Sunday, April 08, 2018

Lloyd scores 100th international goal to lead USA to 6-2 win over Mexico

Story and photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (April 8, 2018) In a game that saw Carli Lloyd score her 100th international goal along with Alex Morgan's two goals, the U.S. Women's National Team downed Mexico 6-2 in an international friendly match at Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium. On Thursday, April 5, the USA also downed Mexico 4-1 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Americans did not waste any time scoring when Mallory Pugh got around the Mexican defense and scored her 11th international goal to put the USA up 1-0 in the third minute. Mexico responded 14 minutes later when Monica Ocampo drilled the ball, from the left side, past goalkeeper Jane Campbell to tie the score. The goal was the 14th international goal of her career, which leads the current Mexico team roster.

El Tri took the lead in the game when Kiana Palacios scored off a corner kick by Ocampo in the 17th minute. After that, the USA scored three unanswered goals to close out the first half of play with a 4-2 lead. The first of the three goals came from Lindsay Horan in the 25th minute. Nine minutes later Lloyd headed in the third American goal, and her 100th international goal, from the center of the goal area with an assist from Morgan. With two minutes remaining on the half, Morgan tallied her 84th international gaol to put Brian the USA up 4-2. Megan Rapinoe was credited with two assists in the first half; on the goals by Horan and Morgan. The United States padded their lead in the second half with goals by Rapinoe (64th minute) and Morgan (69th minute). It was the 36th international goal for Rapinoe and 85th for Morgan. 

Three Americans saw their first action for Team USA. Haley Hanson (Houston Dash), Hallie Mace (UCLA), and Tegan McGrady (Stanford) all received their first cap for the United States. Hanson came into the game in the 40th minute to replace Horan. Mace entered the game in the 50th minute for Tierna Davidson, while McGrady took over for Pugh in the 58th minute.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Deer Park 8U Cougars advance in winner's bracket of La Porte Tournament

Photo by Kristine Kelly
Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

LA PORTE, TEXAS (April 7, 2018) The Deer Park 8U Cougars Girls' Softball Team stormed through the first two rounds of the La Porte Girls Softball Tournament, scoring a total of 25 runs in two games at Little Cedar Bayou Park in La Porte, Texas on Saturday, April 7, 2018.

In their first game of the tournament, the Cougars downed the South Houston Extreme by the score of 11-0. The "Ladies in Red" scored four runs in both the first and second innings, and added three insurance runs in the third for their first win of the tournament. Their 11 runs was the result of 14 hits while leaving only three runners on base. They followed that with a 14-13 win over Deepwater Xplosion to go 2-0 in the winner's bracket of the tournament. Against Deepwater, the Cougars needed two extra innings to secure the one-run victory.

Against the Extreem, nine of the ten Cougars playing in the game reached base, with left fielder Quinn Romero, shortstop Aubrey Rogers, and catcher Kirstin Kelly each scoring two runs. Pitcher Cali Telles, first baseman Riley Wilson, center fielder Jocelynn Wall, second baseman Emilee Mendoza, and right fielder Paige Taylor connected at the plate for seven RBI, with third baseman Melina Delgado and rover Mia Ceniceros adding runs for the Cougars.

The Cougars had a tough match up in their second game of the tournament against Deepwater. They jumped out to a 4-1 lead after one inning, and held an 8-5 lead after two. Xplosion cut Deer Park's lead to two in the third and tied the score at eight in the fourth when the Cougars failed to score. That marked the end of regulation; forcing the game to extra innings. In the fifth inning, Deepwater exploed for four runs to take the lead 12 -8. The Cougars responded in great fashion, scoring four runs to again tie the game. In the sixth inning, Deer Park held Xplosion to a single run to take the score to 13-12. The Cougars began the inning with runners at second and third (as per the tie breaker rules)  when Kelly strode the plate. and after two pitches, connected for a fly ball over the second baseman's head and into center field; scoring Delgado and Rogers from third base and second base, respectively, for two runs and the win. Romero, Telles, Wilson, Delgado, and Wall were three-of-three at the plate, with Mendoza, Ceniceros, and Taylor adding hits and runs late in the game to add to the Cougars' total.

