BGCsports "Perspective"

The 2017 NBA Draft

By Cedric Bailey

 

This Thursday will be the evening that NBA fans will be watching to see what their favorite team is going to do for the upcoming season. The Philadelphia 76ers acquired the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft from the Boston Celtics on Monday in exchange for the No. 3 selection in this year's draft and either the Los Angeles Lakers' first-round pick in 2018 or the Sacramento Kings' or 76ers' first-round pick in 2019. The Celtics confirmed the blockbuster trade is officially complete. The Sixers are expected to take University of Washington point guard Markelle Fultz with the top pick when the draft gets underway Thursday night at the Barclays Center in New York City. Boston noted it will have the Lakers' pick if it falls between picks two and five, otherwise the Celtics will claim the better of the 76ers and Kings' 2019 first-round selections.

 

The Celtics already feature a backcourt of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart. Keeping the first overall selection to add either Fultz or UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball would have created a logjam, likely forcing the front office to make further offseason moves.  Trading down to the third pick puts the team in range to land one of the class' top small forwards: Kansas' Josh Jackson or Duke's Jayson Tatum. That's a much better fit on paper based on the team's current roster, and it also adds future assets in the process.

 

Meanwhile, Boston could also use its growing bevy of draft picks to make another high-profile deal. Adam Zagoria‏ of Zags Blog noted general manager Danny Ainge could attempt to engage the Chicago Bulls in trade talks for superstar small forward Jimmy Butler after stockpiling first-round selections. The Celtics were previously linked to Butler, as well as Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, leading up to last season's trade deadline. They weren't able to acquire either player, and the lack of star power showed during their playoff exit against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

 

Finally the Dallas Mavericks are expected to pick up Frank Ntilikina . Vincent Collet, who is Ntilikina’s coach in France, will be on the staff of Dallas’ Summer League team, according to ESPN. What Collet’s reported hiring means is unclear, but ESPN added the Mavericks are “all in” on Ntilikina and represent his preferred destination. If Dallas were to draft Ntilikina, he’d be on the Summer League roster and have a familiar face on the sideline. Although Ntilikina’s pro team won Monday to extend the French League Finals to a Game 5, the 18-year-old is definitely headed to New York on Tuesday, according to a source. There, he will take his physical and his agents will determine which teams will see the results.

 

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban flew to Europe to meet with Ntilikina earlier this month. Be sure to join us live for the NBA Draft watch party at TJ’s Catfish and Wings on Green Oaks and Little Road on this Thursday evening at 6pm. You can also listen to the broadcast online at www.bgcsports.net with Charles Boyd and Darrell Day.

 

 

Rangers Win 3 Series in a Row

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Tony Guitierrez

 

Arlington: The Texas Rangers are playing some great baseball in the month of June. A few weeks ago the Rangers couldn’t find a win. However this team have found ways to win some ball games. Last week the Rangers traveled to Houston and won 2 out the 3 games vs the Astros and return home and won the series as well. Meanwhile on this past Sunday it was game three vs Seattle Mariners.  The Mariners jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first inning against starter Yu Darvish, and they avoided a sweep with a 7-3 victory on Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park. Danny Valencia's two-run home run in the first was the big hit, and Kyle Seager hit three run-scoring doubles as the Mariners finished 3-4 on their road trip. The Rangers have still won seven of nine going into a four-game series with the Blue Jays that starts Monday at home.

 

Despite the loss, the Rangers have won seven of nine going into a four-game series with the Blue Jays that starts Monday at home. They ended up taking two of three from the Mariners after scoring 10 runs in each of the first two games. "We looked tired today, maybe scoring too many runs in the first two games," Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "But we still won the series, that's the positive thing."

 

Mariners starter Christian Bergman, trying to make a case for staying in the rotation, rebounded from a rough start in his last outing by holding the Rangers to two runs in 5 2/3 innings. Bergman, who allowed nine runs to the Twins on Tuesday, picked up his fourth win while limiting the Rangers to four hits. This is the first time the Mariners have beaten Darvish in Arlington in his career. He was 5-0 with a 3.30 ERA in seven starts coming into the game. He is now 1-3 with a 4.45 ERA in his past five starts.

 

Rangers manager Jeff Banister was ejected in the second inning for arguing a foul ball/hit by pitch. Darvish threw a pitch inside to Tyler Smith, and it appeared to hit the knob of the bat. Home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt initially called it a foul ball, and Smith loitered at home plate. Then he offered his hand in evidence, and Wendelstedt awarded him first base. Banister immediately started arguing with Wendelstedt. Third base umpire Joe West, who is the crew chief, eventually intervened. Banister turned on him, too, and was ejected.

The Rangers open a four-game series with the Blue Jays at 7:05 p.m. CT Monday at Globe Life Park

The Golden State Warriors are the 2017 NBA Champions

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Nhat V. Meyers

 

Oakland CA: The Warriors played like they had a vision of this long ago, and it was this, exactly this. Let’s just say it was an incredible crack of thunder to take the lead in a championship-winning moment, then just holding on tight, tough and together.

 

At the end of his longest, starriest, most over-exposed Warriors season on Monday at Oracle Arena, Kevin Durant had the ball, Stephen Curry was near tears, the clock expired for a 129-120 victory in Game 5… And they were NBA champions. It made them stumble and cry and roar and quiver with emotion. After the final buzzer, the players, coaches and executives exploded in a pulsating crush of energy that surpassed their celebration in 2015 (in Cleveland) and touched on every dramatic piece of this journey.

 

They outlasted LeBron James, the man who beat them last year; they exorcised the demons after blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Cavaliers last year; and they fulfilled the manifest destiny of what they put together when they landed Durant last July. And they ended it with the five players who came together in The Hamptons to recruit Durant — Durant plus Curry, Thompson, Green and Iguodala.

 

The Warriors are NBA champions again, for the second time in three years, clinching the 2017 title with a 129-120 Game 5 put away of LeBron James and his powerful Cavaliers. Before the final buzzer sounded, the Warriors shoveled the ball over the Kevin Durant, allowing him to o dribble out the clock and bask in the moment, beginning an emotional celebration of the first major sports title won by a Bay Area team at home since 1974.

 

For Durant, this is long-awaited NBA title No. 1, finally obtained in Year 10, playing for his second franchise. And in these Finals, it was well-earned. He had the dunk-fest in Game 1, the block-fest in Game 2, the iconic 3 in Game 3 and the loud closing statement to help seal Game 5, taking home the Finals MVP trophy.

 

 

 

Wings Fall Again to the Undefeated Minnesota Lynx

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Pearson

 

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – The Dallas Wings ended their three home game series today, falling to the Minnesota Lynx 91-74. Sylvia Fowles continued her excellent start to the season with 30 points and nine rebounds, Maya Moore also had a season high with 23 points and the Lynx beat the Dallas Wings 91-74 Sunday to improve to 9-0. The Lynx did a great job setting up everyone: They had 30 assists on 38 baskets, becoming the first WNBA team with consecutive games of 30 assists. The previous record in back-to-back games was 58 by Los Angeles in June 2014.

 

Towards the end of the first quarter, the Wings went up by three when Kayla Thornton got the lay up off a pass from Karima Christmas-Kelly to notch up the score 19-16. The team kept the momentum up going into the second quarter when Kaela Davis found Saniya Chong for the lay up, but Minnesota responded back, and never saw back going on an 8-0 run to put themselves up 35-26. Four Wings players scored double figures for the night, with Christmas-Kelly leading the way with 21 points. At the end of the first half, Christmas-Kelly scored 18 points, the most points scored in a half by a Wings player.

 

Rookie Allisha Gray recorded 14 points and seven rebounds, while Skylar Diggins-Smith ended with 11 points and led the team in assists with four. Saniya Chong scored a new season high for the day with 10 points, going for 4-for-7 from the field. Forward Glory Johnson ended the night with eight points and eight rebounds, leading the team in total boards.

 

The Wings hit the road to face the Los Angeles Sparks this Tuesday, June 13. It will be the second time they will face the Sparks in under five days. Following the road game, the Wings will return home to go up against the New York Liberty on Friday, June 16 for their “Pride Night” game. Fans can purchase their tickets now by calling 817.469.9464 or by visiting www.dallaswings.com.

 

The Texas Rangers Report

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Karen Warren

 

The Texas Rangers once again have put together another winning streak. Last week the Rangers split their series against the New York Mets and over the weekend they traveled to Washington to sweep the Nationals. This week the Rangers are in Houston to face the number #1 team in MLB the Houston Astros.

 

On Monday evening it was Yu Darvish held the Astros to two walks and no hits into the fifth inning, and the Rangers generated two runs on three consecutive hits off Astros starter Joe Musgrove in the second inning of a 6-1 Texas win at Minute Maid Park. Darvish (6-4), loser of his last four decisions against Houston dating to 2014, induced 12 groundouts with four strikeouts and kept the Astros off balance with off-speed and breaking pitches. The only hit he allowed was Alex Bregman's RBI single in the fifth.

 

Rangers Pitcher Jeremy Jeffress allowed a ninth-inning double by Carlos Correa, the Astros' second hit, but pitched two scoreless innings for the Rangers. Musgrove (4-5), who came off the disabled list Monday to make his first start since May 26 for the Astros' injury-decimated rotation, held Texas to five hits through 4 2-3 innings, but the Rangers did sufficient damage in the second inning to claim their second win in eight games this season with the Astros.

 

In the second, Jonathan Lucroy singled with two out and scored when Rougned Odor tripled to the warning track in front of the Rangers' bullpen in left center. Joey Gallo's shot to right field caromed off the top of the wall in right field and stayed in play, scoring Odor, and Gallo dashed for home when the relay throw dribbled behind home plate. But Musgrove's throw to catcher Brian McCann was in time to catch the sliding Gallo. Reddick collided with the right field wall on Gallo's drive and was lifted during the fourth after suffering what the Astros described as a concussion.

 

Musgrove struck out two and walked one in his 75-pitch outing before being lifted with two out in the fifth for Chris Devenski. The Astros finally broke through in the fifth with their first run and only hit off Darvish. Carlos Beltran led off with a walk and, one out later, took second on Yuli Guriel's soft grounder to first. Bregman lofted a 2-2 pitch softly to left, and Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara was unable to make the catch as he slid to the turf. Beltran scored to cut the Rangers' margin to 2-1. Texas added a run in the fifth off Devenski when Elvis Andrus walked and scored on Adrian Beltre's double to center. Mazara put the game out of reach in the eighth with a three-run homer to dead center against Dayan Diaz, the Astros' third pitcher.

 

The Rangers will return back to Arlington on this Father’s day weekend to the face the Seattle Mariners for a three game series.

Warriors DOMINATE the Cavs in the 1st 2 Games of the 2017 NBA Finals

By Cedric Bailey

 

Oakland: The Golden State Warriors are now known as the Super team. The Cleveland Cavaliers brought everything that they could find to slow down the Warriors. Let’s just say that they have checked many of the boxes on their to-do list for Game 2 of the NBA Finals. They scored 22 more points than in Game 1. They had success in the paint with 60 points. They forced the Warriors into 20 turnovers — five times as many as they committed in the series opener. And still the Warriors breezed to a 132-113 victory Sunday to seize a 2-0 series lead heading into Game 3 at Cleveland on Wednesday.

Slowing down a Warriors team that is 14-0 in the postseason clearly is a different story. Golden State’s fast tempo on Sunday left Cleveland overmatched despite its much-improved performance over three nights earlier.  There was scant evidence of that in Game 2. Kevin Durant (33 points) and Stephen Curry (32) had big games once more, but Klay Thompson broke out of a shooting slump to score 22, including four of the Warriors’ 18 3-point baskets, creating a three-headed monster that left Cleveland’s defense dizzy.

Cleveland faced this scenario a year ago, down 0-2 heading home, then rallied to win the series in seven games. The Cavs aren’t seeing the parallel. “They’re a different team,” LeBron James said. “You guys asked me, ‘What was the difference?’ And I told you. They’re a different team.” A year ago, Harrison Barnes averaged 9.3 points and shot 35 percent in the NBA Finals as the Warriors’ small forward. His replacement, Durant, is averaging 35.5 points on 56-percent accuracy though two games. And the Warriors, who managed only 99.9 points per game against the Cavs a year ago, are scoring at a 122.5 clip so far.

Still, the Cavs say they are not discouraged. There will be game film to watch, adjustments to make and a home crowd that should provide a lift. “They took care of their home court. Down 0-2 going back home — you’ve got to live with those odds,” Irving said. “You’ve got to remain non-wavering. Never waver no matter what the outlook looks like. We understand who we are and we stay the course.” The Cavs need more from the bench and at least something from shooting guard J.R. Smith who has made one basket in two games). But no on in Cleveland’s locker room was able to offer a clear plan for limiting the Warriors’ offense.

James, whose 29-point, 11-rebound, 14-assist stat line tied Magic Johnson’s record of eight triple-doubles in the NBA Finals, was asked about the importance of defending home court in Cleveland.  Game 3 is on Wednesday and Game 4 is on Friday.

The Cavs must find a way to get LeBron some help to keep this series going or it will be over on this weekend. 

Homes for Hope Mission Trip to Mexico

By Cedric Bailey

 

San Diego CA:  YWAM/SDB (Youth with a Mission) is located in San Diego, California and was started in October 1991 by Sean and Janet Lambert. Their vision in the beginning was to mobilize groups that wanted to come to Mexico and beyond to serve the needs of the poor, both practically and spiritually. This past Memorial Day weekend I had the opportunity to attend a mission trip at the San Antonio Del Mar campus is our flagship property. It overlooks the Pacific Ocean in Baja California, Mexico. This campus is located 20 minutes south of the U.S. border, and is in between Tijuana and Rosario.

 

Turner 12, under the leadership of Founder and Executive Director Coach John Carter, and Arlington’s First Rate Investment, under the leadership of founder and CEO David Stone, answered the call of the Lopez family. Here is the letter that was submitted to Homes of Hope on last year. The father Carlos shares the following story, “it’s been a struggle paying rent with the income I have, and we've had to move several times. My pay is only $80 per week and things have been very tough for our family. Our church helped us when we were finally able to buy a piece of land and now we look forward to having a house that doesn't leak; where we have a bit more space. Thank you from Carlos, Ana along with our 3 children Hirving Hazael, Yulliona Sarai, Jenifer Estela.

 

Well on last Friday, I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Jud I. Stone and the members of First Rate to build a three room house for this family. There were at least 10 other homes that were built in Mexico for several other families. The Lopez’s   worked with students from Turner 12 and another group from Phoenix Arizona. We later traveled to Wal-Mart and purchased food and clothing for the family. Gifts were presented and a plaque to celebrate the dedication of the new home. Everyone had the opportunity to give thanks to God for answering those prayers! Today the Rosario’s have a new place to lay there head thanks to efforts of Turner 12, First Rate and the Stone family.

 

You can learn more about The Turner 12 by visiting their website at www.turner12.org. For those interested becoming a mentor, donor or volunteer, you can contact Coach Carter at (214)384-7912 or you may email him at turnertwelve@aol.com.

 

Rangers End “5 Game Skid” with a Victory over the Toronto Blue Jays

 

By Cedric Bailey

 

TORONTO – Last week the Texas Rangers were on a winning streak and moving up in the A.L.  The team were swept by the Boston Red Sox and almost lost the series against the Toronto Blue jays, however it was pitcher Andrew Cashner that silenced the Blue Jays offense and helped the Rangers avoid a three-game sweep at Rogers Centre in the process.

 

Cashner enjoyed one of his best starts of the season by allowing just one run over seven innings in a 3-1 victory on Sunday afternoon. He scattered five hits, walked two and finished with a pair of strikeouts to drop his ERA to 2.92 and, more importantly, helped snap Texas' five-game losing streak. Toronto's winning streak was stopped at five games. Third baseman Joey Gallo hit a solo homer for his 15th of the season. Elvis Andrus, Nomar Mazara and Jonathan Lucroy each finished with two hits in a productive day in the heart of the Rangers' lineup.

