Kao, and Joe Worrick took the lead and never looked back.

ASU’s “B” team, consisting of Thomaz Martins, Cole Miller, Juhan Hong, and Narkley Perry, was on “A” teams’ heels but were never able to gain ground, finishing a comfortable lead in front of BYU’s “B” team, consisting of Seth Russell, Levi Jensen, Matt Abernethy, and Michael King.

ASU men's diving contributed to the team’s comeback victory against BYU when David Hoffer placed third in one meter diving and first place in the three meter diving. Hunter Atha placed third in the three meter event bringing the total diving contribution to 15 points.

ASU’s women defeated BYU by a score of 182 – 111. Key performances by the women included first place finishes in 200 yard medley relay, 1000 yard free, 200 yard free, 100 yard back, 100 yard breast, 200 yard fly, 50 yard free, 100 yard free, 200 yard back, 200 yard breast, 500 yard free, 100 yard fly, 1 meter diving, 200 yard Individual Medley, and the 400 yard free relay.

The Cougars will be hosting Denver on Saturday January 24 at the Richards Building Pool in Provo.

ASU’s next home appearance is against PAC-12 rivals Cal and Stanford on Jan 23 and 24 at 12 P.M. AZ Time. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Texas A&M’s Kyle Allen named MVP of 2014 Liberty Bowl

By Mike Stockman
Staff Correspondent
Copyright 2014 TexSport Publications

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE (December 29, 2014) Texas A&M’s freshman quarterback Kyle Allen from Scottsdale, AZ threw for 294 yards, had four touchdown passes, and scrambled for a 14 yard touchdown to lead the Aggies in a 45 – 37 victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers in the 2014 Liberty Bowl at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee on December 29, 2014.

This was the first meeting between Texas A&M and West Virginia in football. However, both schools have experience in the Liberty Bowl, which has been around since 1959.  In 1964, West Virginia lost to Utah 32 – 6. In 1975, the Aggies were shut out by the USC Trojans 20 – 0.

The head coaches Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M) and Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia) worked together at the University of Houston earlier in their careers. Sumlin was the head coach for University of Houston from 2007 to 2011. In 2008 and 2009, Holgorsen was the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. During these two years, the Cougars were ranked in the NCAA as No.3 and No.1 in total offense.

This set the stage for what would be the second highest scoring Liberty Bowl game ever. In all, there were seven touchdown passes (four touchdown passes over 40 yards), two running touchdowns, an interception run back for a touchdown, four field goals, and – of course – 10 extra points made.

Total offense was just over 1000 yards, the Aggies had 529 yards while the Mountaineers had 472 yards.

The Aggies’ Josh Reynolds began the scoring early in the first quarter on a 44 yard touchdown reception from Allen. Malcome Kennedy had two touchdown receptions, one for 11 yards and the other for 9 yards. Trey Williams had a 40 yard touchdown reception and a running touchdown of 18 yards. Josh Lambo kicked a field goal from 26 yards out and was 6 – 6 on extra point attempts.

The West Virginia Mountaineers’ quarterback Skyler Howard (Sophomore), from Ft. Worth, TX threw for 346 yards and three touchdown passes. The longest touchdown pass of the day was to Kevin White for 49 yards. Mario Alford scored on a 45 yard reception. The final touchdown pass was to Elijah Wellman for 4 yards.

The Mountaineers’ defense contributed to the scoring when freshman KJ Dillon picked off an interception and ran it back for a 35 yard touchdown. Josh Lambert scored three field goals (32, 40, and 31 yards out) and was 4-4 on extra points to finish out West Virginia’s 37 points.

This loss brings West Virginia’s bowl record to 14 – 19. For Texas A&M, this is the fourth straight bowl win, the best consecutive record in the school’s history. The Aggies are now 17 – 19 in bowl games.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Houston downs MVSU on Stiggers' eight three-pointers

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2014 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 28, 2014) Scoring 24 of his 28 points from three-point range, Jherrod Stiggers (shown left) led the Houston Cougars to an 80-53 win over the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils on Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014 at Hofheinz Pavilion in Houston. Stiggers' eight three-pointers was a career high for the starting guard and helped to give the Cougars their seventh win of the season.

Cavon Baker and Devonta Pollard also scored in double figures; 13 and 12 points respectively. Danrad Knowles led the Cougars with 10 rebounds, with Pollard and Stiggers each getting two steals. Pollard was perfect from the free throw line, 6-of-6, along with seven rebounds.