Deer Park will face the Deer Park Hooks in the third round of the tournament with a 9:05 p.m. CDT first pitch. 
The Cougars are managed by Larry King and coached by Abel Mendoza and Dale Yurt.

Selected Cougar games are broadcast live on Facebook direct from the ballpark. Contact Robert H Kelly at for details. 

Monday, April 02, 2018

Deep Park 8U Cougars make it two-straight with 11-5 win over DP Crush

Photo by
Darla Tamulitis Kelly, La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

DEER PARK, TEXAS (April 2, 2018) Third baseman Melina Delgado was three-for-three at the plate and connected for a two-run home run in the third inning to lead the Deer Park Cougars 8U softball team to a 11-5 win over the Deer Park Crush at the Deer Park Adult Softball Fields on Monday evening. The Cougars tallied their 11 runs off 15 hits to raise their league record to 2-3 for the season. They scored their first three runs in the first inning, with solid hitting by Delgado, left fielder Quinn Romero (1-for-1, one run), shortstop Aubrey Rogers, (two singles, two runs), rover Jocelynn Wall (single, RBI) and catcher Kirstin Kelly (single, RBI). They added a single run in the second inning off a sacrifice grounder by Romero, scoring flex Mia Ceniceros from second base. 

The third inning saw the Cougars add three runs to their total, with first baseman Riley Wilson, Delgado, and Rogers all scoring runs. Right fielder Paige Taylor (1-for 2, single), along with Ceniceros, pitcher Cali Telles, and Wilson added insurance runs in the fourth. Second baseman Kalissa Telles (1-for-2, single) also scored a run in the fourth. Center fielder Genesis Rodriguez had a great game defensively, fielding the ball on numerous plays to limiting the Crush advancing runners into scoring position.

Next up for the Cougars is a Wednesday, April 4 rematch with the Deer Park Savage. The Cougars downed the Savage 10-8 on March 26 for  their first win of the season. First pitch is set for  6:15 p.m. CDT at the Adult Softball Complex in Deer Park. The Cougars are managed by Larry King, and coached by Able Mendoza and Dale Yurt.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Houston Dynamo falls 2-0 to New England Revolution

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 31, 2018) For the 24th time in program history, the Houston Dynamo and the New England Revolution faced off in a 90-minute contest with the Revolution taking a 2-0 win at BBVA  Compass Stadium in Houston. The Dynamo lost dropped them to 1-2-1 (4 points) for the season and takes their all-time record against their Eastern Conference rival to 5-12-7.

In the 15th minute, New England took the early lead on a counter attack shot by forward Teal Bunbury. He took a pass from forward  Cristian Penilla, who was driving down the right side and aptly sent the ball to the Canadian for the score. It was the first goal of the season for Bunbury and the third assist for Penilla.
Photo by Darla S Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

In the 35th minute, DaMarcus Beasley (shown left) picked up a red card for aggressive play; taking down Penilla at the top of the box, forcing the Houston to play with 10 men and without the services of their captain for the remainder of the match. It was first exclusion of his career, and as a result, Houston will be without Beasley in their April 14 match in San Jose.

The second half saw the Dynamo aggressively attacking the Revolution; with Alberth Elis breaking for the goal in the 63rd minute. His shot was turned away by goalkeeper Matt Turnerto keep the New England lead at one. New England responded nine minutes later with a tight-angle shot from the right post by Penilla for the second goal of the game. 

Dynamo head coach Wilber Camrera discussed with the press, after the game, the adjustment that were made a halftime. 

"We just decided to keep a block of the back four and two defensive midfielders. We sacrificed (FW) Andrew Wenger. He went from the wing to the left back and he did a good job. Then we keep the two midfielders, defensive midfielders, and we tried to leave (FW) Alberth (Elis) and (FW) Mauro (Manotas) a little bit more with freedom to look for opportunities. I told them we are going to have one or two opportunities and when we have one or two opportunities, we need to put that ball in the net. We had two clear opportunities, but we couldn’t do it. They scored a good goal because they have very good, talented players. Even though we tried to put some fresh legs up front, we could not score today.  We need to regroup. We need to give a little bit of a day off and come back with a good mentality to try to overcome this situation that has happened twice this year for us. We feel really awkward coming home and losing two times in the first three games of the season. This is something that we have to face now, and we need to fix it."