 

The Blue Jays made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth inning. Down to their final out, Justin Smoak and Russell Martin kept the game alive with a pair of singles through the infield. Troy Tulowitzki stepped to the plate against Texas closer Matt Bush and worked the count to 2-2 before hitting a weak grounder to shortstop. Bush picked up his sixth save while the Blue Jays dropped to 12-12 at home.

 

The Rangers returned home on Monday to open a series against Rays, with Martin Perez and Erasmo Ramirez facing off on the mound. Ranger’s third baseman Adrian Beltre is back in Texas after playing his third of three scheduled extended spring training games, and his rehab process. The Rangers will evaluate Beltre and determine whether he is ready to make his 2017 debut.

 

Adrian has been out since the start of the season as he recovers from the calf injury, and in his absence, the Rangers have gotten off to a 24-26 start. They've now lost five in a row after riding a 10-game win streak through the heart of May, so the timing of Beltre's potential return would be ideal. The Rangers will be off on this Thursday and face the Houston Astros for a weekend series.

The 2017 NBA Finals “The Rematch” Cavs vs. Warriors

 

Oakland CA: NBA got their wish, a rematch of the finals between the Warriors and Cavaliers.  Let’s call is act 3. The difference is the Warriors now have Kevin Durant on their roster and the Cavs have Deron Williams and Kyle Korver in their first ever NBA finals.  Let’s take a deeper dive into the series and some of the factors that may decide the rubber match between these two on basketball’s biggest stage.

The Warriors had the league’s best offense this season, averaging 113.2 points per 100 possessions. They’ve upped that to an incredible 115.8 in their 12 playoff games, all wins. No other playoff team has an offensive efficiency rating within five points. Except the Cavaliers. Theirs is nearly five points better.

Cleveland scored at a historic rate during their avalanche through the East: 120.7 points per 100 possessions, up from 110.9 in the regular season. They’ve had at least 106 points in all 13 playoff games, 115 or more eight times and popped an otherwise solid Celtics defense for 130 and 135 in two East Finals games. Their offense is steamrolling, which makes that side of the floor intriguing in these Finals because the Warriors’ defense, sturdy all season, has suffocated a trio of good offenses in the playoffs.

You figured some of that was due to natural midseason disinterest from the defending champs and once the playoff lights flicked on, they’d crank it up and perform. And that was more than enough for them to cruise through the East. But as they prepare to step in the ring with an offensive juggernaut, it’s a major concern. In LeBron James’ 12 postseasons, he’s never averaged more playoff points than he is during this run: 32.5 per game, including a second round series in which he became the first player ever to score 35 or more points in every game of a sweep.

He’s shooting 56.6 percent, a career playoff-best, and 42.1 percent from 3, also a career playoff-best. On this stage, he’s never been this efficient. And with the hub of their offense operating at a peak level, the rest of the Cavaliers have perfectly flanked themselves in the proper spots, bombed away from the outside with lethal accuracy and allowed Kyrie Irving to cook in the exact moments that it has made the most sense.

Kevin Love’s made 38 of his 80 playoff 3s. Kyle Korver’s made 22 of his 53. JR Smith’s made 22 of his 49. Channing Frye’s made 20 of his 38. Korver’s making low 40-percent, Smith’s in the mid 40s, Love’s in the high 40s and Frye’s above 50 percent. There has been no lineup or time or room for opponents to exhale. Everyone’s on at the right time for Cleveland.

 

The Warriors, you’d expect, will make things harder for those shooters. Not only will they tire them out on the other end — and likely force a few of them off the floor — but the Warriors prevent 3s better than any team in the league. Sixteen is the magic number for the Cavaliers. They’re 19-3 this season when they plant 16 or more 3s, but the Warriors only gave up more than 14 3s in a game once. If Cleveland can nail somewhere in the low to mid-teens, these games and this series should be interesting. But if they go something like 9-of-34 (their number in a mid-January loss in Oracle) on the regular, it’s tough to see them staying with the Warriors.

My prediction is Warriors in 6. The last two Finals have ended with road celebrations. I’ll guess this one will, too.

 

The Texas Rangers are the Hottest Team in the MLB

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Paul Sanoya

 

The Texas Rangers have turned things are in the month of May. It all started with a perfect nine game winning streak at home. With wins over the San Diego Padres, Oakland A’s and Philadelphia Phillies. Meanwhile over the weekend the Rangers were at Comerica Park in Detroit to face the Tigers.  The Rangers won Friday’s game and lost on Saturday, however they were on ESPN for Sunday night baseball.

Mike Napoli and Pete Kozma hit solo homers as part of a 12-hit Rangers barrage off Matthew Boyd, supporting Yu Darvish through five innings as Texas took a 5-2 win over the Tigers on Sunday in the rubber match of a three-game series at Comerica Park.

The Rangers (24-21) have won 11 of their last 12, and eight of their last nine in Detroit. The Tigers finished a 3-3 home stand against Baltimore and Texas, falling back to .500 at 21-21 before embarking on a three-city, 11-game road trip. Though eight of the Rangers' first 15 batters had base hits off Boyd (2-4), all but one of them were singles, allowing the young left-hander to limit the damage and hang with Darvish in a 2-2 game. Napoli's 10th homer of the season, a tape-measure shot in the fifth inning, put Texas up for good. Kozma's first home run since 2013 padded the lead, as did Jonathan Lucroy's RBI double in the ninth.

The Rangers on Tuesday opened up a three-game series with the Red Sox at 6:10 p.m. (CT) Tuesday at Fenway Park. Pitcher Andrew Cashner will make his first career start against the Red Sox. The Rangers are 39-23 against the Red Sox since the beginning of the 2009 season. Now let’s talk about the return of Adrian Beltre, the Rangers third baseman hit a significant milepost in his recovery from a strained right calf muscle.

Beltre started running the bases on Saturday. That is always a big step for a player coming back from a leg injury. If all goes well, Beltre will continue to do his running while the Rangers are in Boston next week, picking up the intensity as he progresses. At some point, Beltre will be sent to Surprise, Ariz., to get extra at-bats in an extended spring training game. The possibility Beltre could be back in the lineup by the beginning of June is increasing.

Texas will be in Toronto Canada for a weekend series vs. the Blue Jays and return to Arlington on Monday to play the Tampa Bay Rays.

 

“It’s Taco Time” with the Dallas Cowboys Draft Pick Taco Charlton

By Cedric Bailey

 

FRISCO, Texas -- Whenever Taco Charlton was asked about his name after he was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round, he had roughly the same answer. “It is thanks to my mother and grandmother,” Charlton said. “They gave me the name before I was born. It kind of stuck. I really didn’t have anything to do with it. Like I said, once your grandmother and your mom give you a name, there is no really running away from it.”

 

So how did he get the nickname? “Taco was a premature baby, so I was on bed rest the complete time,” his mother, Tamara, explained. “It was during the era when Taco Bell had the commercial 'Rushing for the Border.' My mom said, ‘He’s rushing for the border trying to get out.’ And she just started calling him ‘Taco,’ so on my card she would write, ‘Just hang in there. It’s for Taco.’ Before he was even out, his name was Taco, and it always stuck with him.”His given name is Vidaunte.

 

Meanwhile Charlton shared these words with the media. "This is just the beginning," Charlton said at the time while in Indianapolis. "I'm a guy who, I'm just touching the tip of the iceberg with how good of a player I'll be. And I'm only going to get better with the more football I play, so like I said, I love the recognition I'm getting [in mock drafts] but I'm not satisfied.

 

"I won't be satisfied until people start saying, 'He's one of the best guys out there.' So, I'll continue to work. Anybody who works with me will see how driven I am. So, it doesn't stop. So, the mock drafts may say something, but in my head I'm an undrafted free agent guy. So, I'm happy but nothing's promised. I'll continue to work hard."

 

Measuring in at 6-foot-6, 273 lb., Charlton landed First-Team All Big Ten honors in 2016 on his way to 10 sacks, and 40 tackles, with 13.5 tackles for a loss. The team's first-round pick will begin his Cowboys career at right defensive end. DeMarcus Lawrence and Benson Mayowa ended last season at that position. But the only reason Lawrence wound up on the right side is out of desperation. The Cowboys feel he's best suited for left defensive end. If Charlton shows he can start or be a part of the rotation on the right side, the club can move Lawrence back to left end. "We want to give him every chance to be a right end for us," Garrett said of Charlton. "We feel like he has the traits to do that.

 

"We believe strongly in competition. We have some guys on the roster right now who are going to fight for that spot."It can be argued that Chidobe Awuzie actually has the best chance of the two to walk in and start from Day One. Free agent Nolan Carroll should nail down one of the starting cornerback spots. That leaves Awuzie to compete with Orlando Scandrick and Anthony Brown for the other starting job.

Dallas Wings Draft 5 Players in the 2017 WNBA Draft

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Pearson Photography

 

Arlington: The Dallas Wings  held its second Draft watch party on last Thursday evening at College Park. Fans were allow to watch the action on the big screen plus purchase tickets for the upcoming season that will begin on May 20th.  The Wings selected forward Evelyn Akhator out of the University of Kentucky with the third pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft. Dallas then chose South Carolina teammates Allisha Gray (4th) and Kaela Davis (10th) from the University of South Carolina to round-out the team’s three top-10 picks. The Wings concluded their draft class by selecting Kansas State forward Breanna Lewis with the 23rd pick overall and University of Connecticut guard Saniya Chong with the 26th overall pick.

 

Let’s talk about Akhator who started in 66 games over two seasons with the Wildcats, earning All-SEC honors from conference’s coaches her junior and senior years. Overall for Kentucky, she averaged 13.7 points per game and 10.1 rebounds per game. As a senior, she had an All-America season for the Wildcats, earning Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention honors, pacing the SEC in rebounds per game, ranking 11th in Division I; and was 5th in field goal percentage. She was also tied for 10th in Division I play in double-doubles with 18.

 

Now Allisha Gray, is a  transfer by way of North Carolina, played a key role in helping the Gamecocks win a national title just two weeks ago in Dallas. On her run to the national title, she averaged 16.5 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game, and a 56.8 field goal percentage in the NCAA Tournament while being selected to the NCAA’s All-Final Four Team and All-Stockton Regional Team.  The Wings also selected at the guard position Kaela Davis, along with her teammate Gray, renounced her remaining season of eligibility to enter the draft. An NCAA Stockton Regional Most Outstanding Player en route to the Final Four, she averaged 15.8 points per game in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments.

 

Breanna Lewis, who played all 34 games in the 2016-17 season, was the fourth player in Kansas State history with 1,500+ career points and 800+ career rebounds. Overall, she averaged 12.1 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per contest, recording the most boards in her final season. Saniya Chong, who was named to the 2016-17 All-Conference Third Team, averaged 8.2 points per game and shot 47.0 percent from the field. She saw time in 33 games and earned three starting assignments last season. With the five picks selected in this year’s draft, this ranks as the third time in franchise history that the team has had five picks or more. The Wings will begin training camp on April 23, and will face San Antonio on April 29 and Indiana on May 6 in pre-season action before tipping off the 2017 regular season on May 14 in Phoenix against the Mercury.

Rangers are “Swept” by the Seattle Mariners and “Fall” to the Bottom of A.L.West

 

By Cedric Bailey, Photo courtesy of Dallas Morning News

 

Seattle: Texas Rangers Manager Jeff Banister had seen enough on this past Easter Sunday. A manager that gave pitcher Sam Dyson one more shot at closing a game in Seattle. He was almost certainly wrong to try, and the results illustrated as much. So do the changes made Monday. Matt Bush has been installed as the team's closer. Keone Kela, disciplined and sent to Triple-A and sending on the disabled list with a right-hand contusion, the product of one of many mistakes he made in the season's first two weeks.

Banister's best hope for smooth sailing was that Dyson's inning of work in a lost game Saturday signaled a turning point. Dyson registered a 1-2-3 shutdown inning, just like he did for Team USA throughout the World Baseball Classic. Perhaps the work Dyson had done with pitching coach Doug Brocail to reinvigorate his sinker had paid off. Matt Bush is in. Sam Dyson is out. Keone Kela is back. For the third time in three years, the Rangers quickly pulled the plug on a slumping closer. Dyson officially went to the 10-day DL with a right-hand contusion that probably serves as a screen to allow him to go the minor leagues for several outings and restart his season. Manager Jeff Banister said Bush would get the first chances to close out games; not surprising, given Bush's overwhelmingly dominant 11-pitch inning Sunday. Considering that he received a cortisone injection in his shoulder a week ago, he's not likely to get every chance, though.

Bush has just come off an injection and was down a few days. It's great to see him back out there. We need to win games, but it's April 17, but we will make decisions on the whole season. Three days in a row would be a challenge."The changes didn't stop at closer. The bullpen needs help. After blowing two save opportunities Sunday, the Rangers are tied with Seattle for the most blown saves in baseball at five. They lead the majors in relief losses (also five) and rank 26th in relief ERA (6.27).

The Rangers have been missing third baseman Adrian Beltre, whose nagging calf strain has him on the disabled list for what looks like a few more weeks at least, but they've been covered at the hot corner because of Joey Gallo. The Rangers will return back to Globe Life Park in Arlington for a four series against the Kansas City Royals.

UTA Women’s Softball Wins Series over South Alabama

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Alexis Austin of the Shorthorn

 

Arlington: The UTA Softball (22-20, 8-10) fell 5-0 in its series finale against the University of South Alabama on Saturday at Allan Saxe Field. The Mavericks struggled at the plate as junior pitcher Destin Vicknair dominated in the circle. Vicknair limited the Mavericks to one hit, while walking two and striking out one. South Alabama tallied on insurance runs after launching a three-run home run in the sixth, extending its lead to 5-0. The Jaguars eventually retired the Mavericks, taking the victory and avoiding the sweep.

 

Senior pitcher Destin Vicknair tossed a one-hit, shutout, complete game and junior shortstop Kristian Foster was 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of RBI as the University of South Alabama softball team picked up a 5-0 win over Texas-Arlington at Allan Saxe Field in Saturday's series finale. Kaleigh Todd, Amanda Minahan, Katelyn Gruich, Savanna Mayo and Dayla Gulledge also recorded a hit for the Jags with Gulledge driving in three on a sixth-inning pinch-hit home run.

 

The three-hit game marked the 12th multi-hit game of the season and 22nd of her career for Foster, while the two RBI performance was her 10th multi-RBI game of the spring and 20th as a Jaguar.  Foster now has 30 runs driven this season and over her last 13 games, the Pelham, Ala., native has recorded at least one RBI in 10 of those contest and 16 total. After South had allowed 12 runs on 19 hits in the first two games of the series, Destin Vicknair (11-9) was outstanding in the circle as she tossed the one-hitter and recorded her 13th complete game of the season.  Vicknair walked just two and struck out one.

 

Texas-Arlington dropped to 22-20 overall and 8-10 in Sun Belt play with the loss. Vicknair would retire the Mavs in order in the seventh to seal the win. The Mavericks continue their home stand with a three-game series against Coastal Carolina University starting with a doubleheader Saturday at Allan Saxe Field.  

The Season That Wasn't

By Taimon "the Fan" Turner

 

The Dallas Mavericks season is over, as the Mavericks did not qualify for the 2017 NBA Playoffs. The Mavericks finished the season below .500, but did finish the season on a high note with a win in their final game of the season, on the road against the "Playoff Bound", Memphis Grizzlies.

 

The Mavs had a mini roller coaster season with both lows and highs, finishing the season with a 33-49 record, and 11th in the Western Conference. Now they await to see where they will finish in the upcoming NBA Draft.
 
The Mavs started off the 2016 season 3-15 and were clogged up with injuries from the beginning. From Dirk Nowitzki, to Devon Harris, to Deron Williams, to J.J. Barea. It was a rough stretch for the Dallas Mavericks. On an early Saturday in December, Dirk Nowitzki called for a press conference following there game vs. the Chicago Bulls. Dirk Nowitzki, battling an achilles injury at the time, rang alarm bells across Dallas because many in the media and many fans began to speculate if Dirk Nowitzki was going to announce his retirement.
 