Stiggers talked about is eight three-pointers in the post-game press conference.

“It was just the flow of the game. I try to play as hard as I can, but coach says to not force shots, and just let them."

Houston out-shot the Delta Devils from the field (48.1%-37.0%), free throws (78.9%-66.7%) and from three-point range (43.3%- 25.0%). They also held an advantage in second chance point (17) which was a direct result of their 16 offensive rebounds.

Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson spoke about the Cougars’ slow first half start with the press after the game.
“Turnovers. We’re going to turn the ball over some. That’s the way we’re built. Chuck (Cavon Baker) is going to turn it over some. Jherrod (Stiggers) is going to turn it over some. Eric (Weary) is going to turn it over some. Devonta (Pollard) is going to turn it over some. We’re not a team that’s going to play a clean game. We’re just not built that way."
MVSU shot 46.2% in the first half, but was held to 28.6% in the second half, The Cougars outscored the Delta Devils in the second half (40-20) by shutting down their offensive attack. MVSU only shot 8-of 28 from the field in the second half. Isaac Williams led the Delta Devils with 12 points, while Vacha Vaught pulled down nine rebounds.

Houston will next head to Memphis on Dec. 31 to face the Tigers in American Athletic Conference action. From there they will travel to Oklahoma to play Tulsa on Jan. 4, 2015 before returning home to play UCF at Hofheinz Pavilion on Jan. 6. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Houston.

Arizona State's Demario Richard scores four TDs in Sun Bowl victory over Duke

By Mike Stockman
Staff Correspondent
Copyright 2014 TexSport Publications

EL PASO, TEXAS (December 27, 2014) It was a battle of the devils at University of Texas at El Paso’s football stadium where the Arizona State Sun Devils intercepted a game winning  touchdown pass over the Duke Blue Devils with less than 45 seconds left on the clock to hold take a 36-31 win n the 81st Sun Bowl on December 27, 2014.

What started out as a 20 – 3 lead early in the second quarter by ASU, ended in a thrilling back and forth game that went down to who ever made the last big play. 

ASU’s Freshman running back Demario Richard tied the Sun Bowl record of most touchdowns by collecting four; two on the ground and two in the air.

Sun Devil field goal kicker Zane Gonzales, of Deer Park, TX, was successful on attempts from 28, 38, and 47 yards with three extra points to complete ASU’s scoring.

Other notable performances for ASU include Kalan Ballage’s  96 yard kick-off return after Duke took the lead 31-30 in the 4th Quarter with 5:03 left. This set up Demario Richard’s second running touchdown to put the Sun Devils ahead for good.

The final notable performance from ASU came when defensive back Kweishi Brown snatched the ball out of the air for a critical interception in the corner of the end zone with 45 seconds left on the clock. This sealed the game for the Sun Devils.

Duke’s running back Shaquille Powell had over 160 yards while wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who could have been named MVP if Duke had won, had seven catches for 102 yards, 68 yard TD punt return, and a left-handed pass for a touchdown to Isaac Blakeney late in the game to put Duke ahead  31-30.

For the third year in a row, a Duke bowl game is plucked from their grasp, leaving seniors empty-handed after setting all-time Duke performance records.

ASU finishes 2014 with second straight 10-win season, and 28th win in three years. This bumps Arizona State's  Sun Bowl record to 3-1-1.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Houston comes up short against UCF with 64-50 loss in conference opener

Marche' Amerson (22) scored 10 points vs. UCF
to lead all Houston scorers.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2014 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 27, 2014) Shooting only 30% from the floor, the Houston Cougars dropped their first conference game of the 2014-15 season with a 64-50 loss to the UCF Knights on December 27, 2014 at Hofheinz Pavilion in Houston. With the loss, the Cougars drop to 5-6 for the season and 0-1 in American Athletic Conference play.

It was a hard road to hoe for the Cougars, shooting only 31% from the field. Houston had been averaging 36.4% in their previous 12 games, in addition to pulling down an average of 35.9 rebounds per game. Against the Knights, the Cougars pulled down their second lowest number of rebounds in a game this season (29).

Forward Marche’ Amerson led the Cougars with 10 points; six of them from three-pointers, along with a season high three steals.  Forward Tyler Gilbert tallies eight rebounds and guard Alecia Smith had a career high of seven assists.

Houston team took a 29-26 lead into the locker room at halftime, however UCF came out in the second half and took command of the court. They outscored Houston 38-21 and took the lead with 10:41 remaining in the game. Capping off 13 unanswered points, along with five straight scoring shots gave the Knights a 43-35 lead. From that point, the game was all UCF.