Houston goalkeeper Chris Seitz made his 100th career start in an MLS regular season game while Beasley made his 176th career start in MLS regular season play.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Houston Dash and Utah Royals battle to a scoreless draw

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 30, 2018) For the second week in a row, the Houston Dash remained undefeated in 2018 as they battled to a scoreless draw against the Utah Royals FC at BBVA Compass Stadium. The draw pushed Houston's record to 0-0-2 (two points) and kept head coach Vera Pauw undefeated in her Dash premier season. 

After 45 minutes of mostly defensive play, the game was scoreless with the Dash taking one shot, by Kimberly Keever and the Royals taking two, by Gunnhildur Yrsa Jonsdottir. The only shot on goal was by Jonsdottir.

In the second half, the Dash got more in the offensive side of the pitch. In the 51st minute, Haley Hanson received the ball from Meleana Shin and sailed it too high from outside the box. Two minutes later, Savannah Jordan got the ball on a cross from Kristie Mewis and right-footed a shot from the center of the box. Unfortunately for Houston, the ball was wide. The give-and take play in the second half saw more offense by the Dash; shooting six times. Utah took eight shots in the second half. The highlight of the game was the performance of goalkeeper Jane Campbell. The Kennesaw, Georgia native, who played her college soccer at Stanford, tallied five saves. The game was the second shutout of the season for Campbell and the Dash. In 2017, Campbell registered three shutouts.

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved
Pauw (shown left) discussed Campbell's performance with the press after the game, stating, “She was superb, of course. She kept us in the game, and she won the point for us.” 

Campbell gave her thoughts about the team after their first two games. She was quoted, “We were expecting to get two wins. In the first game, we gave up a late goal. We beat ourselves. Today, Utah came and played a great game. We didn’t play that well, especially in the second half. Utah took full advantage, so we’re thankful they didn’t put one away. We were expecting two wins, but at least we got two points out of them."

The next game for the Dash will be Wednesday,  April 18 against the Chicago Red Stars at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, followed by a Sunday, April 22 match-up versus Orlando City. They will return home on Saturday, April 28, where they will face the North Carolina Courage with a 2:30 p.m. CDT start.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

National, local athletes shine at 67th TSU Relays

Story and Photos by Kristina McKay and Tommy Boatman
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 27, 2018) Texas Southern University hosted its 67th annual TSU Relays on Friday and Saturday March 17-18 where students from all over the country came to test their endurance and skill. Middle school, high school and college men and women competed in pole vault, long jump, and javelin events as well as track races including races with and without hurdles, timed heats and team relay races.

The first afternoon’s quick downpours brought a need for a rotating schedule however the lightning less rain soon passed on, leaving the Houston humidity to heat up the Alexander Durley Stadium where the games took place. The turf where the Athletes converged was about ten degrees hotter than the temperature read so the athletes were huddled up anywhere there was a slice of shade especially on day 2 when the bulk of the games took place and the crowds filled the standing room only stadium.

The US Coast Guard sponsored the incredible games that welcomed athletes who not only were competing for trophies but to break records. Many did just that including Chris Carter who competed in the triple jump coming in 4th in the country and who left ranking 2nd in the nation with a personal best of 17.18m and TSU’s own relay team who ran the 4x400 meter relay to earn the 10th spot in the nation with a time of 3 minutes 10.4 seconds. Texas A&M took first place nationally in the 4x200 meter relay, but Wiley College was nipping at their heals, behind them by 3/10s of a second. With two other record breaking athletes in other track events, it was a great showing by Wiley.

The two days of events, food and fun was a huge success for the athletes who competed, graduating seniors who were honored alongside the generous sponsors, and Texas Southern University who were proud to host the games for the 67th year and who look forward to next year.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Deer Park Cougars 8U drops Deer Park Savage 10-8

Photo by Kristine Kelly
Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

DEER PARK, TEXAS (March 26, 2018) Paced by four RBI by catcher Kirstin Kelly, the Deer Park Cougars 8U softball team (shown right) downed the Deer Park Savage by the score of 10-8 in Girls League action at the Adult Softball Complex in Deer Park. The Cougars kicked of their scoring assault when Kelly singled in the second inning; sending shortstop Aubrey Rogers and rover Jocelynn Wall home from second and first base, respectively. Kelly added two more RBI in the third inning on another single, bringing second baseman Emilee Mendoza and Rogers home. Rogers tallied three hits in the game, including the final hit of the game to give the Cougars the win.