One can not blame Mavs fans and the media for feeling the way they felt considering Dirk was battling an achilles injury and the Mavs were off to an awful start. Dirk calmed nerves at American Airlines Center when his press conference consisted of an update on where Dirk was when it came to his rehab. A relief for every Mavs fan and media member.
 
The Mavs slow start dug them in a huge hole, but the Mavs got some well needed help in January when unknown point guard Yogi Ferrell was signed to a 10 day contract with the Mavs. With Deron Williams, J.J. Barea and Devon Harris all out, Yogi was forced into the starting role and boy did he succeed. Yogi succeeded so much that he earned himself a permanent starting role as well as a 2 year contract, as Ferrell averaged 17.8ppg, 5.8 assists per game in a 5 game stretch with the Mavs going 4-1 in that stretch.
 
In February, the Mavs made a number of big moves which began at the trade deadline when the Mavs traded young and popular wingman Justin Anderson and veteran Andrew Bogut to the Philadelphia 76ers for Center Nerlens Noel. Noel has been a nice building block for the Mavs as he averaged 8.5ppg and 5.8 rebounds since his arrival in Dallas. Deron Williams, the hometown man did not finish his stint with the Mavs and was waived by Dallas shortly after the trade deadline. He was eventually picked up by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
 
Perhaps the most memorable moment for the Mavs came on Tuesday, March 7th 2017, as Dirk Nowitzki scored his 30,000th career point coming at the expense of the defense of Larry Nance Jr of the Los Angeles Lakers. Dirk Nowitzki was shooting 8/10 prior to scoring his 30,000th point, and had the entire American Airlines Center with there cell phones out so they could take a snapshot or a record of history for there own personal joy. It was a night of history and another accomplishment for the Mavs Superstar, as Nowitzki became the 6th player in NBA history to ever score 30,000 points. He adds that to his very impressive resume that will soon land him in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
 
Now let's "Fast Forward" to last Tuesday, April 11th where the Dallas Mavericks decided to honor former Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo by making him a Maverick for a day. Romo got to suit up, practice, take interviews, and even get his name called by the P.A. announcer as a starter, however Romo wasn't able to play in the game due to NBA rules, but the Mavs felt it was a proper sendoff to a very popular athlete to the Dallas area fanbase. Both Dirk and Romo thanked the Dallas crowd prior to the start of the game.
 
The season is over and theOff Season has begun for the Mavs. They will move there focus to the NBA draft, the summer of free agency and as always, potential trades. The Mavs are in rebuild mode and have nice pieces such as Harrison Barnes, Nerlens Noel, and Seth Curry to work with.The Mavs are happy that the face of the Mavs will be coming back for a 20th season and some reports have speculated that Dirk has left the door open for even doing more than a 20th season.
Who knows what the future will bring, but the Mavs are optimistic.
 
 

Rangers Win their 1st series of the year with an 8 to 1 victory over the Oakland A’s

By Cedric Bailey

 

Arlington: The Texas Rangers picked up an 8-1 victory over the Oakland A’s. The Rangers extended the second inning with a bloop single, and Joey Gallo made Manaea pay for that with a three-run homer that essentially decided the game. The A’s would have chance after chance to get back in it against Texas lefty Martin Perez, but it never clicked. Manaea began the game well enough, and he recovered well enough after the Gallo homer he at one point struck out six batters in a row en route to a career-best 10 strikeouts.

 

“It was pretty rough homestand to get the year started off,” said Mike Napoli, who is hitting .091 with two RBIs and 11 strikeouts the first six games. “But it’s how baseball is. You want to minimize the tough times, but we know what we have to do. We’re a confident group. We’re confident in each other. Everyone has each other’s back in this clubhouse, so it’s nothing we’re worried about.”

 

Closer Sam Dyson, who struggled in his first two outings earlier in the week, pitched a scoreless ninth Sunday to close a better overall outing from the bullpen. The A’s scored their only run on a wild pitch by Matt Bush in the eighth, which pulled them within 6-1. Chirinos’ two-run homer in the bottom of the inning more than made up for it. Jose Leclerc replaced Perez with one out and runners on second and third after a single and a double in the sixth. The 23-year-old reliever remained composed and struck out Josh Phegley with three consecutive changeups down in the zone and forced pinch-hitter Matt Joyce to fly out to right.

 

It's only the first month of the season, but the Rangers open a significant road trip when they face the Angels on Tuesday in Anaheim.  Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels starts as they open a nine-game road trip against three American League West division rivals. Left-hander Tyler Skaggs starts for the Angels as they open their third straight series against an AL West opponent. The Rangers play three games against the Angels, followed by three in Seattle and three in Oakland to close out the trip. The Angels split four games with the A's to start the season, and then won their weekend series against the Mariners. Neither starter fared well in his first start. Skaggs allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings in a 5-1 loss to the A's on Thursday. He is 2-1 with a 5.49 ERA in four career starts against the Rangers. Hamels allowed four runs (three earned) in six innings against the Indians on Wednesday, not factoring in the decision in a 9-6 loss.

Mavericks Close out the regular season vs the Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets

By Cedric Bailey

 

Dallas : The Dallas Mavericks playoff run is over. This week the Mavs will face Denver on Tuesday and close out the regular season against Memphis. Meanwhile on this past Sunday afternoon in Arizona the Mavs played the Phoenix Suns who walked off the court at Talking Stick Resort Arena one last time as winners over the Mavs.

 

Behind a trio of 20-point scorers, the Suns beat the Dallas Mavericks 124-111 in front of another sold out crowd. Devin Booker and T.J. Warren each had 21, while Tyler Ulis chipped in 20 with 10 assists. Warren did not miss a shot, going 8-of-8 from the field. Three other players reached double-figures in scoring: Derrick Jones Jr. (career-high 15), Alex Len (14) and Alan Williams (13). Len added 10 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season.

 

A close game late in the first half, the Suns pulled away, using a 36-20 third quarter on their way to posting consecutive wins for the first time since winning three straight the first week of March and surpassing last season’s win total. Yogi Ferrell and Dwight Powell scored 21 points apiece to lead the Mavericks (32-48), who lost their fourth straight and for the eighth time in nine games overall.When both teams went with youngsters for the second half, the Phoenix Suns knew they had an advantage over the Dallas Mavericks. The Suns have been giving quality minutes to their rookies and younger players for months. It showed, as Phoenix turned a three-point halftime lead into a 124-111 victory Sunday night in its home finale.

 

The Mavericks rested starters Dirk Nowitzki, Nerlens Noel and Wesley Matthews in the second half. Yogi Ferrell and Dwight Powell led Dallas with 21 points each. Dallas has lost four straight. “These young guys are getting experience, they’re getting their brains beat in in the second halves but this is how you learn,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. The Suns moved to 24-57 and will finish with either the second- or third-worst record in the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers started Sunday 24-55.

The Mavericks at 32-48 are ninth-worst in the league with two games remaining, Tuesday at home against Denver and Wednesday at Memphis. New Orleans is 10th-worst at 33-47, and Minnesota, which was playing the Lakers on Sunday night, is eighth from the bottom at 31-48.

Dallas would select ninth in the NBA Draft if the current standings hold.

 

Rangers Lose Season Opener to the A.L Champions 8 to 5 at Globe Life Park

By Cedric Bailey

 

Arlington: Abraham Almonte started the season by driving in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning as the Indians rallied to beat Texas, 8-5, at Globe Life Park in the season opener for both teams. Almonte singled to center to score Tyler Naquin from second base with one out in the ninth to break a 5-5 tie. Carlos Santana followed with a double to the wall in right center score Almonte from first. Michael Brantley completed the rally with a single to right to score Santana.

Meanwhile Indians Pitcher Corey Kluber discovered Odor has just as much pop with his bat, as he homered in his first two at-bats of the season to give Texas a 5-1 lead after four innings. Odor gave Texas a 1-0 lead with a leadoff homer in the second. The Indians came back to tie the score, 1-1, on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Francisco Lindor in the third, but the score didn't stay tied long.

Kluber, who was having trouble keeping the ball down in the strike zone, started the third by allowing a long first-pitch homer to Carlos Gomez. Kluber retired Shin-Soo Choo, but Nomar Mazara singled and Mike Napoli walked to bring Odor to the plate. Odor, as Gomez did to start the inning, jumped on Kluber's first pitch, for a three-run homer to right center. Odor came into the game with just one hit in three at-bats against Kluber in his career.

Jose Ramirez's two-run homer in the fourth off Yu Darvish made it a 5-3 game as Kluber settled down. Rookie Yandy Diaz doubled in the seventh with one out for his first big-league hit. He took third on a wild pitch by Darvish and scored on Darvish's second wild pitch of the night to make it 5-4. Edwin Encarnacion, with one out in the eighth, pulled the Indians into a 5-5 tie with a homer to left. Encarnacion hit a hanging 1-2 pitch from Matt Bush for his first homer as an Indian.

Kluber threw 109 pitches, 67 (61 percent) for strikes. Darvish threw 98 pitches, 56 (57 percent) for strikes. Kluber, in his third straight opening day start, allowed five runs on six hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked two. Darvish allowed four runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked five and struck out four.

The Indians and Rangers drew a sellout crowd of 48,350 to Globe Life Park in Arlington on Monday night. The Rangers have a three games series vs the Indians on Tuesday and Wednesday. They are off on Thursday and will face the Oakland A’s for three game weekend series before traveling out west for a 10 game road trip vs the division.

North Carolina Tar Heels Wins its 6th NCAA Championship

 

By Cedric Bailey

 

Glendale AZ: The North Carolina Tar Heels found its way back the National Championship. Last year’s game slipped away to Villanova in Houston, Texas. However this year it was a trip the Final Four in the dessert of the state of Arizona. Nearly one-year anniversary, to the day, of North Carolina’s greatest heartbreak – one that united this team on a long-sought mission of redemption. For the past year, they’d often spoken of their hope of reaching this point, the final Monday night of the college basketball season. Roy Williams, the UNC coach, had often spoken with tears in his eyes about how last season ended.

Now there were tears of a different kind after UNC’s 71-65 victory against Gonzaga on Monday night in the NCAA tournament national championship game. The Tar Heels won their sixth NCAA tournament championship in school history. Williams his third, as a head coach.

Like so many times before during this long postseason run – like against Arkansas in the second round, and against Kentucky in the South Regional semifinal, and against Oregon here on Saturday night in a national semifinal – UNC survived. Imperiled late in all those victories, it survived. And did again here against Gonzaga, the upstart mid-major major that was attempting to break through with its first national championship. With a little less than two minutes remaining here, the Bulldogs led by two points after Nigel Williams-Goss’ jumper from near the top of the key. As it turned out, that was the final time the Bulldogs scored.

Then the Tar Heels, so calm in these situations throughout the tournament, were at their best. They closed the game on an 8-0 run, taking the lead for good on Justin Jackson’s three-point play with one minute, 40 seconds remaining, and then taking a 68-65 lead on Isaiah Hicks’ one-handed runner with 22 seconds left.

It was Hicks, the senior forward, who blamed himself after UNC’s 77-74 loss against Villanova in the national championship game a season ago. He was the closest player, after all, to Kris Jenkins, who made the winning 3-pointer as time expired, sending confetti raining down while UNC walked slowly off the court. This time it was the Tar Heels’ turn to savor the moment in the end. And this time Hicks, who finished with 13 points and nine rebounds while hampered by foul trouble, earned some measure of redemption.

All of his teammates did, too, as did Williams, even if he wasn’t necessarily seeking it. He said the defeat last season didn’t keep him up at night, that he didn’t dwell on it. But he allowed it to fuel him, as did his players. Williams said he wrote that up on a board inside the Tar Heels’ locker room – the necessity of toughness. No one personified that characteristic more than Joel Berry, the junior point guard who earned Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors.

 

Hobbled by two injured ankles throughout the NCAA tournament, Berry finished with 22 points. He made four 3-pointers. He had the assist, after Kennedy Meeks’ blocked shot, that led to Jackson’s dunk with 12 seconds remaining. But in the final minutes, it was pretty, indeed, for UNC. Jackson’s dunk in the final seconds gave UNC a 70-65 lead. The Tar Heels could feel it then, and moments later a Gonzaga turnover all but sealed it. Eight seconds later it was over. Berry and his teammates ran around the court, finding someone to hug. Their mission was complete. They’d achieved the redemption they’d long sought. Congrats to both teams for another exciting basketball season.

 

 

South Carolina Win’s the 2017 Women’s Basketball Championship

By Cedric Bailey

 

Dallas: The one goal has been accomplished. The one dream has come true. The Gamecocks are national champions. South Carolina topped Mississippi State, 67-55, on Sunday night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas for its first national title in program history. USC led 36-26 at the half and never trailed after the first quarter. The victory over the Bulldogs was the third of the year for South Carolina. The Gamecocks finish their magical season at 33-4.

South Carolina led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter and by eight entering the fourth but saw the margin shrink to four with 6:52 remaining. But as they did throughout the Final Four, A’ja Wilson and Allisha Gray came up big when USC needed it most. Wilson made a mid-range jumper and Gray followed with a layup to push Carolina’s lead back up to eight. The Bulldogs got no closer than six the rest of the way.

Wilson finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. Gray had 18 points and was named to the Final Four All-Tournament Team. Wilson and Gray combined to score 12 of South Carolina’s final 13 points with Wilson pouring in eight in the fourth quarter. Shortly after her final basket, Wilson and the rest of the starters were taken out of the game with the Gamecocks leading by 12 and only 46 seconds remaining.

The All-American walked off the floor with tears streaming down her face and sat on the bench and cried into a towel as the final seconds ticked off the clock. When the buzzer sounded and the confetti began to fall, Wilson sat crouched in front of the bench, overcome with emotion, before her teammates came to help her to her feet and celebrate with her. Wilson said she could not stop thinking about her late grandmother, Hattie Rakes, after she knew the Gamecocks had clinched the national title.

South Carolina’s game plan was to dominate the paint and the Gamecocks certainly did, outscoring Mississippi State 42-20 down low. In the first half, USC spread the Bulldogs out and took turns beating defenders off the dribble with Gray, Bianca Cuevas-Moore or Kaela Davis scoring in the paint or dumping it off to Wilson down low. Carolina fell behind by six early in the first quarter before taking a 10-point lead into halftime.

South Carolina held first-team All-SEC performer Victoria Vivians to 12 points on 4 of 16 shooting, while Morgan William, who hit the game-winner against UConn, finished with two field goals and eight points. William scored 41 against Baylor to reach the Final Four before hitting the game winner against the Huskies.

 

 

Dallas to host the Women’s National Championship March 31 and April 2, 2017

By Cedric Bailey

 

Dallas: The 2017 NCAA Women’s Final Four will be held at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. National semifinals will be held on Friday, March 31 at 6:30 p.m.  and 9 p.m, with the national championship game taking place Sunday, April 2 at 5 p.m.

 

The No. 1-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks cleared their last hurdle on their way to Dallas, beating No. 3 Florida State, 71-64, on Monday night in Stockton, Calif., during Elite Eight action. South Carolina built a 40-29 halftime lead and held on late in the second half. The Gamecocks clinched their second Final Four berth after appearing in the event for the first time in 2015.

 

Junior guard Kaela Davis led South Carolina with 23 points. Junior forward A’ja Wilson and freshman guard Tyasha Harris followed with 16 points apiece. The Gamecocks advance to play on Friday against No. 2 seed Stanford, which won the Lexington Region with a victory against Notre Dame on Sunday. The winner of that game will play the victor of the contest between No. 1 UConn and No. 2 Mississippi State in the national championship game on Sunday.

 

South Carolina’s women’s team joins the school’s men’s squad with a Final Four appearance. Coach Frank Martin’s team clinched the program’s first Final Four berth with a victory against Florida on Sunday.