UCF commanded the boards, out-rebounding Houston 55-27, pulling down 18 on the offensive end of the court which resulted in 23 second chance points. They also led Houston in points in the paint, 34-24 and bench points 26-18.

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved
In the post-game press conference, Houston head coach Ronald Hughley was questioned about the Cougars’ performance. He responded:
“I wouldn't blame it on the (holiday)  break; it is just our confidence in shooting the basketball. When people play man against us, we are pretty good; when they show us the zone, we act like we have never seen it before in our lives. We didn't shoot the ball with confidence and we didn't penetrate the zone to make anybody else better. That is the one thing, you can’t play this game by yourself and on top of that you have to rebound the basketball. There were a lot of missed shots and a lot of missed opportunities that we didn't get rebounds.”
Houston’s next test will be on Sec. 30, 2014 in an 11 a.m. game versus Tulane in New Orleans. Hughley also commented in the press conference on the Cougars’ next opponent.
“Tulane is a very good team. The one thing I know that they are going to do is press us. We are usually the one  pressing people and turning the ball over, so we will get a little taste of the opposite side of that, but we will be prepared. If we are not tough going in there we will be walking out with our heads held down with another loss.”

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Rice Owls soar past Fresno State Bulldogs; 30-6

By Mike Stockman
Staff Correspondent 
Copyright 2014 TexSport Publications

HONOLULU, HAWAII (December 24, 2014) The Rice Owls’ offense soars past the Fresno State Bulldogs while the defense keeps the Bulldogs caged for a controlling 30 – 6 victory at Aloha Stadium in the 2014 Hawai’i Bowl on December 24, 2014.

The Owls’ junior quarterback Driphus Jackson, who was selected the Player of the Game, led the offense with 318 yards passing and three touchdowns. Dennis Parks caught five passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, while Mario Hull and Jordon Taylor scored the other two passing TDs’.

After a 58 yard screen to sophomore running back DarikDillard from San Antonio, TX, Dillard punches it in for a one yard touchdown.

Rice’s senior kicker James Hairston completed the scoring by connecting with a 21 yard field goal in the first quarter and three extra-points.

The Owls’ defense closed down the Bulldogs by blocking field goals, catching interceptions, and allowing only 93 yards passing.

Before this matchup, Fresno State and Rice have met six times with the Bulldogs leading the series 6 – 0.

This is the second time Fresno State has played in the Hawaii Bowl in three years. Two years ago, the Bulldogs lost to the SMU Mustangs 43 – 10.

The Owls have been in three consecutive bowl games, winning twice. Their bowl record going back to 1938 is now 7 – 5.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Stiggers leads Houston past Texas Tech with 26 points, 7 threes

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved.
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2014 TexSport Publications

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA (December 24, 2014) Boosted by junior guard Jherrod Stiggers (#21 shown right) scoring 26-points from the field, the Houston Cougars ended an eight game losing streak to Texas Tech by downing the Red Raiders 82-69 in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014. The last time the Cougars defeated the Red Raiders was Feb. 12, 1994 in a 76-64 win at Hofheinz Pavilion.

The 6-4 junior from Terrell, Texas shot 8-of-12 from the field, including 7-of-9 from three-point range. It was third 20-plus point game of the season and the sixth of his career. He also was 2-of-4 from the free throw line and pulled down seven rebounds.

Houston took a 41-34 lead into the locker room at halftime and lead by 17 points at the 6:05 mark in the first half. The Red Raiders made it interesting, cutting the Cougar lead to one point with 1:37 gone in the second half on a three-pointer by Toddrick Gotcher. After that, Texas Tech never got closer than four points.

Prior to the game, Houston was averaging 39.0% in shooting from the field. Against the Red Raiders, they shot 27-of-50 for 54.0% and 13-of-24 (54.2%) from three-point range.
Coming off the bench, Eric Weary, Jr. pulled down a team high nine rebounds, eight of them of defense, in addition to scoring 11 points. L.J. Rose added 16 points to the Cougars’ offensive effort, while Devonta Pollard added 12.

For the Red Raiders, Devaughtah Williams scored 21 points, while Randy Onwuasor added 14.

The Cougars raised their record to 6-4 for season and will next face Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 28 with a 4 p.m. tipoff at Hofheinz Pavilion. Houston is 2-0 against Delta Devils, having downed them 92-58 on Dec. 13, 2008 and 78-69 on Dec. 5, 1986.