Left fielder Quinn Romero connected for two hits, along with right fielder Paige Taylor and third baseman Melina Delgado for six of the Cougars' 17 hits. First baseman Riley Wilson was 2-for-2 at the plate (single, double) and scored two runs. 

The Cougars' excellent field play held Savage at bay, with the excellent glove work of pitcher Cali Telles, center fielder Genesis Rodriguez, and flex/designated hitter Mia Ceniceros, limiting the Savage to only three balls getting out of the infield. Telles controlled the pace of the game from the circle; through focused play and awareness. Rogers scored three runs on three hits with Wall getting on base twice to put pressure on the Savage defense. Mendoza also scored two runs on two hits

Next up for the Cougars is a Thursday, March 29 match-up against the Deer Park Cobras. First pitch is set for  6:15 p.m. CDT at the Adult Softball Complex in Deer Park. The Cougars are managed by Larry King, and coached by Able Mendoza and Dale Yurt.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Texas Tech comes from behind to down Stephen F. Austin 70-60

Story and Photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

DALLAS, TEXAS (March 15, 2018) The No. 3 Texas Tech Red Raiders (25-9) started the game slowly, but came back to life in the final five minutes of the game to down the No. 14 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (28-7) by the score of 70-60 in the first round game for both schools at the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in Dallas. The near capacity crowd at the America Airlines Center saw the Lumberjacks control most of the game, but falter down the stretch. The Red Raiders trailed most of the game, but pulled ahead with 3:59 left in the game with a layup by Keenan Evans (Richardson, Texas). The two points pushed Tech into the lead 59-58 as they went on to outscore the Lumberjacks 11-2 in the final minutes of the game.

Texas Tech shot a paltry 35% (10-of-28) from the field in the first half, allowing SFA to take a 30-27 lead at half time. They improved their shooting percentage to 57% (15-of-26) in the second half while the Lumberjacks, who shot 37% (9-of-24) in the first half did not improve their shooting (9-of 23, 39%) in the second half. Evans tallied 23 points for the Red Raiders while fellow guard Zhaire Evans added 10. SFA had four players in double figures, with Ivan Canete (Lake Worth, Florida) leading the way with 17.

Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard discussed his thoughts after the game with the press.

"First of all, I just want to congratulate Stephen F. Austin for a great season. They were everything we thought they would be and more. Kyle Keller is a great coach. They've got good players. They've got a program is what they have. You go back to Danny Kaspar and certainly Brad Underwood, and now Kyle has taken it to another level. They just forced us into so many things and took away things, but I just wanted to congratulate them on a good season, and I know Kyle is just getting started building the program there. For our guys, we knew we were going to have to play great to win this game because we knew how good Stephen F. Austin was. I'm really pleased for our players that we advanced to the second round, beating a team that we had nothing but respect for."
SFA head coach Kyle Keller also talked with the press after the game.

"I wish we could have ended the game at halftime, obviously, but the game is 40 minutes. I give Texas Tech a tremendous amount of credit. Their Coach Chris Beard, his team embodies his spirit and toughness. And they imposed their will obviously the last 10 minutes or so of the game, and my guys tried. They always try, but we just didn't have enough tonight. We just -- it wasn't our night."

Next up for the Red Raiders will be a Saturday, March 17 meeting with the winner of Florida vs. St Bonaventure. The Gators come into the tournament as the No. 6 seed and a 20-12 record. The Bonnies counter with a 26-7 record and the No. 11 seed.

Last second 3-pointer lifts No. 11 Loyola Chicago over No. 8 Miami (Fla)

Story and Photos by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

DALLAS, TEXAS (March 15, 2018) With 3/10 of a second to go in the game, starting forward Donte Ingram connected from three-point range to give No. 11 Loyola Chicago a 62-60 win over No. 8 Miami (Fla.) in the second game of the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. With neither team able to gain an advantage after 20 minutes of play and the score tied at 28, both teams came onto the court for the second half and that told the story of the game.