Meanwhile the UConn Huskies are heading to its 10 consecutive Final Four, will continue its run at a fifth consecutive NCAA women's basketball national championship against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. They have stormed through four NCAA Tournament games, delivering Auriemma's 113th tournament victory Monday. The win moved Auriemma ahead of Tennessee legend Pat Summitt for most tournament victories.

 

It was his 991st overall wins, moving him into sole possession of third place on the all-time list. He'll be after 992 at 10 p.m. Friday against Mississippi State.

Dallas to host the Women’s National Championship March 31 and April 2, 2017

By Cedric Bailey

 

Dallas: The 2017 NCAA Women’s Final Four will be held at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. National semifinals will be held on Friday, March 31 at 6:30 p.m.  and 9 p.m, with the national championship game taking place Sunday, April 2 at 5 p.m.

 

The No. 1-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks cleared their last hurdle on their way to Dallas, beating No. 3 Florida State, 71-64, on Monday night in Stockton, Calif., during Elite Eight action. South Carolina built a 40-29 halftime lead and held on late in the second half. The Gamecocks clinched their second Final Four berth after appearing in the event for the first time in 2015.

 

Junior guard Kaela Davis led South Carolina with 23 points. Junior forward A’ja Wilson and freshman guard Tyasha Harris followed with 16 points apiece. The Gamecocks advance to play on Friday against No. 2 seed Stanford, which won the Lexington Region with a victory against Notre Dame on Sunday. The winner of that game will play the victor of the contest between No. 1 UConn and No. 2 Mississippi State in the national championship game on Sunday.

 

South Carolina’s women’s team joins the school’s men’s squad with a Final Four appearance. Coach Frank Martin’s team clinched the program’s first Final Four berth with a victory against Florida on Sunday.

 

Meanwhile the UConn Huskies are heading to its 10 consecutive Final Four, will continue its run at a fifth consecutive NCAA women's basketball national championship against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. They have stormed through four NCAA Tournament games, delivering Auriemma's 113th tournament victory Monday. The win moved Auriemma ahead of Tennessee legend Pat Summitt for most tournament victories.

 

It was his 991st overall wins, moving him into sole possession of third place on the all-time list. He'll be after 992 at 10 p.m. Friday against Mississippi State.

TCU Men’s Basketball advance to the NIT Final Four

By Cedric Bailey

 

New York City: In the World's Most Famous Arena, the TCU Horned Frogs (22-15) played the UCF Knights (24-11) at 8 PM CT on Tuesday in the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City. TCU coach Jamie Dixon knows that will be a very tough NIT game against UCF is not going to be easy. All he has to do is flash back 13 years to know that. Back in 2004, Dixon was the head coach at Big East powerhouse Pitt when the No. 3-seeded Panthers played No. 14 seed UCF in first round of the NCAA Tournament.

 

The Knights, under former coach Kirk Speraw, battled the bigger, more-talented Panthers for the entire game and actually had a three-point lead early in the second half before Pitt ended up winning 53-44 in an ugly, physical defensive slugfest.  Dixon left Pitt after last season to take a job at his alma mater TCU, which joined the Big 12 five years ago. He believes UCF has the same sort of potential.

 

UCF has won nine of its last 10 games and like TCU, has advanced to the semifinals of the NIT for the first time in school history. In front of their first-ever sellout crowd, the Knights advanced to New York with a 68-58 win over Illinois Wednesday. UCF is led in scoring by sophomore guard B.J. Taylor with 17.6 points per game. Senior Matt Williams, one of the top 3-point shooters in the country, is 38.8 percent from beyond-the-arc and averaging 15.1 points per game. At 7-foot-6 inches, sophomore Tacko Fall is one of the tallest humans on the planet. The American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year is averaging 11.0 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.

 

TCU is making its seventh appearance in the NIT and the first since 2005. In 2005, the Frogs advanced past the first two rounds before falling at Maryland in the quarterfinals. This is the first time TCU has advanced past the quarterfinal round. On March 15, TCU hosted its first NIT game since 1999 when it defeated Nebraska in the second round before falling to Oregon in Fort Worth in the quarterfinals. TCU is 12-6 all-time in the NIT. Overall, it's the 15th postseason appearance for the program and the first since the 2012 College Basketball Invitational.

 

The winner of the game will advance to the championship game and play the winner of Georgia Tech and CSU Bakersfield Thursday at 7 PM CT on ESPN.

Falcons COLLAPSE in Super Bowl LI to the Patriots 34-28

By Cedric Bailey

 

Houston: The Atlanta Falcons were in the driver’s seat for 3 quarters in Super Bowl LI vs the New England Patriots. However the Falcons blew a perfect opportunity to win the franchise’s first Super Bowl.

 

It was New England quarterback Tom Brady that led a furious rally from a 25-point deficit to pull out a 34-28 victory against the Falcons on Sunday in overtime before 70,807 fans at NRG Stadium. It was the biggest collapse in Super Bowl history. It was the Patriots’ fifth NFL championship, making Brady the winningest quarterback in Super Bowl history and he had the most passing yards ever in a Super Bowl with 466. Brady is now in company with Otto Graham who won seven pro football championships in the pre-Super Bowl era and Bart Starr has five NFL championships, including wins in the first two Super Bowls. Brady surpassed Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw, who won four Super Bowl era titles. Arne Herber won four pre-Super Bowl era titles with the Green Bay Packers in 1930, 1931, 1936 and 1939.

 

Under the guidance of Falcons Coach Dan Quinn in his second season as head coach, the Falcons fell apart after holding a 28-3 lead with 8:31 to play in the third quarter. Quinn was the defensive coordinator for Seattle Seahawks with Pete Carroll that lost the Super Bowl a couple years ago. Brady completed 43 of 62 passes and was named the game’s most valuable player. The Patriots’ rally was capped when running back James White slammed into the end zone on a 2-yard run in the first overtime game in Super Bowl history. “We never felt out of it,” Brady said. “It was a tough battle. They have a great team. I give them a lot of credit. We just made a few more plays than them.”

 

This was the fifth time the Falcons, the NFC South champs, blew a fourth-quarter lead and lost this season. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who had a key fumble on sack by Dont’a Hightower, completed 17 of 23 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns. The Falcons, on just the franchise’s second time in the league’s grandest game over their 51-year history, had a rash of miscues, penalties and bad coaching calls that led to their demise in the final 20 minutes. “No doubt that was a tough one for us. That’s a hard one in the locker room. No place to put that one mentally for us. But, I am proud of the fight that these guys have. The brotherhood that this group has built, it’s as strong as I’ve seen, and that part is real. That connection that these guys have, not only with themselves, but with our city, it’s so strong. I love them, they battled. Tonight we came up short.”

 

(On decision to throw on third and short) “Well, we thought we’d have a good look based on the personnel that was in the game for them. We trust our guys, so we thought that was the opportunity to let it rip. When it doesn’t go that way then it’s easy to question it. Same thing defensively too. We thought we’d have a chance to get a few off and we did, but ended up needing one or two in the second half and weren’t able to do that.”

 

Congrats the New England Patriots staff from Coach Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the entire organization on winning their 5th Super Bowl Championship.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL INSANITY

By “The Bishop of Sports” TD Brown

 

One of my favorite times of the year is upon us, that being National Signing Day. It is probably the most insane event that happens in NCAA football with seventeen and eighteen year olds making forty and fifty year old men shout with joy or wail in agony as a result of their decision to attend or not attend a certain university. I enjoy the spectacle as much as anyone , reveling in the emotional rollercoaster of the one we got and the one that got away from old State U or whatever your Alma Mater.

 

I respect the decision of any young man and his family on their college choice. It’s a decision that should be made with the athletes future in mind and the knowledge that his future may not be the “league” but a 9-5 somewhere down the line for which you want to be properly prepared for but I digress for we know that all twenty-five players (some will sign more) that are signed by the one hundred and twenty eight Division 1 schools are going to the NFL (sic).

 

But this isn’t the real insanity that is going on in college football. The craziest thing that I heard is that Michigan is going to Rome Italy to practice. This is Jim Harbaugh, the Michigan head coach, thumbing his nose at the NCAA for putting a stop to spring camps all over the nation as a way to circumvent recruiting rules in the offseason. Harbaugh has made it a point to hold camps in what are commonly fertile recruiting grounds in the southeastern part of the country, now he’s taking an entire football team of at least 85 players, coaches, staff and all of the other support crews out of the country and nobody has raised a question. What is this going to cost the state of Michigan, the university and ultimately the tax paying citizens? Who approved this and why? I’ll tell you why because they haven’t beaten Ohio State in a while and most of the alumni and even residents of Michigan don’t care what it costs as long as it gets their name out there in front of recruits so they can get better players and eventually beat their arch rival.

 

This madness is coming from a state that had a city, Flint, with a water crisis as if they were a Third World country and its major city of Detroit with a financial crisis so severe it filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. I know this is reliving the past but its close enough to bring to light what I think is an egregious use of public funds. The University is paying Harbaugh five million a year in addition to having three other assistants that make at least one million a year salaries. Jim Harbaugh is acting like a kid in a toy store and no one is telling him no.

 

This is just another example of the real insanity that has risen its head over the past ten years in college football, out of control spending and a win at any cost mentality.

 

Mavs Down the Cavs

by Taimon R. Turner

 

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-97 Monday night at American Airlines Center. The Mavs have now won 4 out of there last 5 games including back to back wins against the San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers. 

 

The Mavericks have been very impressed with newly signed point guard Yogi Ferrell. Ferrell shined Sunday night in San Antonio against the Spurs giving the Mavs 9 points and 7 assists. The rookie point guard took on a huge test Monday night going up against Kyrie Irving. Ferrell passed the test by giving the Mavs 19 points in 37 minutes. After the game Ferrell claimed, "I am living the dream right now." A pretty big dream for a guy who a week ago was playing in the NBA's D-league for the Long Island Nets. Or maybe he was playing somewhere else as Rick Carlisle claimed. "Was it Erie or Buffalo?"

 

Harrison Barnes led the Mavs in scoring with 24 points. Wesley Matthews added in 21 points. The Mavs will look for there 3rd win in a row and there 5th win in 6 games Wednesday night as they take on the Philadelphia 76ers at American Airlines Center.

 

Falcons close out the Georgia Dome with a trip to Super Bowl LI

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Curtis Compton

 

Atlanta: In their final game at the Georgia Dome, the Falcons beat the Packers 44-21 on Sunday. The Falcons advanced to play in the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 in Houston against the winner of the AFC Championship game later Sunday between the Patriots and Steelers. The Falcons will make their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, 18 years after their first. They were on the verge of making the 2013 Super Bowl when they led the 49ers 17-0 in the NFC title game at the Georgia Dome but faded to a 28-24 loss.

 

The Falcons were back in the playoffs for the first time since that game and again ran out to an early lead in the conference championship game. After the Falcons gained a 17-0 lead against the Packers, Fox television broadcast showed highlights of them blowing that same advantage against the 49ers. But the Falcons kept going. They led 24-0 at halftime, forced a Packers three-and-out on the first possession of the second half and then saw All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones score on a sensational 73-yard catch-and-run for a 31-0 lead.

 

The Falcons last went to the Super Bowl during the 1998 season and they lost to the Broncos 34-19 in Miami. The Falcons returned to the NFL’s championship game with a dominating defeat of the Packers. Jones has dealt with nagging left foot and toe injuries for more than a month but said he’d be ready to go for Sunday, noting that he’s learned to play through various injuries throughout his career. Jones did it again. He was in and out of the game and appeared to be favoring the foot but still had nine catches for 180 yards and two TDs, including the electrifying 73-yard score.

 

With their offense humming along, the Falcons only needed a few key plays from their defense. They got them against what was probably the NFL’s second-best offense over the final half of the season. The Falcons shut out the Packers in the first half by making key plays to extinguish two prime scoring chances.

 

After the Falcons took a 7-0 lead, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers quickly led them to within scoring range with completions of 27 and 15 yards to Jordy Nelson. But the Falcons forced a third down at their 23-yard line and linebacker Deion Jones came free on a blitz and hit Rodgers to force a throw away. Mason Crosby then missed a 41-yard field goal attempt to end the drive.

 

Rodgers rallied the Packers again after the Falcons went ahead 10-0. Consecutive passes of 17 and 22 yards to Randall Cobb and a third-down conversion to Jared Cook quickly got the Packers near the red zone again. Fullback Aaron Ripkowski dragged along several Falcons defenders but Jalen Collins stripped him of the ball and recovered the fumble in the end zone to extinguish another prime scoring chance for Green Bay.

 

Finally, in closing it was Two Falcons rookies, safety Keanu Neal and linebacker De’Vondre Campbell that shut down Cook didn’t play during Green Bay’s regular-season game against the Falcons because of an injury. He was riding high for the rematch after his toe-tapping catch near the sideline set up the game-winning field goal against the Cowboys last weekend. After Cook had six catches for 103 yards and a TD against the Cowboys, Neal and Campbell helped make sure he had little impact. Neal made a key play on Green Bay’s first drive when he broke up a pass in the end zone intended for Cook. The drive ended with Crosby’ s missed field goal. Cook caught a 1-yard TD pass with the game essentially decided in the fourth quarter.

Next week we will talk about the New England Patriots and their road to the Super Bowl.

Mavericks Rout the Lakers for a Historic Win

Dallas: With the Dallas Cowboys at home from the NFL playoffs, Dallas fans we able to catch the Los Angeles Laker in the city for some NBA action. The Maverick dominated the Lakers from the AAC. It was simply the biggest loss in franchise history for Los Angeles. After a competitive opening quarter, the Lakers floundered through the rest of the afternoon as Dallas bulldozed its way to a 122-73 victory.

 

“We didn’t show up to play, honestly, which is frustrating,” head coach Luke Walton said. “And honestly it’s embarrassing — for us as a team, for us as an organization, for our Lakers fans that are so good to us.” The Lakers (16-32) held brief leads in the first quarter and kept it close until their hosts completely took over. Dallas (15-29) scored 15 unanswered points from the end of the first through the beginning of the second period to seize a 38-22 lead. Los Angeles shot a frosty 4-of-17 from the field and was outscored by 27 in that frame. The Mavericks lapped the purple and gold for a 67-33 halftime lead.

 

After a closer third quarter, the Mavericks made the beat down historic with a 32-18 fourth quarter led by a dozen points from Justin Anderson, who led all players with a career-high 19 on the night. Dallas set a new season-high in points and led by as many as 53 to beat the Lakers for the 13th straight time. It was the polar opposite from the Lakers’ last game, when they defeated Indiana by 12 on Friday night.

 

Lou Williams (15 points) and Jordan Clarkson (10) led the team in scoring despite shooting a combined 9-of-24 from the field, while L.A. hit just 38.4 percent as a whole, including 3-of-21 on 3-pointers. With D’Angelo Russell (mild MCL sprain, right knee; right calf strain) out for one-to-two weeks, rookie wing Brandon Ingram started at point guard.

 

Despite Ingram having previous success at that position, there wasn’t much to be found against the Mavs, as Los Angeles finished with only 11 assists to Dallas’ 27. On the other side, Dallas’ leading scorer, Harrison Barnes, was held to single digits for the first time this season, tallying only six points on 3-of-12 shooting. But everyone else poured it on, as seven Mavericks scored in double figures. The Mavs shot 49.4 percent from the field, 17-of-39 on 3-pointers and 19-of-19 on free throws. Deron Williams directed the offense with 13 points and eight assists, while also passing Kevin Johnson for the 20th-most assists in NBA history with 6,715.

 

Dallas — which is last in the NBA in rebounding — also owned the boards, holding a 49-32 advantage in that department. The Mavericks will now conclude their three-game home stand Wednesday at American Airlines Center, hosting the New York Knicks. New York leads the season series 1-0 after a 93-77 home win on Nov. 14. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m.