Both teams shot 50% or better in the first half; (Loyola 52%, Miami 50%), however the difference in the game came down to the second half. Miami led in almost every stat, but the final three-pointer by Ingram made the difference and sent the Ramblers to the second round. Both teams led by seven points at different times in the game; Loyola at the 14:02 mark in the first half and Miami with 15:40 left in the game. Coming down the stretch, the Hurricanes were never behind until Ingram's three-pointer. With nine seconds left in the game, starting guard Ben Richardson rebounded a missed free throw by Miami's Lonnie Walker IV.  After bring the ball down the court, Marquis Townes receive the ball and quickly fed it to Townes for the score. It was Townes second credited assist of the game.

Ramblers' head coach Porter Moser talked with the press after the game and was quoted:

"You know, first of all, God is good. He blessed this group. We give the glory to him. He blessed our University, this group. He blessed me being able to coach resilient kids. The second thing with these young guys, we're in the huddle. Even when we were down seven, it was just about keep fighting, keep fighting. There's no quit in these guys. They believe. They share the ball. We had 19 assists. And a great example is that last pass to Donte with Marques to find it. They made big shots. Clay made a big shot on an action we run in the corner. Very, very blessed that we have kids that do not quit, that are resilient." 

The Rambles had four players in double figures, with Clayton Custer leading the was with 14, Ingram followed with 13, while Aundre Jackson and Cameron Krutwig coming off the bench to contribute 12 and 11, respectively. Miami had four players scoring in double figures, led by Walker IV with 12. Loyola will next face No. 3 Tennessee on Saturday, March 17. The Volunteers downed Wright State 73-47 earlier in the day.

Tennessee shuts down Wright State 73-47

Story and Photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

DALLAS, TEXAS (March 15, 2018)  After failing to score in the first three minutes of the game, the No. 3 Tennessee Volunteers took a 34-23 lead into halftime and went on to down the No. 14 Wright State Raiders by the score of 73-47 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

The Raiders showed little offense offense after the first few minutes of the game, shooting 31% from the field and 19% from three-point range. It was a distinct difference from the regulars season, where they shot 43% and average more than 72 points a game.

Lamonte Turner came off the bench and scored 19 points for the Volunteers and head coach Rick Barnes. The 61- sophomore guard from Florence, Alabama was 9-of-10 from the free-throw line and hit two three-pointers. Starting guard Admiral Schofield (Zion, Illinois) tallied 15 points and 12 rebounds, 10 of them on defense, for his fourth double-double of the season. Grant Williams (Charlotte, North Carolina) added 14 in the winning effort. 

Barnes stated after the game:

"Obviously we're happy with the win and the fact that we felt coming in that Wright State would be as difficult a team that we've played all year in terms of the way they move without the ball. They're really a team that, you watching them on tape, you could tell they were just a terrific team. They understood each other. They've had one of those special years, a lot like we have. So from that point, defensively we were really pretty good today against a team that's not a very easy team to guard. Offensively once we settled in, we settled in, and we missed some easy ones early, but we settled in and got our offense going."

Wright State heads home to Dayton, Ohio with a 25-10 record while Tennessee moves on to face the winner of No. 11 Loyola Chicago and No. 8 Miami on Saturday, March 17. The tip-off time yet to be determined.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

2018 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament: Midwest Bracket

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

DALLAS, TEXAS (March 14, 2018) As I have done for the past five years, I am posting my picks for each round of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, right up to the final game. I will be listing the first-round games in four posts. The fourth post will be the midwest bracket. My picks are underlined.


No. 1 Kansas
No 16. Penn

No. 8 Seton Hall
No. 9 NC State

No. 5 Clemson
No. 12 New Mexico State

No. 4 Auburn
No. 13 Charleston

No. 6 TCU
No. 11

No. 3 Michigan State
No. 14 Bucknell

No. 7 Rhode Island
No. 10 Oklahoma

No. 2 Duke

No. 15 Iona

2018 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament: East Bracket

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

DALLAS, TEXAS (March 14, 2018) As I have done for the past five years, I am posting my picks for each round of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, right up to the final game. I will be listing the first-round games in four posts. The second post will be the east bracket. My picks are underlined.


No. 1 Villanova
No. 16 Radford

No. 8 Virginia Tech
No. 9 Alabama

No. 5 West Virginia
No. 12 Murray State

No. 4 Wichita State
No. 13 Marshall

No. 6 Florida
No. 11 St. Bonaventure

No. 3 Texas Tech
No. 14 Stephen F. Austin

No. 7 Arkansas
No. 10 Butler

No. 2 Purdue
No. 15 CS Fullerton

2018 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament: West Bracket

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

DALLAS, TEXAS (March 14, 2018) As I have done for the past five years, I am posting my picks for each round of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, right up to the final game. I will be listing the first-round games in four posts. The second post will be the west bracket. My picks are underlined.

No. 1 Xavier
No. 16 Texas Southern

No. 8 Missouri
No. 9 Florida State

No. 5 Ohio State
No. 12 South Dakota State

No. 4 Gonzaga
No. 13 UNC-Greenville

No. 6 Houston
No. 11 San Diego State

No. 3 Michigan
No. 14 Montana

No. 7 Texas A&M
No. 10 Providence

No. 2 North Carolina
No. 15 Lipscomb

2018 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament: South Bracket

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

DALLAS, TEXAS (March 14, 2018) As I have done for the past five years, I am posting my picks for each round of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, right up to the final two game. I will be listing the first-round games in four posts. The first post will be the south bracket. My picks are underlined.

No. 1 Virginia
No. 16 UMBC

No. 8 Creighton
No. 9 Kansas State

No. 5 Kentucky
No. 12 Davidson

No. 4 Arizona
No. 13 Buffalo

No. 6 Miama (Fla.)
No. 11 Loyola-Chicago

No. 3 Tennessee
No. 14 Wright State

No. 7 Nevada
No. 10 Texas

No. 2 Cincinnati
No. 15 Georgia State

Texas Southern advances to NCAA field of 64 by downing NC-Central

Photo by
Kristina McKay and Tommy Boatman
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

DAYTON, OHIO (March 14, 2018) The No. 16 Texas Southern Tigers (16-19) defeated No. 16 North Carolina-Central Eagles (19-16) by the score of 64-46 in the third game of the "First Four" of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championships. 

The win was the first-ever NCAA tournament win for Texas Southern. The Tigers now advance to the Round of 64 to face the No. 1 Xavier Musketeers (28-5). They will play Friday, March 16 inside Bridgestone Arena ion Nashville, Tennessee.

Demontrae Jefferson (number 3, shown above), who was selected the Most Valuable Player of the SWAC Tournament this past weekend, scored 25 points in the Tigers' victory; shooting 8-of-18 and pulled eight rebounds.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Radford, St. Bonaventure advances to Round of 64 in NCAA men's basketball tournament

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

DAYTON, TEXAS (March 13, 2018) With two of the "First Four" games of the 2018 NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Tournament completed, two teams will advance to the round of  64 with two more to be determined on Wednesday, March 14.

The No. 16 Radford Highlanders (23-12) downed the No. 16 LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds (18-17) by the score of 71-61 at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio. With the win, the Highlanders head to Pittsburgh to face No. 1 Villanova (30-4) at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday, Match 15.

In the second game of the evening, No. 11 St. Bonaventure came back down the stretch to beat No. 11 UCLA, 65-58. The Bonnies will take on No. 6 Florida at American Airlines Arena in Dallas on Thursday.

MARCH MADNESS 2018: First Four

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

PASADENA-DEER PARK, TEXAS (March 13, 2018) The 2018 NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Tournament will begin momentarily. The games are listed below with my picks underlined.

For Tuesday, March 13, 2018
No. 16 LIU Brooklyn vs No. 16 Radford 
No. 11 St. Bonaventure vs. No. 11 UCLA

For Wednesday, March 14, 2018
No. 16 Texas Southern vs. No. 16 NC Central 
No. 11 Syracuse vs. No. 11 Arizona

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Texas Southern Tigers headed to NCAA Tournament

Story and Photos by Kristina McKay and Tommy Boatman

Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 11, 2018) Texas Southern University Tigers faced off against The University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions Saturday for the SWAC Men’s basketball championship. The Tigers came out strong and in control and even when The Lions appeared to be coming back, TSU shut them down and came away on top winning the title for the second year in a row. They are now headed back to the NCAA tournament for their fourth time in five years and are the first team to start 0-13 and make the NCAA tournament. The team has battled through countless suspensions of multiple players, as well as losing the SWAC Player of Year from last season in Zach Lofton, who transferred to New Mexico State.