Cowboys Super Bowl Dream Slips Away to the Green Packers

By Cedric Bailey

Arlington: The Green Bay Packers came to the metroplex with a game plan for the Dallas Cowboys.  The Cowboys opened the game with a field goal and led 3-0 in the first quarter. How ever it was the high powered offensive led by Aaron Rodgers that had the Cowboys Secondary confused. Let’s just say that it was Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey’s 52-yard field goal sailed through the uprights, Mason Crosby glanced up at the scoreboard at AT&T Stadium to survey the situation.

 

Thirty-five seconds. Two timeouts. Aaron Rodgers. The Packers’ veteran kicker, having already made a 56-yard field goal a few moments earlier, knew those three factors likely would put the playoff fate of his team on his right foot. That’s exactly how Sunday’s NFC Divisional playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys would be decided.

 

After Rodgers connected with tight end Jared Cook on a 36-yard pass along the sideline, the Packers summoned Crosby to make the most important kick of their season with 3 seconds remaining. Crosby made the first attempt from 51 yards, but he had to kick for a second time after Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett used his final timeout moments before the field goal. The second try provided the same result as Crosby drilled the longest game-winning field goal in playoff history through the uprights to seal the 34-31 win and send the Packers to next week’s NFC Championship Game against the Atlanta Falcons.

 

In a game full of momentum swings, the Packers had the ball last after both teams traded late fourth-quarter field goals in a span of 58 seconds. Crosby drilled one from 56, and then the Cowboys’ Dan Bailey answered from 52 with 35 seconds left. That turned out to be just enough time for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers to put Crosby in position for the win. Green Bay picked up 17 yards on a screen pass to running back Ty Montgomery but then lost 10 yards on a sack.

Facing third-and-20 from his own 36, Rodgers rolled left and fired to tight end Jared Cook, who made a spectacular tip-toe catch while falling out of bounds for a 36-yard gain. The clock read just 3 seconds. Rodgers was keeping an eye on both Randall Cobb and Cook moving across the field from the back side, and he felt comfortable with left guard Lane Taylor blocking right in front of him, giving him room to set his feet and fire.

 

“It worked out the way we were hoping it would protection-wise,” said Rodgers, who finished 28-of-43 for 356 yards with two TDs, one interception and a 96.7 passer rating. “He made a great catch. Rodgers was positively hot in the first half, leading the offense to three straight touchdowns for a 21-3 lead despite the absence of leading receiver Jordy Nelson. The first momentum swing back went to the Cowboys, behind their rookie duo of quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, pulling within 21-13 at halftime. The Packers responded with a 75-yard scoring drive to open the second half, as Cook finished it on a short TD grab. Cook was Green Bay’s leading receiver, with six catches for 104 yards and the one score. Cobb added seven catches for 62 yards, Davante Adams added five for 76, and Montgomery had 81 yards from scrimmage (47 rushing, 34 receiving) plus two rushing TDs.

 

Green Bay took that 28-13 lead into the fourth quarter as both teams traded interceptions in the third. Micah Hyde stepped in front of a wide-receiver screen to pick off Prescott in the red zone before Rodgers threw his first interception in 318 pass attempts on the ensuing drive. Adams had a step on his man down the right sideline on third down, but Rodgers’ throw was just a tad too far inside. Cowboys safety Jeff Heath made a diving interception, Rodgers’ first miscue through the air since the fourth quarter in Tennessee two months ago.

From there, the Cowboys erased the 15-point deficit in the final period. Green Bay’s defense had been without veteran safety Morgan Burnett (quad injury) since the first quarter, forcing two rookies in safety Kentrell Brice and cornerback Josh Hawkins to play extensively. Dallas eventually tied the game on Dez Bryant’s second TD catch of the game and a two-point conversion on a QB draw by Prescott with 4:08 left. Bryant had nine catches for 132 yards and the two scores, while Prescott (24-of-38, 302 yards, three TDs, one INT, 103.2 rating) and Elliott (22 carries, 125 yards) more than did their part.

Redemption for the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Championship from Tampa

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Chuck Flores

 

Tampa: The Clemson Tigers waited exactly one year to return to the National Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Clemson avenged last season's loss to 'Bama with an all-time classic finish, a 35-31 come-from-behind win over the Crimson Tide at Raymond James Stadium.

 

The Tigers (14-1) ended a 26-game win streak for the Tide (14-1). Coach Dabo Swinney kept Nick Saban from winning a sixth national title (and fifth in eight seasons), and securing the first 15-0 season in modern Division I-A history. It happened because Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson proved once and for all that he belongs among the greatest players the ACC has ever seen. The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist started it an unlikely way, with his Tigers trailing 17-7 in the third quarter.

 

His surprise punt pinned 'Bama inside the 5. The ensuing three-and-out gave Clemson the ball at the 'Bama 42 and jumpstarted the most significant turnaround in program history. Watson hit Tampa Bay Tech product Deon Cain for 14 yards. Three plays later, he found receiver Hunter Renfrow in the seam and watched Renfrow cut back and dart 24 yards for a touchdown. That cut the deficit to 17-14.

After Howard — the hero of last year's game — had a deja-vu 68-yard touchdown catch and run, Watson had another answer. He hit Cain twice more and East Lake High product Artavis Scott once, eventually setting up a 4-yard fade to superstar receiver Mike Williams. Clemson trailed by three, again, with 14 minutes left, with symmetrical revenge from last season's finish at Arizona's University of Phoenix Stadium. A year ago, the Tigers led 24-21 in the fourth quarter but couldn't recover after 'Bama executed a surprise onside kick in a 40-point fourth quarter flurry. The Tide came away with a 45-40 win and its fourth national title in seven seasons.

 

This time it was 'Bama that led 24-21, and it was Watson who showed why he belongs among the best players in Clemson, and ACC history. First he beat the Tide with his arm. He was 3-for-3 for 52 yards, including a 26-yarder to soaring receiver Mike Williams. Watson finished with 420 passing yards and a title-game record 36 completions. Then he beat the Tide with his legs. He broke off a 15-yard rush and dove to the 1, setting up Wayne Gallman's go-ahead touchdown rush.

However, there was more, as Bama responded first with a fourth-down conversion, then with a double pass from ArDarius Stewart to Howard. That led to a 30-yard touchdown dance by true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts.

 

Clemson, somehow, was not done, in a series that will go down as one of the greatest in college football history. The Tigers drove 68 yards in nine plays, with Watson hitting Renfrow for his third passing touchdown of the night (and fourth overall) with one second left. It was Renfrow's second score of the night, after his 24-yarder in the third quarter. Clemson also got more revenge from last year with its final play. Saban deserved his accolades for his gutsy call last year, to call a surprise onside kick with 10 minutes left. Swinney was even gutsier this time — he called one on the final kickoff. His Tigers recovered to seal the victory, a first national title since 1981 and jumpstart a celebration for an orange-heavy crowd waiting 35 years for a sequel of its own. The last time that Clemson won the Championship was in the Orange Bowl in 1982 over the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

 

By the way if you were wondering who Terry Don Phillips is. Well Terry Don Phillips was Clemson’s athletic director from 2002-2012, and he is the man responsible for making Swinney Clemson’s head coach. Phillips fired Tommy Bowden during the 2008 season and named Swinney the interim head coach despite Swinney not even having coordinator experience. When Swinney went 4-3 the rest of the way, Phillips was convinced he should retain the man as head coach.

Phillips saw something special in Swinney, and his faith in the young coach paid off. Swinney has made Clemson one of the premier programs in college football and delivered them a national championship

Cowboys Finish the Season as the Best in the NFC Conference

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Yong Kim

 

Arlington: The main goal was achieved – nobody was injured. The only real excitement for Cowboys fans in this one may have been whether or not Tony Romo would play in the game. He did, making his first appearance of the regular season. Dak Prescott started the game, of course, and guided Dallas on its first two series, the second of which ended with a 49-yard field goal by Dan Bailey that tied the game at the time, 3-3. The rookie quarterback’s day was done after that, Prescott having completed 4-of-8 passes for 37 yards with another run for 9 more. On came Romo and while his afternoon wasn’t much longer, the veteran was nothing short of brilliant. His lone series saw him complete 3-of-4 passes for 29 yards as he marched the Cowboys 81 yards to paydirt in six plays.

 

And if this year is indeed Romo’s last with the Cowboys, as some have speculated, he certainly ended his tenure in perfect fashion. His final throw was a pass to Terrance Williams in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown. The final score was obviously secondary. As expected, the 27-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles had the feel of a preseason game. With the Dallas Cowboys having already locked up the division crown as well as home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs, they used the opportunity to rest many of their players. Even in defeat Sunday, the Cowboys made history.

Despite losing their regular-season finale to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cowboys produced their best-ever one-season turnaround: a 4-12 record in 2015 to a franchise-record tying 13-3 in 2016. The Cowboys returned home Sunday night with some time off. They own home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs and a first-round bye. They’ll play the lowest remaining NFC wild-card team (No. 4 Green Bay Packers, No. 5 New York Giants or No. 6 Detroit Lions) at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 15. Garrett’s message to the team was simple: the only thing that matters is what we do now.

 

“This is a time to get our eyes forward and get back to work,” he said. “We will clean up this game quickly and get our eyes forward as a team. We will practice at the end of the week with our team and we will get locked in on that.” Tight end Jason Witten has been in this spot once in 14 NFL seasons. In 2007 the Cowboys had the top seed and lost to the Giants in the divisional round. He and the organization had been back to the playoffs only twice since, both times as wild cards (2009, 2014).

 

“It’s hard to get the bye and have the opportunity to get healthy and evaluate ourselves and watch tape. You’ve got to go all in,” Witten said. “You’ve got to make sacrifices and commitments over these next few weeks, not just another week. Everything tightens up, and this is win or go home, and I think our team has a clear understanding of that.” An extra week off should improve their chances of getting back to full strength by Jan. 15. The team mindset, though, is more hard work.

Tech Bulldogs Win the Armed Forces Bowl by Last Second FG 48 to 45

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Pearson

 

Fort Worth: What seemed like hundreds of hands all held up three fingers while sitting on the soiled turf of Amon G. Carter Stadium. Somewhere in the middle, Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz raised his own three fingers. Why three? It signified a three-peat. Tech had just won its third consecutive bowl game, a first in school history, and it happened in dramatic fashion at the Armed Forces Bowl.

 

Tech pieced together a late drive to set up Jonathan Barnes' 32-yard field goal as time expired, and Louisiana Tech out-slugged No. 25 Navy to pull out a 48-45 victory on Friday in Fort Worth, Texas. It was Tech's first win over a ranked team since 2005.

 

"As soon as Logan (McPherson) put the ball down, I felt like the kick was money. I started bawling like a baby," Tech quarterback Ryan Higgins said. "Each person I hugged after that it was just getting worse and worse. I couldn't be happier to send my class and this team out on a higher note. “Those who liked offense were in for a treat Friday. The nation's No. 3-ranked passing offense threw the ball around the yard. The nation's No. 4-ranked rushing offense ran up and down the field. The passing game won in the end.

Higgins, Trent Taylor and Carlos Henderson teamed up to carry yet another impressive offensive output to help Tech secure its third consecutive nine-win season. Higgins threw for 409 yards and accounted for five total touchdowns, Taylor set an Armed Forces Bowl record with 233 yards and two scores, surpassing the previous mark of 153 set by Rice's Jordan Taylor in 2012 and Henderson tallied 10 catches for 129 yards and two scores. Tech piled up 497 yards of total offense. Navy had 459 yards. It was the highest-scoring Armed Forces Bowl in history.

 

A 55-point first half turned quiet with seven points in the third quarter only to witness 31 points in the fourth quarter, including three scores in the final 4 minutes of the game. Henderson caught a touchdown pass to put Tech up 45-38 with 4 minutes to play. Navy answered with a 30-yard run to tie the game. Tech's offense was up for the challenge, marching 70 yards in 3 minutes and 40 seconds to win the game. Taylor, who earned MVP honors, secured a 23-yard catch to put the Bulldogs in field goal range.

After the game-winning kick, players took turns hoisting the trophy. Tech previously won bowl games in 2014 (Heart of Dallas) and 2015 (New Orleans Bowl).

 

Cowboys Overcome the Buccaneers to Win!

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Todd Pennington

 

Arlington: For the 5th week in a row the Dallas Cowboys have shown the nation why they are called America’s team. On this past Sunday night on NBC it was the Dallas Cowboys vs. the Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now for the Boys a victory keeps the team two games ahead of the New Giants. One of the reasons is because of the play of David Irving was very intimidating during the Cowboys 26-20 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers than he was immediately afterwards. Following the game, the guy couldn’t stop smiling, and it’s hard to blame him.

 

NBC’s Sunday Night Football telecast awarded Irving with the honorary game ball for dominating the second half and being a constant terror for Jameis Winston. “It’s an honor,” Irving said, moments after a brief congratulatory phone call from his high school coach. “I never thought I’d even be in the NFL.” Irving knows how to make a big difference in a little time. He recorded two sacks and a deflected pass. He had close to 10 hurries and five hits on Winston on pass attempts. That was all in the second half.

 

This was the second time this season that Irving stepped up out of nowhere to dominate a game. Irving earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week after the Cowboys Week 6 victory over the Green Bay Packers when he sacked Aaron Rogers and forced three fumbles. Consistency has managed to elude Irving this season, but momentum and confidence are scary things to add to a 6’7, 230-pound defensive linemen. It was like Irving understood his potential in real time, and in a moment like that fatigue is something a player can just play through.

 

The Cowboys needed an extra boost in a game that could have gone either way. On Sunday night, Irving was the difference maker. “It starts with the guys up front,” Jason Garrett said in his postgame press conference. “David Irving really looked like he showed up in the game.”

 

Sunday night’s game could make Irving a steadier fixture in the defensive rotation. He doesn’t plan on waiting another seven weeks for his next big game. “We’re out here to work, and I’m not perfect. Our standard is set so much higher that I’ll never be satisfied.”

 

Up next for the Cowboys, another Primetime Monday Night Football appearance, with the Detroit Lions coming to town. Both teams will make the playoffs starting in January 2017.

Grambling Tigers Win the HBCU College Football Championship

Story By Cedric Bailey

 

Atlanta GA: The Grambling State Tigers won the Air Force Reserves Celebration Bowl when it blocked an extra-point kick set back 15 yards by an excessive celebration with just over two minutes left, holding off North Carolina Central 10-9 Saturday. It was Joseph McWilliams surged in and swatted Brandon McLaren's 35-yard try with 2:14 remaining to preserve the Tigers' edge.

 

Down 10-3, North Carolina Central had a chance to pull even after Quentin Atkinson shook loose and caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from scrambling Malcolm Bell. But Atkinson took off his helmet while reveling with the crowd, drawing a personal foul penalty. Martez Carter's 32-yard touchdown run to open the second half gave Grambling State (11-1) its first lead. The Tigers earned the bowl bid by winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship to complete a dramatic resurgence by the program.

 

The Eagles (9-3) won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference under third-year coach Jerry Mack. Trailing 3-0 at halftime, Grambling State opened the third quarter with a run-first plan. Following five power runs by 240-pound running back Jestin Kelly, the 175-pound Carter looked extra-quick on his sharp cuts through the line on his touchdown run for a 7-3 lead. The Tigers threw only one play-action pass for a short gain on the touchdown drive. Grambling State's defense later set up more points. Arkez Cooper sacked Bell, forcing a fumble recovered by Malcolm Williams at the Eagles 25. The turnover set up a 26-yard field goal by Jonathan Wallace.

 

The Tigers will return a good talent base, including former Dallas Skyline’s Devante Kincade at quarterback, as they try to defend their SWAC championship. They'll need to replace six starters on offense and 10 overall. Key losses from the defense include noseguard Blain Winston and leading tacklers Guy Stallworth and Cooper.

Make Texas Great Again!

By The “Bishop of Sports” T.D. Brown

 

Well, that could have been the mantra of the University of Texas Longhorn football fans and alumni and was probably said in closed quarters, as they pursued Tom Herman from the University of Houston football program. The Charlie Strong “Era or Experiment” has finally come to an inglorious end and not soon enough for many on the Forty Acres and in boardrooms where alumni reign in Texas. They could no longer stomach the inconsistency and unconscionable losses that had become routine under the Strong regime the past few years. The rebuilding process has started, sputtered along the way and looked as if it was running along fine all in the span of a season but ended up broken down on the side of the road.

Questions that couldn’t be answered continued to arise from execution and consistency, inept play calling, dropped balls and terribly timed penalties on the offensive side of ball after the great saga of hiring a new coordinator who was supposed to be a savior. The defense fell to a level of comical ineptness at times with continued blown coverage in the passing game and missed tackles that had you questioning toughness and desire at various times during the season, all traits that Coach Strong could never stand for .

 

The defense did make some improvements after Coach Strong took over the coordinators duties but the season was already in jeopardy as was Strong’s tenuous relationship with the Longhorn faithful. Never the first choice anyway and a very chilly reception in the beginning had Charlie set up as the eight ball heading for the wrong pocket and just like that game over .No doubt the talent has been upgraded, but the brain trust could never get going, the coaching staff just never rounded into form .

 

The lack of apparent support for Coach Strong from some powerful alumni and fans played a big part in his failure to lure or attract top candidates once he realized his first choices were not the answer. In the end all that matters in the world of big time college football is wins and losses and Texas had too many over the last few years. Yes there are some underlying issues at UT that inhibited the progress of Coach Strong but just as many wanted him to succeed and would have swallowed their disdain if he would have just won the games UT should win. The UT football program should be a top five program every year simply based on the quality and quantity of exceptional high school players in the state. The dynamic has changed a little due to migration from areas of the country into Texas.  Nowadays every prep player around the state haven’t grown up dreaming of playing at Texas or A&M but still it’s Texas and they should have the pick of the litter.

 

The UT faithful are hanging their hats and spurs on the hope that Tom Herman is the guy to bring that pride and dominance back to DKR Memorial Stadium on Saturdays. We say in Texas there are two season’s football season and spring football season and I know the orange bloods, can’t wait to see their new shiny toy run out there in the upcoming spring. 

The Dallas Cowboys Sweep the Redskins and Maintain 1st Place in the NFC East

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Ashley Landis

 

Arlington: The Dallas Cowboys are the hottest team in the NFL to start to the season. But they just haven’t let off the gas, winning a franchise-record, 10 straight games to gain a two-game lead on all NFC opponents in the playoff picture.

Even though the calendar hasn’t yet turned to December, the Cowboys are already getting close to clinching a playoff spot if they can land a victory this week in Minnesota, coupled with some other specific occurrences needed from other games.

The rookie duo of Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott are taking the league by storm. Zeke continues to lead the NFL in rushing at 1,199 yards – 156 yards ahead of No. 2 ranked DeMarco Murray. Elliott, who has already shattered Tony Dorsett’s single-season franchise-record of 1,007 yards, is on pace to rush for 1,744 yards, which would be the third-most by any player in Cowboys history. Eric Dickerson has the NFL rookie record after posting 1,808 yards in 1983.

Prescott seems to break his own rookie records each week, but he’s currently ranking at the top of the NFL leaders in passing. His 108.6 quarterback rating sits behind only Tom Brady, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees.

One of Prescott’s top targets lately has been Dez Bryant, who had just 16 catches in his first five games of the season with two touchdowns. In the last three, Bryant has 18 catches and three scores.

Defensively, the Cowboys have allowed some yards in the secondary in the last three games, getting torched by both Pittsburgh and Washington. The injuries to Barry Church and Morris Claiborne, coupled with Orlando Scandrick’s nagging hamstring issues, have hurt the Cowboys in defensing the pass. But Church is expected to get back this week, which is good timing considering J.J. Wilcox probably won’t play with a deep thigh bruise.

This, of course, will be the Cowboys’ first-trip to the Vikings’ new U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened this year. Overall, Dallas hasn’t won a regular-season game in Minnesota since the 1995 season, when they needed overtime to beat the Vikings 23-17 in the Metrodome. Game time will be at 7:25 cst on the NFL Network and KXAS Channel 5.

Texas Tech Close out the Regular Season with a Big Win over the Baylor Bears

By Cedric Bailey

 

ARLINGTON — The Texas Tech Red Raiders weren’t going to a bowl game, no matter what happened against Baylor. Texas Tech made some noise of its own Friday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. After giving up an early touchdown, Texas Tech fired on all cylinders destroying Baylor 54-35

Texas Tech (5-7, 3-6 Big 12) was Friday — even the defense came up big on several occasions, including freshman Jordan Brooks forcing Terence Williams to fumble at a 1-yard line. Jah’Shawn Johnson scooped it up and ended the Baylor drive and any hope of a comeback. Johnson also forced a fumble and intercepted Baylor quarterback Zach Smith on a third and 17 late in the fourth quarter and deep in Baylor territory. In the first half alone, Baylor (6-5, 3-5) was stopped on fourth downs twice, missed a field goal and fumbled twice. The first of which by running back Blake Lynch set up a Dylan Cantrell one play later.

Cantrell’s 40-yard touchdown catch put Tech up 13-7 — Keke Coutee tied the game with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes with 4:38 remaining in the first quarter — and the Red Raiders took off from there. Da’Leon Ward capped off a 59-yard drive with a 5-yard run and Quan Shorts scored his first career touchdown, hauling in an 81-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes as Tech extended its lead to 27-7. And after the second fourth-down stop, Coutee put the game out of reach, catching a line drive throw at the 45, spinning free of a tackle and sprinting for the 80-yard touchdown,

The big plays didn’t stop there, despite dropping Baylor dropping eight into coverage, Jonathan Giles found a hole in it and scored on a 62-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes. Baylor coach Jim Grobe said. “They have a really special quarterback. And, you know, we got in a foot race two or three times and lost that. (Mahomes) put the ball right where it should have been and a couple of we missed tackles and gave up big plays.”

Coutee was his main target. The sophomore receiver caught eight passes for 221 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Cantrell caught nine passes for 111 yards and two scores. And while, the defense did give up yards to the Bears, including surrendering 100-yard efforts to running back Terence Williams and receivers Ishmael Zamora and KD Cannon — Texas Tech’s offense was simply unstoppable. The Red Raiders racked up 666 total yards in the win and Clayton Hatfield came up with two crucial field goals (27, 31) in the second half to keep putting them on the scoreboard.

“We had a great game plan and the defense got some stops early,” Mahomes said. “They gave us the ball and we kind of executed and had some big plays. Receivers made some things happen and when the whole line is blocking like that and the receivers are making plays like that it is hard for us to be stopped.” In closing the Baylor Bears have one more game left vs the Kansas State Wildcats. The is a possibility that the Bears could be invited to the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth in December.

Dallas Cowboys Beat the Baltimore Ravens 27 to 17 and Sweep the AFC North Division

 

By Cedric Bailey

 

Dallas Cowboys starter Dak Prescott, has another great game and threw three touchdown passes, two to Dez Bryant, in the first game with Tony Romo as his backup, and the Dallas Cowboys set a franchise season record with their ninth consecutive win, beating the Baltimore Ravens, 27-17, on Sunday in Arlington Texas.

The Cowboys punted on their first four possessions — a first this season — against the NFL's No. 1 defense. They marched 92 and 88 yards on their first two drives of the second half to break a 10-10 tie. Both drives ended with TD passes to Bryant, who had six catches for 80 yards.  Prescott completed 27 of 36 passes for 301 yards; it came a week after his first 300-yard game. He was 14-for-15 passing in the second half after the sluggish start for the Dallas offense.

The Ravens (5-5), who lost to Dallas for the first time in five games in franchise history, controlled the tempo most of the first half. Baltimore stayed close on Joe Flacco's five-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter to Steve Smith, who became the 14th player with 1,000 career catches. But Dallas' third possession of the second half took more than six minutes before Dan Bailey's 21-yard field goal for a 10-point lead with 1:50 remaining.

Prescott has not only led the Cowboys to the best record in the NFL, but they also now have the longest single-season winning streak in franchise history of nine games, breaking a tie they had with the 1977 team that opened the season 8-0. Prescott improved to 9-1, the best record to start a career by a Cowboys rookie quarterback, and joined Johnny Lujack (1948 Chicago Bears) as the second rookie to start a career and win nine of his first 10 starts.

After punting the first four times they had the ball, the Cowboys scored on the final five possessions, led by Prescott who completed 24 of 27 passes on the those final five drives, including 14 of 15 in the second half when he hit his final 11 passes to end the game. In closing, Baltimore Ravens defense that ranked No. 1 overall and held NFL-leading rusher Ezekiel Elliott in check for much of the day was even more eye-opening.

This wasn’t a case of the running game making things easier for Prescott. This was the fourth-round pick leading the Cowboys to victory in sizzling fashion.Elliott had 25 carries for 97 yards after having just 26 yards on six carries in the first half. He now has 1,102 yards for the season, surpassing Tony Dorsett’s rookie rushing record of 1,006. Elliott was big in the second half as the Cowboys, who totaled more than 400 yards of offense for a team record eighth straight game, wore down the Ravens’ defense with physical play up front.

Dallas will now prepare for the Washington Redskins on this Thanksgiving Day, Game time will be at Thursday, November 24, 3:30 PM on FOX at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

 

 

Dunbar Wildcats Advance to the 2nd Round of the Class 5A Playoffs

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Pearson

 

Fort Worth: Fort Worth Dunbar Coach Todd Lawson won his first high school playoff game on this past Friday night.  This year’s opponent was the O. D. Wyatt Chaparrals led by Coach Zachary Criss. Both teams are loaded with talent and know one another very well. This watch a matchup that two FWISD team met in the first round of the playoffs. The last time that two schools from Fort Worth played one another was in 1975.

The games highlights were provided by Wildcats QB Nakia Cox and Dunbar’s defense turned in a performance people will be talking about for a while.

The quarterback ran for 228 yards and three touchdowns on runs of 79, 23 and 67 yards, while the defense lead  Dunbar to a 25-19 victory over Wyatt a Class 5A Division II bi-district game at Clark Stadium. The Wildcats held the Chaparrals to 189 yards and collected four turnovers in advancing to the second round next week. Dunbar (5-6) will meet Saginaw Boswell in the area round at Saginaw Chisholm Trail Stadium at 7pm. The game marks a rematch from Week 2 of the season. The Pioneers got the best of the Wildcats in that game, winning 39-7. However it was Sophomore QB Leon’te Cooper at the starter.

While Wyatt (5-6) punted on its first drive, Cox got going on Dunbar’s. The senior, showing no ill effects from his injury, bolting 79 yards on the second play to put the Wildcats up early. Up 12-7, Cox ran 23 yards on third down late in the first half to give Dunbar a 19-7 cushion.

Dunbar, with Cox in the secondary, stymied Wyatt’s offense. The Chaparrals had 46 yards on the game’s opening drive, but only 41 the rest of the half. Dunbar finished with 318 total yards. Bryan Wilson and Cooper each had interceptions for the Wildcats.

“They played well, some minor mistakes in the passing game that we need to fix this week,” Dunbar coach Todd Lawson said. “I know they can do it because they’ve showed it. We’re going to have to be better against Boswell.”  The victory was Fort Worth’s first in the playoffs since Arlington Heights in 2014.

Dunbar next tries to match Fort Worth’s deepest run in the playoffs since Wyatt went three rounds deep in 2000. Be sure to listen to game online at www.bgcsports.net  with Darrell Day, Charles Boyd and myself at 6:30pm.


 

 

 

 

Cowboys Escape Pittsburgh with a 35 to 30 Victory

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Max Faulkner

 

When you get a football game as richly entertaining as this was, with a multi-layered plot turning itself inside out again and again, with seven lead changes across 60 electric minutes, five of them in the last 7:51, two of them in the final 42 seconds, you might assume you’re watching two iconic franchises fighting for every single inch. And you’d be wrong about that.

The Dallas Cowboys fought for every single inch; the Steelers fought for every inch except for those where running out of bounds looked more convenient. The fact is, the Steelers scored anyway on the possession that started with Jones escorting Brown out of bounds at the Dallas 46 early in the fourth, taking a 24-23 lead that might not have happened without three of Brown’s game-high 14 catches. On a subsequent swing pass hook-up from one sensational Dallas rookie to another – Dak Prescott to Ezekiel Elliott -- Elliott charged toward the Steelers sideline, slammed on the breaks, and headed upfield for a few more yards, a ton more inches, and when you lose by 5 at home, this very thing and be the difference and often is the difference.

But after Dallas flipped the Pittsburgh lead again on its next possession, Brown and Roethlisberger still put Pittsburgh back on top with a 15-yard end zone connection after Ben faked a spike on the play. That 5-play, 75-yard drive to a 30-29 lead with 42 seconds left was instantly matched in its exact dimensions by the Cowboys, who scored with nine seconds left to make it 35-30. Only 9 seconds remained after Elliott burst 32 yards through those parted waters for the touchdown that made the final score Cowboys 35, Steelers 30.

Elliott turns an elementary screen pass at the end of the first quarter into an 83-yard touchdown. See Zeke score two more touchdowns in the game’s final minutes. See Zeke go over 1,000 yards rushing in his first NFL season. In closing another lightning bolt moment for the 8-1 Cowboys came when Prescott and Dez Bryant hooked up on a 50-yard touchdown play near the end of the third quarter. Bryant had his most productive day of the season, despite learning that his father had passed away Saturday night.

Finally we have to talk about The Steelers’ would-be winning touchdown came after veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger faked a spike and, instead, found Antonio Brown for a 15-yard touchdown with just 42 seconds remaining. Roethlisberger finished with 408 yards passing and threw for three touchdowns. He was outstanding, but it was Prescott who twice took his team 75 yards in the final seconds. Together — the line, Dez, the two rookies — they made it look ordinary. Dallas will now prepare for its next two games at home. The Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving Day.

In closing on this past Monday Prescott and Elliott were at the Salvation Army on Lancaster and Riverside in Fort Worth. Many of the displaced residences were served a hot meal by the Dallas Cowboy rookies.


 

Mavs Win First Game of the Season over the Milwaukee Bucks

By Cedric Bailey

 

Dallas: The Dallas Mavericks picked up their first win of the season against the Milwaukee Bucks. It was early fouls also put the Milwaukee Bucks in a bind, and although they recovered and had a chance to win, the Dallas Mavericks dominated overtime to win their first game of the season, an 86-75 decision on Sunday at the American Airlines Center.

Harrison Barnes paced Dallas (1-5) with a career-high 34 points on 13-of-26 shooting and point guard J.J. Barea added 21 points. Barea and Wesley Matthews hit three-pointers in the overtime period as the Mavericks outscored the Bucks, 12-1. Milwaukee committed five turnovers in the overtime session and was 0 for 4 from the field.

Giannis Antetokounmpo got the two fouls and you would maybe say it affected his night," Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. "He couldn't get into a rhythm. But that's just something for a young player to digest. Its 48 minutes. Look, with the two fouls early, he ended up with the ball with 7 seconds left for the last shot and for us to win. "We had the ball in his hands to make a play, and we couldn't get the ball to go in for us late."

The score was tied, 74-74, after Barnes drove for a tying layup with 13 seconds left in regulation. Following a Bucks timeout, Antetokounmpo got the ball for an isolation play on the Mavericks' Dorian Finney-Smith, but the Bucks player missed a 21-footer just before the buzzer.

Jabari Parker led the Bucks (4-3) with 16 points and center Greg Monroe added 14 points and 12 rebounds. Antetokounmpo did not foul out and wound up playing 27 minutes while contributing 11 points and seven rebounds. The Bucks committed 27 turnovers leading to 21 points by the Mavericks. Both teams shot poorly, with Milwaukee hitting 30 of 82 attempts and Dallas making 33 of 88.