The Tigers started out the game like they were the No. 1 seed in the SWAC tournament, jumping out to a quick 13-point lead with 10 minutes left in the first half. The SWAC All-Tournament Player Donte Clark had 11 of them and finished with 14 points. The Golden Lions pulled within 4 points with about 4 minutes left in the first half but TSU refused to let UAPB get a strong hold and the half ended with the Tigers owning a 45-36 lead.

In the second half, Arkansas-Pine Bluff came out motivated and pulled to within two as Texas Southern started to make little mistakes. They let off the gas, gave up several turnovers and then Donte Clark fouled out for the second game in a row. However, as Clark stepped off Lamont Walker stepped up keeping the Tigers’ heads in the game. Luckily or blessed, depending on who you ask, Walker had just come back on their last road trip after being suspended. The senior was motivated to make a difference, as was the SWAC tournament Most Valuable Player Demontrae Jefferson who finished with 15 points with 7 assists and 6 rebounds, Trayvon Reed who had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Derrick Bruce who pitched in 13 points, including four 3-pointers. The game ended 84-69, and while it was the first time this season that TSU had managed to beat UAPB, getting swept by them during the regular season, this was the game that mattered most and bought them a ticket to the “big show”.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

No. 4 Nicholls upsets No. 1 seed Lamar; advances to Southland tournament title game

Photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved
(game photos will be added later on Saturday, March 10)

KATY, TEXAS (March 10, 2018) The No. 4 Nicholls Colonels, paced by Cassidy Barrios' 27 points, upset the No. 1 seeded Lamar Cardinals by the score of 74-68 in the first semifinal game of the 2018 Southland Conference women's basketball tournament at the Merrell Center in Katy, Texas. The starting guard, who played her high school ball at Vanderbilt Catholic in Raceland, Louisiana, played the entire game and was 10-of-15 from the floor and 5-of-7 from three-point range. Fellow guards Tia Charles and Tykeria Williams each added 17 points to the Colonels' scoring assault. 

The Cardinals led 38-30 at the half, however Nicholls outscored Lamar 27-9 in the third period to quickly take command of the game and advance to the tournament final on Sunday, March 11 with a 12 noon CT start.

Moe Kinard was the high scorer for Lamar with 21 points, followed by Baileigh O'Dell, who came off the bench, to score 18. Kiandra Bowers tallied 14 points, along with 18 rebounds, to achieve her tenth double-double of the season. The Cardinals end their season with a 22-7 record. Nicholls will face the winner of the Stephen F. Austin vs. Central Arkansas match-up.

Texas Southern punches ticket to SWAC men's final with win over Prairie View A&M

Story and Photos by Kristina McKay and Tommy Boatman
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 10, 2018) The Texas Southern University men’s basketball team did what their female counterparts could not by defeating the Prairie View A&M Panthers in the late-night men’s semifinal action, 88-74.

TSU threw a balanced scoring attack at the Panthers as Donte Clark led the charge with 22 points, five rebounds and five assists before fouling off late in the game.  Derrick Bruce scored 18 points to go with five rebounds and three assists.  
Demontrae Jefferson scored 15 points and handed out six assists while Lamont Walker came off the bench and did not miss a shot, making all four from the field, including a trio of 3-pointers and two free throws to finish with 13 points. 

The Panthers tried to keep it close, a good effort by Blackston, who scored 32 points with eight rebounds and J.D. Wallace contributed with a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds two steals and two blocks, but it proved not to be enough.

The Tigers went on a key 21-9 run over a five-and-a half minute span during the second half to gain an arm’s length lead. The game-altering run was sparked by a Bruce 3-pointer & layup and followed with a jumper and a pair of free throws by Clark.  The Tigers continued their push with on a 3-pointer from Walker to make it a 60-51 lead with 10:45 remaining in the second half. Texas Southern avenged the two regular season losses in head-to-head match ups with the Panthers. Texas Southern shot 48 percent from the floor including 67 percent after the break while Prairie View A&M was only 39 percent for the entire game. 