Parker was hot at the start, hitting 5 of 7 shots as he mixed in jumpers with drives. But after the Bucks led by 13 points early in the game, they went cold at the end of the half. Milwaukee did not score in the final 5 minutes of the second quarter and Dallas scored 14 consecutive points to grab a 47-39 lead at halftime. The Mavericks' run extended to 16-0 before Antetokounmpo finally ended it with a three-pointer with 11:28 left in the third quarter.

Dirk Nowitzki missed Sunday's game with a right Achilles injury and the Mavericks also were without Milwaukee native Devin Harris (right big toe sprain) and Deron Williams (left calf strain). The Mavericks will now play their next four games on the road, traveling to Los Angeles to take on the new-look Lakers on Tuesday night.  The Mavs return to American Airlines Center on Nov. 18, hosting the Memphis Grizzlies. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m.

 

Cowboys Dominate the Cleveland Browns with Another Victory with Rookies at the Helm

 

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by John Kuntz

 

Cleveland: The Cowboys are tied with the New England Patriots for the best record in the National Football League. Means they have a two-game edge in the NFC East on the New York Giants (5-3). It also means they have at least a two-game edge on any other team in the NFC with Seattle, own a 4-0 record on the road, and at 5-1, own the best record in NFC games. All this after blasting the winless Cleveland Browns, 35-10, here on the shores of Lake Erie Sunday afternoon, the Cowboys stretching their winning streak to seven. 

 

Last year at this time the Cowboys were 2-6, stuck in a six-game losing streak that would reach seven in Game 9, and only interrupted from stretching to nine straight with that win over Miami on Tony Romo’s return from fracturing his collarbone in Game 2. Those were the pits, and at 2-7, the only unrealistic hope left for saving the season being Romo’s return would rescue the sinking ship. But that lasted only one game, as Romo fractured the collarbone again the next game four days later on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys won only one more the rest of the way. The Cowboys are winning without Romo playing – yet – and Prescott is growing leaps and bounds while the Cowboys are going about their merry way. And after last year’s catastrophe, the Cowboys’ eyes were wide open, to the point of considering a trade up from the second round of this year’s draft back into the first round to grab a quarterback. They considered trading up in the fourth to grab a quarterback, finally taking a deep breath and drafting Prescott with their fourth-round compensatory pick. Let’s just say that the Cowboys got lucky and very glad that they signed Ezekiel Elliott.

 

The Cowboys are playing winning football while finding out beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have found their quarterback for the future, or as some would insist, for the present also. And Prescott is gaining the experience he couldn’t dream of having gained if Romo had stayed healthy. He would have been the backup quarterback, basically running the scout team. Or worse, had the Cowboys wooed free-agent quarterback Nick Foles into the fold as the veteran backup after Kellen Moore went down, Prescott would have been buried down on the depth chart as the third guy. And the way things are going, Prescott will take another 60 to 70 this coming Sunday in Pittsburgh, and maybe another 140 or more the following two games since it would seem unreasonable the Cowboys would even dream of turning to Romo for the Nov. 20 game against Baltimore and then send him out there four days later on Thanksgiving against the Washington Redskins. Let’s just wait and see how long Mr. Jones keep Prescott as the starter, many fans want to see Dak as the starter and keep the chemistry going. Hopefully this team can continue to win and make it to the Super Bowl in Houston, Texas in February.

 

Mavericks Lose Home Opener to the Houston Rockets

By Cedric Bailey

 

Dallas: Friday night was the home opener for the Dallas Mavericks as they faced the Houston Rockets. The Rockets beat the Mavericks, 106-98, on Friday in the first of consecutive games against Dallas. They did it by doing things just as they could not in the season opener. Trevor Ariza went from scoring five points against the Lakers to leading the Rockets with 27, making 5 of 7 3-pointers. The Rockets took care of the final minutes, when they let the game slip away in Los Angeles, masterfully, never letting the Mavericks sustain any kind of move.

Most of all, the Rockets defended the Mavericks from start to finish, rotating smartly and contesting 3s, holding Dallas 22 points shy of the numbers put up by the Lakers, despite giving up a flurry in the final minute after the benches were cleared. The Mavericks were often racing to get shots off because the Rockets switched and helped so well, precisely the problem against the Lakers. The Rockets even overcame a slow start from James Harden, who did not score in the first quarter, but finished with 26 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Eric Gordon added 18 points. With Dirk Nowitzki sitting out, Harrison Barnes moved over to power forward and led both team with 31, making 13 of 23 shots.

The Rockets, however, were never really threatened in the fourth quarter, though they did not build any kind of a cushion until late in the third quarter, when they seemed to be in danger. They led by four with 3 ½ minutes left in the third quarter when Andrew Bogut stepped out on Harden and drew a charge, Harden's fourth foul. Wesley Matthews scored over Harden and the Rockets lead seemed every bit as shaky as their narrow lead in Los Angeles. Harden then nailed 3s on each of his next two trips down the floor and minutes later, hit another, sending the Rockets to the fourth quarter with a 10-point lead.

The Mavericks had moved guard J.J. Barea into the starting lineup with Nowitzki ill and sitting out. That allowed them to switch on most screens set for Harden. But with the Mavericks preferring to keep their guards Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams on Harden and Gordon, that gave Ariza nearly a foot height advantage on Barea.

The Rockets posted up Ariza twice, with mixed results, but he also got clean looks, scoring 14 first-half points. He continued to roll. It was not clear whether the Mavericks should have felt encouraged to have kept the Rockets' star in check for so long, or if it was a good sign for the Rockets to lead with Harden not scoring. He finished the half with a flurry, scoring 10 points in the final 4:23 of the half with his put-back three-point play giving the Rockets a 52-50 halftime lead.

The Mavericks played the Rockets in Houston on Sunday evening and traveled to Salt Lake City on Wednesday against the Utah Jazz. The next home game is on this Friday evening vs. the Portland Trailblazers.

The 2016 World Series Cleveland Indians vs. the Chicago Cubs

By Cedric Bailey

 

Chicago: The 2016 World Series will go down in history for one of the following teams. The Chicago Cubs or the Cleveland Indians will celebrate a championship on this week in baseball. After 71 years of “wait ’til next year,” Cubs fans now have to wait ’til the next game — if not longer — to see a World Series victory at Wrigley Field.

The thousands of fans who packed the old ballpark, joined by the thousands more without tickets who packed the neighborhood, just wanting to be close to the action, left disappointed but hopeful after the Cubs dropped the third game of the Series, 1-0, to the Cleveland Indians.

The Cubs went on to lose Game 3 of the World Series 1-0, and it’s fair to say that when Friday night started, few of the people packed into the old ballpark envisioned anything other than a party. Instead, the Cubs find themselves down 2-1 in the series with Indians ace Corey Kluber pitching Saturday night. It’s not panic time yet, but it is time to understand that this isn’t a coronation for the Cubs. The Indians play hard, are fundamentally sound and seem to be under the impression that the country is obsessed with the idea of the Cubs’ winning a World Series for the first time since 1908. They might be right about that. The Cubs’ first World Series game at Wrigley since 1945 fell flat due to a lack of hitting and too much good pitching by Cleveland. They managed just five hits. They had similar cold snaps in the N.L. Championship Series and found their offense in time. But they’re playing with fire again. Or ice.

Anthony Rizzo led off the ninth with a single. Pinch runner Chris Coghlan got to second on a groundout and first baseman Mike Napoli’s error on Jason Heyward’s chopper moved Coghlan to third base. First and third, two outs, Javy Baez up and fans chanting, “Ja-vy, Ja-vy.’’ Wrigley was in danger of sliding into Lake Michigan. But closer Cody Allen struck Baez out, organ music quickly drowned out the onslaught of more silence and the Cubs headed to their clubhouse. So much finality with one pitch.

The Cubs came into the game with reason to believe it was their night. They had Kyle Hendricks on the mound. He had the majors’ lowest earned run average this season, and his teammates had every right to expect greatness from him Friday. They got good enough from Hendricks. They gave back almost nothing, even with the wind blowing out. Maddon then opted for Carl Edwards Jr. It worked in the sixth but not in the seventh, when the right-hander gave up a single, threw a wild pitch and walked a batter. Pinch hitter Coco Crisp’s single gave the Indians a 1-0 lead. Not a good feeling for the Cubs or their fans, who came to see history. Game 4 was played on Saturday and Game 5 on Sunday. If Necessary game 6 will be on Tuesday November 1 from Cleveland and game 7 on Wednesday November 2nd.

Cowboys Dominate Packers to take First Place in the NFC East

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Max Faulkner

 

Green Bay: The Green Bay Packers wore throwback uniforms Sunday at Lambeau Field dating back to 1937. Let’s just say that the Cowboys defense made the Packers offense made their opponent look  more flat and musty than what coach Mike McCarthy put on the field against the Dallas Cowboys, who were as sleek and fresh in their approach as their classic silver-and-blue uniforms. Based on the Cowboys’ 30-16 victory and the first six weeks of the season, it might be a case of two teams headed in divergent directions. It was total defeat for the Packers, who came up well short in originality, coach-to-player communication and fundamentals.

The crowd of 78,481 had dwindled to about 25,000 at the end of a sobering, ugly performance by the home team. Before the Packers embark on a stretch of four road games in five weeks, all against opponents with at least a .500 record, they’ll meet the Chicago Bears (1-5) Thursday night at Lambeau Field. At 3-2, the Packers fell two games behind idle Minnesota in the NFC North and tied for the fifth best record in the NFC. Dallas, which had lost five straight games to McCarthy’s teams, is 5-1.

McCarthy’s passing game was the same old same old, at least dating back to Game 7 last year, with Aaron Rodgers missing wide-open targets four or five times that might have reversed the outcome and the receiving corps making little or no headway against predominantly man-to-man coverage. The defense, ranked No. 1 against the run, crashed back to earth against rookie stars Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott. Elliott surged for 157 yards in 28 carries and the precocious Prescott, a fourth-round draft choice, performed as advertised with a passer rating of 117.4.

The final carry by rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliott was, quite fittingly, a 3-yard plunge that picked up a first down. He burst through the middle of his road-grading offensive line and, upon crossing the 40-yard line of the Green Bay Packers, iced a victory ripe with humiliation. Players from both teams jogged across the field as the final seconds melted away from a lopsided football game. Some stopped to shake hands and trade jerseys. Others veered toward their respective locker rooms.

Who everybody thinks they are is the best rushing offense in the National Football League, a notion reinforced by Sunday’s remarkable display. Led by Elliott, who finished with 157 yards on 28 carries, his fourth consecutive game with 100 yards or more, the Cowboys dismembered a run defense that sat atop nearly every statistical category. The historic four-game start by the Packers was immolated at the hands of a tenacious offensive line that mauled them early and abused them late. The Cowboys, who have invested three first-round picks in their offensive line, did not incorporate any new wrinkles as they gobbled up yards in chunks. It was everything the Packers had seen on film, according to outside linebackers Datone Jones and Julius Peppers, and the Cowboys are adamant that no team can stop them.

Finally the return of Tony Romo has been the biggest sports topic around the world. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has a very tough decision to make on his starting quarterback decision between sensational rookie Dak Prescott, who has led the Cowboys to five consecutive wins, and injured former Pro Bowler Tony Romo, who is the team's all-time leading passer. Romo is expected to return from his fractured back for the Nov. 6 game against the Cleveland Browns. But will he return to the starting lineup?

“We’re going to have a very, very, very good situation to make decisions around and nothing I’d rather do than go into the last half of the season with a ready to go Tony Romo and a winning Dak Prescott,” Jones said. “I dream of being able to make that decision. We’re not there right now, by the way. We are not there.” Jones is simply trying to buy time. Meanwhile Dallas has a bye this week and will return to action on next week vs the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night Football.

 

Mavs Prepare for the 2016 NBA Season

By Cedric Bailey

 

Dallas: The 2016 NBA Season is about to start and the Dallas Mavericks will face the Houston Rockets on October 28 at the AAC. Meanwhile after playing their first four exhibition contests without their starting lineup intact, the Dallas Mavericks took the court Friday night against the Phoenix Suns with the projected first unit at full strength.

Coach Rich Carlisle finally played his five starters together for the first time the Mavericks attempted to build on Tuesday’s 114-109 home victory over Oklahoma City, hoping to continue surging in the right direction as the regular season rapidly approaches. But even with the starters seeing time into the second half, the Mavericks (2-3) couldn’t make up for their own miscues while falling to a 112-107 defeat.

Taking the floor with Williams, swingman Wesley Matthews, versatile forward Harrison Barnes, 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and center Andrew Bogut together for the first time in game action, the Mavericks tried to get off to a fast start. Instead, the Suns (3-2) would come out aggressively while playing without center Tyson Chandler (rest) and up-and-comer Devin Booker (right ankle sprain), opening the game on a 7-2 run.

Williams then did his best to calm the Mavs down, scoring Dallas’ first eight points of the game. Nowitzki followed suit, hitting a vintage jumper to put the Mavs up 16-15 after overcoming a seven-point deficit. And after backup big man Salah Mejri entered the game with 4:05 left in the opening quarter to make his preseason debut, the Mavericks took a 25-24 edge into the second stanza.

The game then began to escalate in physicality, leading to a double-technical call on Bogut and Suns big man Marquese Chriss with 9:22 in the half. Meanwhile, the Suns surged back in front, overshadowing Williams’ best efforts. However, after trailing by as many as nine, the Mavericks closed the half strong behind second-year standout Justin Anderson. And after a review overturned sharpshooter Seth Curry’s late three, the Mavs trailed by just two, 59-57, entering the halftime intermission.

Scoring 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting to lead all scorers in the first half, Williams did his best to keep the Mavericks in the game. Meanwhile, the Mavericks outshot the Suns through two quarters, 48.8 percent to 43.5 percent, holding a 27-16 rebounding advantage to boot. However, the Mavs couldn’t overcome their own 11 turnovers in the half, giving up 12 points at the other end of the floor.

Picking up where he left off at after scoring 12 points in the first half, Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe opened the third period with a three-pointer. The Suns kept their foot on the game from there, forcing Carlisle into a timeout with 9:17 in the third after pulling ahead 66-57. Nowitzki tried to come alive shortly after that, hoping to make amends for missing eight of his first 10 shots. Bogut then found a cutting Barnes for a two-handed slam, trimming the deficit to 70-64. Anderson and reserve guard Devin Harris took matters from there, shouldering the bulk of the scoring duties with the second unit. Still, with Suns veteran guard Leandro Barbosa giving his team a spark, the Mavs limped into the fourth down by nine, 91-82.

Seeing enough from his top contributors through three quarters, Carlisle began emptying his bench as the fourth period got underway. At the other end the Suns handed the scoring over to cat-quick guard Brandon Knight, keeping the Mavericks at a safe distance on the scoreboard. The Suns then upped their lead to as many as 11 before closing the door on the Mavs down the stretch. Bledsoe and Chriss led seven Suns in double figures with 17 points apiece, combining to connect on 10 of 21 from the field. However, the Mavericks outshot the Suns for the game, 42.9 percent to 40.4 percent, adding a 56-46 rebounding advantage. That said, the Mavs couldn’t overcome their 18 turnovers, giving up 21 points off the miscues at the other end of the floor.

“You know, we’ve just got to play a lot better overall. Too many turnovers, and they took us out of a lot of stuff,” Carlisle concluded. “They were clearly the more aggressive team. … You know, we’re not going to be able to survive with that situation. I don’t know that we eased into it. I just know Phoenix was quick, they played with a lot of force, and we didn’t meet the force well enough at the beginning of either half. So, that’s going to have to be something we’re going to have to do better.”

The Mavericks will now home to host the Houston Rockets at American Airlines Center this Wednesday night. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on TXA 21 and 103.3 FM ESPN.

 

Dallas Cowboys Climb to 1st place in the NFC East with a Win over the Bengals

 

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Kareem Elgazzar

 

Arlington: The Cincinnati Bengals learned on Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys as one of the most telling regarding where this Bengals team stands this season. Bengals players and coaches walked away with a definitive and disturbing answer. They stand a long way from the group reaching five consecutive playoff berths and at a concerning crossroads following a three-phase evisceration at the hands of Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Dallas ran up a 28-14 victory behind a dominating offensive line punishing and perplexing the Cincinnati defense with 133 yards and two touchdowns by Elliott.