TSU advances to face Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the SWAC Championship. The Tigers face a tough opponent in the top-seeded Golden Lions who were awarded Player of the year, defensive player of the year and Newcomer honors. However never count TSU out, it isn’t over till the final whistle blows.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff qualifies for SWAC men's basketball final with 71-65 win over Southern

Story and Photos by Kristina McKay and Tommy Boatman
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 9, 2018) Behind Player of the Year Martaveous McKnight, Arkansas-Pine Bluff eased past Southern 71-65, punching its ticket to the 2018 Toyota Southwestern Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament final.

A nip-and-tuck contest initially, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (14-19) managed to distance itself thanks to McKnight, who scored nine points in the first 13 minutes and knocked down a three-pointer to push the Golden Lions ahead 19-11 with 7:18 left in the half. 

Southern responded with a 11-2 run to take a 22-21 lead with four minutes left in the half, and Eddie Reese later keyed an 8-0 run – coupled with an UAPB scoring drought that lasted more than three minutes – to take a 30-23 advantage in the waning seconds of the half. However, Charles Jackson drew a foul on a three-point try with 0.7 seconds left, later converting all three from the stripe to cut Southern’s lead to 30-27 at the break. 

Jared Sam asserted himself following intermission, as he accounted for five early points as the Jaguars pushed their lead to seven. After that, however, the Jaguars struggled to find the bottom of the net, slogging through a 3:03 drought without a field goal. Meanwhile, the Golden Lions responded through their big man Trent Steen, as he nailed consecutive jumpers to bring UAPB within one.

Travon Harper later split a pair of free throws to tie the game at 38 with 14:47 left. Seconds later, a McKnight bucket pushed the Golden Lions ahead 40-39, but Chris Thomas dropped in a floater to put Southern back in front.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff remained in striking distance throughout the second half, and Harper later scored on a put-back of a McKnight miss to tie it at 55 with 5:42 left, and McKnight later swiped an errant pass, going coast-to-coast for a lay-up that gave UAPB a 57-55 lead with just under five minutes left.

From there, McKnight assumed the role of closer, scoring UAPB’s last nine points as the Golden Lions pulled away from the Jaguars late. 
McKnight scored a game-high 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting, grabbing eight rebounds. Harper added 23 points. Reese led the Jaguars (15-18) with 17 points, four assists and four rebounds. Sam added 13 points, and Emanuel Sheperd scored 11 points

Texas Southern falls to Grambling State 66-59 in SWAC semifinal

Story and Photos by Kristina McKay and Tommy Boatman
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (June 9, 2018)  Without Player of the Year Joyce Kennerson, the Texas Southern University Lady Tigers basketball team fell to Grambling State dashing their hopes of a repeat title on Friday in the SWAC championship semifinals. The Grambling State Lady Tigers avenged last year’s tournament final loss, defeating the defending champions Texas Southern 66-59 to advance to the 2018 SWAC Women’s Basketball Tournament championship game.

The Tiger’s had a rough first half which culminated into in-fighting and insults being hurled at each other and subsequently having to face the wrath of their Coach Johnetta Hayes-Perry whom it seemed had simultaneously gotten the in check and lit a fire under their backsides. They took the lead and were playing strong, even taking a lead into half time, but by the third quarter Grambling had all the momentum taking back the lead and TSU just couldn’t bounce back.

The MVT, Most Valuable Tiger, was the Pink haired warrior number 44 Taylor Robinson who had 8 rebounds and a game leading 17 points in 20 minutes of game play followed closely behind by Kaitlyn Palmer with 16 points and 4 rebounds in 40 total minutes. Grambling’s shining star was Jasmin Boyd who put up 19 points with 4 rebounds in 26 minutes. However, their defensive monsters Shakayla Hill with 14 rebounds put up 15 points and Monisha Neal with 10 rebounds contributed 11 points.
Grambling will face a tough opponent in the #1 seed Southern for the Women’s Championship, with their Defensive player of the year Briana Green and Coach of the year Sandy Pugh.