If the NFL gave out an offensive rookie of the year award after five games, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott would split votes. The Cowboys’ rookies have played like veterans so far, a big reason Dallas stands a surprising 4-1.

Prescott passed for 227 yards and Elliott ran for 134 in the Cowboys victory over Cincinnati on Sunday.

“Each of those guys has come in and taken advantage of their opportunities,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday. “We felt like they were good players when we drafted them, but there is no question they’ve been able to transition quickly. I think it’s probably a result of the experience they had in college. You think about the program those guys came from, and the experience they had, and the production they had, it certainly has helped them transition maybe more smoothly than most. We’re fortunate to have them. For those guys to be playing as well as they are as early in their career is certainly impressive.”

Prescott has passed for 1,239 yards this season, while Elliott has rushed for a league-leading 546. That makes them the first set of rookies to have more than 1,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in the first five games. They’re playing like a broken record every Sunday, 21 Elliott’s back-to-back two-touchdown games marked the 21st time in team history a rookie rusher has had consecutive games with multiple touchdowns. 5 Elliott’s 60-yard touchdown run tied for the fifth-longest by a rookie in team history. DeMarco Murray’s 91-yard touchdown run against the Rams as a rookie in 2011 set the record.

4 Elliott’s 546 yards are the fourth-most by a rookie rusher in NFL history. Only Rams running back Eric Dickerson (645 in 1983), Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson (607 in 2007) and Detroit’s Billy Sims (560 in 1980) had more through five games.

462 Yards Elliott needs to set the team’s rookie record for rushing yards in a season. Tony Dorsett holds the record with 1,007 yards as a rookie in 1977.

3 Elliott became only the third rookie running back in NFL history to have three consecutive games of at least 130 yards. Dickerson and Denver’s Mike Anderson (2000) are the only other rookie running backs to accomplish the feat. The Cowboys will now hit the road and face the Green Bay Packers. Game time will be at 3:25pm on the FOX Network.

A Season of Promise, A Series of Despair!

 

That seems to be the tale of two seasons when it comes to the Texas Rangers.

The Season of Promise!

ACT I:
We open up the season on a cool April Day, with the Seattle Mariners coming into town after, the Rangers opened the 2016 season on the road in Oakland. The Mariners started their ACE- King Felix, that’s Felix Hernandez, and he throws BB’s at the Rangers, however, the good guys start this day coming from behind and only getting ONE HIT for the day, and able to get their first of many 1 run games with a final score 3-2!

The season goes along, with the Rangers taking the lead in the American League West for good at the end of April, and first of May, and continues to keep that lead, despite some losing streaks but so were the Astros and the Mariners throughout the season!

Texas never lost the lead, and in the end opened it up to win the West by 9 games!

Clinching the West was phase one of the Rangers, getting home field advantage was another goal, the accomplished both!

They have the bull by the horns, and they are ready to set into motion their post season run!

They remembered what it was like last year when they lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, they remember the feeling they had when they sat in the visiting dug out and watched the Blue Jays celebrate on the field! They remember Jose Bautista sending a moon shot into the left field seats and flipping (throwing) his bat as he celebrated the home run, they remember the three errors in the bottom of the 7th inning! They remember everything about that game, they remember everything about the feeling the emotions, the bad taste in their mouths when it was all said and done with!

Jeff Banister, last year, put together a team of players that could weather the storm, the storm of losing your starting ACE in Yu Darvish, the lost for the most of the year to Shin-Sin Choo, or for that matter the loss of Prince Fielder for the season, let us not forget Derek Holland gone for the majority of the season after he played one game!

This team a year ago fought through all sorts of adversity, and yet still won the American League West!

Now here is 2016, and expectations are high, even Las Vegas odds makers are making the Rangers a favorite to make it to the World Series! Yet there 162 games to be played and after that 11 more to win to be crowned Champion!

Here come the Blue Jays once again, another meeting with the dreaded Blue Birds from North of the Border!

Opening game at Globe Life Park, an afternoon affair, that everyone was grumbling about, that this game was not a prime time game, ,so we can show off our team, or AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST CHAMPIONS, and for whatever reason, maybe that was not a bad idea, with Cole Hamels starting the game, and not even getting out of the 4th inning, and the Blue Jays had already blew this game open with a 5-0 lead, and then 7-0, then 10-0, and the Rangers get their loan run late in the game to get off the goose egg, and the final after game one 10-1.

Hamels, holding court in the club house afterwards, put the blame flat on himself, and no one else, he said he didn’t have control, and that everything he was throwing up there was being hit! Honorable, but still falling on one’s sword is not the answer that is needed for being one of the top pitchers in the Major Leagues.

Alright, that’s behind them, game two, and the next ACE, Yu Darvish to the hill, and he gets let up by the Blue Birds by not one, not two, but three bombs and the final is 5-3! Now Texas is down two games to none in the best of five series.

They move the series to Toronto, and they send out Colby Lewis, another wounded warrior of the season, and his two previous outings were not his best, but he had a little rust on him, at least that’s what coaches and even Lewis, himself said!

Lewis doesn’t even get out of the 3rd inning in game 3! He is lifted after the score was 3-1, and the Rangers fought, scratched, clawed their way to a 6-4 lead in the 6th inning, then the roof caves in and the Blue Jays at home and they tie the game up, Matt Bush is on in relief, and he has a shut down 8th, gets out of the 9th, and in the bottom of the 10th, what looked like a routine ground ball gets thrown away and cause an error and then the runner comes home—and GAME OVER! SEASON OVER!

ACT II

The off season, the winter meetings, the keeping of key players, the release of others, names that we have come to learn and enjoy seeing them on the field might not be here when spring training comes around.

Let’s take a look who might and might not be here!

Carlos Beltran, there’s a hired gun that came in to take the place of Prince Fielder for the DH position, then there is Carlos Gomez, the outfielder that the Rangers obtained from the Astros, might stick around, he likes it here, the team likes having him, so they will work the deal out.

Though guys like Delino DeShields and Ryan Rua, possibly Tanner Sheppers, Derek Holland, question mark against those names, and a few others.

Banister and Jon Daniels will have their work cut out for the off season, and after the Winter Meetings, this team might be in better shape than we expect. Remember last year, the Rangers didn’t make that many moves in the off season, they did everything at the end of the Trade Deadline, and they didn’t give up anything to get some good front line players.

Gallo is still here, and so is Profar, that’s not too say that after the Winter Meetings, and before Spring Training something can’t be done or a deal can’t be made!

EPILOG

In the final analysis, The Texas Rangers lost to a better pitching staff, and maybe a few better bats, though there are those who will say that this team, from top to bottom of the batting line up was as good as it gets! Just not that good enough to beat the Blue Jays.

For now we will sit and wait the beginning of Spring Training, and let Springs Hope for eternal bliss comes the way of the Rangers for a third straight Western Division Title with a little bit longer run into the post season than just three games!

Just a thought.  

And the Beat Goes ON! Or is that… and the BEAT DOWN Goes On?

By Dave Michaels

 

Here we are once again, the American League Division Series. The Texas Rangers vs the Toronto Blue Jays! Weren’t we just here a year ago? Why YES we WERE! Let’s recap quickly!

 

The Texas Rangers go up two games to none in the best of five series last year, winning two in Toronto, then they come back to Arlington, Texas, needing ONE win to advance to the American League Championship Series! ONE WIN! That’s all! JUST ONE! What happens next, the Blue Jays go on and win THREE in a row, but the dramatic fifth and deciding game! Well let’s see!

 

The Rangers actually have a lead going into the 7th inning of that game, and not one, not two, but THREE ERRORS in four at bats, and the Rangers have given the Blue Jays LIFE! Then its Jose Bautista at the plate, and with two on, hits a mammoth, majestic, rainbow of a home run to left field to give the Jays the lead going into the final two innings of the game. Oh and if that’s not enough, insult to injury, when Jose “BATS” hits that colossal  shot to the cheap seats, he takes his bat and flips it and stands at home plate!

Basically showing up the Rangers, and letting the HOME TOWN fans revel in its splendor! The rest they say is history! NOT SO FAST my young friends!

 

Come to the regular season, 8 months later, the Blue Jays and the Rangers are playing a regular season game, and Jose Bautista is at the plate in Arlington, Texas, and he gets plunked by a pitch, no big deal, he stares down the pitcher, and maybe an exchange of pleasantries go back and forth, but then all of a sudden and hit up the middle, and a double play ball.. tailored made, in the hands of Rougned Odor, however, Bautista take a hard slide into second base and gets a bit of Odor for good measure. Once again, words are exchanged and a push comes out of it, and the next thing you see is Bautista doubling up his fist, but before he gets a swing in, Odor just knocks the taste out of Bautista’s mouth, with helmet going one direction and sun glasses going in another, and then both benches clear, and coaches are involved and fingers are pointed, and names are being called—and it looks like something out an after school free for all!

 

Well these two teams will once again meet up in a Division Series best of five starting this week in Arlington, and if anything, we should all be aware that THIS is bigger than the game- “THIS” being the back ground story between Odor and Bautista!

Something we are certain that Major League Baseball would much rather have down played, and not being shown on every sports broadcast on ESPN, Fox Sports 1, CNN Sports, and every local TV station in both DFW and Toronto!

 

The Game is supposed to be bigger than the story, the GAME is what people come to watch and be a part of, and cheer for their teams to advance to the next series! In Toronto, the fans there are a bit, hmmm how shall we say…. Brutal! They throw bottles of beer and little children as they did last year during the Division Series and again this year during the ONE GAME PLAYOFF with the Orioles, a fan in left field threw a full bottle of beer in the path of the Orioles left fielder Kim, and not that it distracted him from the catch, but just plain stupidity!

 

So what can the Rangers expect when they go up to Toronto on Sunday to take on the blue birds of happiness? Security will be tighter and the fans will be kept a close eye on that is for sure. As for the fans in Texas, well that’s another story! The stadium, Globe Life Park, holds 49,000 plus for full seated capacity, a bit more if you wish to stand or get obstructed views, but none the less, since both games on Thursday and Friday will be played at 3:08 and 12:08, respectively, one can only imagine that there will be less than full for both days!

 

Thank you Major League Baseball for giving the Team that is the number one seed, with the best record in the American League, the worse possible start times in their region, and day games in Texas, lets face it, yes its October, but that just means we are in the upper 80’s instead of 105. Oh and with that last statement, let’s not EVEN get into the fact that the Rangers and the City of Arlington wish to build a new DOMED stadium for this baseball club. That’s another story for another time!

 

For now, it’s the Blue Jays and the Rangers part II! My money is on Jeff Banister and the Texas Rangers, they have a bit of a bad taste in their mouths from last season, and even though their battle cry is NEVER EVER QUIT, I think for now its UNFINISHED BUSINESS! Just a thought.

Cowboys Win Over the 49ers with a Second Half Comeback

 

By Cedric Bailey

 

San Francisco: Dak Prescott doesn’t mind playing from behind, and he doesn’t mind playing fast. That much was clear just before halftime Sunday at Levi’s Stadium when, after cutting an early 14-point deficit to seven, the rookie completed 8-of-10 passes for 56 yards and found Brice Butler for the tying touchdown with 12 seconds remaining. The 11-play, 58-yard drive took all of a minute and 32 seconds. Just that quickly, the San Francisco 49ers’ momentum had shifted in the Cowboys’ direction.

Prescott is getting the hang of this NFL starting quarterback thing pretty fast. Sunday’s 24-17 victory was Prescott’s third straight as the fill-in starter for injured veteran Tony Romo (back). He completed 23-of-32 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns in his third straight game with a passer rating over 100. The Cowboys are 3-1 for only the second time since 2008, despite playing Sunday without wide receiver Dez Bryant (knee) and offensive line starters Tyron Smith (back) and La’el Collins (toe).

Neither is his ability to play efficient football, no matter the situation. He still hasn’t committed a turnover in his NFL career, and his pass attempts streak without an interception now stands at 131 – tying Warren Moon for the second-most in NFL history to begin a career – even though 49ers safety Eric Reid nearly picked him off early in the game.

The early 14-point deficit was the team’s largest of the season (previously nine in a Week 1 loss to the New York Giants) and might have appeared daunting without Bryant, the offense’s go-to receiver, in the lineup. But Prescott looked equally comfortable throwing to Terrance Williams and Bryant’s injury replacement, Brice Butler. They combined for nine catches for 84 yards and the two touchdowns that tied the game before halftime.

After the 49ers kicked a field goal to take a 17-14 lead, Prescott brought the Cowboys from behind again in the third quarter. He directed a 10-play, 78-yard scoring drive with completions to Butler and tight end Jason Witten and 50 rushing yards and a touchdown from rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott. Then, attempting to run out the clock with 1:45 remaining in the fourth quarter, Prescott threw a screen that Cole Beasley turned into a 47-yard gain to seal the seven-point win.

Since Romo fractured a bone in his back in an Aug. 25 preseason game, the Cowboys have been pleased with his recovery but have not committed to a firm timetable for his expected return this season. Team owner/general manager Jerry Jones refuted reports that the team is targeting Week 8 after the bye for Romo to return.

In the meantime, Prescott is getting invaluable game experience that seemed impossible two months ago when he entered training camp third on the quarterback depth chart behind Romo and Kellen Moore  He’s learning and improving fast. The Cowboys will face the Cincinnati Bengals  in Arlington at 3:25pm on Channel 11 CBS Network.

Cowboys Rookie’s Lead the Way in Big Win Over the Chicago Bears

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Rick Morrissey

 

Arlington: The Dallas Cowboys 2016 draft picks have stepped up big for America’s team. Dallas Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott execution and poise is what caught the Bears attention the most in a 31-17 loss Sunday night at AT&T Stadium. Prescott completed 19 of 24 passes for 248 yards and one touchdown. The touchdown pass, the first of his NFL career, was a 17-yarder to wide receiver Dez Bryant in the fourth quarter.

 

“He doesn’t make too many mistakes. He reads coverages well. He’s good for them,” defensive back Adrian Amos said. “I can’t really say in particular the one thing that makes him good. They beat us tonight. That is all I know.” Prescott has thrown 99 consecutive passes to start his career without an interception. Prescott was the second rookie starting quarterback the Bears have played against this season. In Week 2, Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz passed for 190 yards and one touchdown in the Eagles’ 29-14 win.


Now let’s talk about Ezekiel Elliott who carried the game ball as he sprinted off the field. He tucked it safely into his bag after arriving at his locker. A week after fumbling twice — and earning a benching — Elliott got his first 100-yard rushing game Sunday night. Elliott, the fourth overall choice in the 2016 NFL Draft, gained 140 yards on 30 carries. It is the most yards rushing in the NFL thus far in Week 3.


“It feels good. It feels good to see all our hard work, see the results finally,” Elliott said. “Just going to work every week and not necessarily getting the results you want the first couple of weeks, but just having the great teammates who have continued to have confidence in me no matter what we went through.  “The first game kind of being a little shaky. The second game, two fumbles. The guys still had the ultimate confidence in me. All the vets before this game telling me, ‘It’s going to be a game for you. It’s going to be one.’ It’s awesome to have these types of guys around me.”

 

After the game many conversations Cowboy fans are wondering what the Cowboy’s organization is going to do when Tony Romo returns. The Cowboys are winning games and doing so in convincing fashion. Sunday’s 31-17 win against Chicago was the second of Dak Prescott’s career, which gives him more wins so far this season than all three of Romo’s backups managed last year. That simple fact gives cause for hope that the season won’t be lost when Romo returns – and that’s not lost on Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones we will see in a few weeks. Dallas will prepare for the San Francisco 49ers on this Sunday afternoon, gametime is at 3:25 on the FOX network. 

Back to Back Western Division Championships!

By Dave Michaels, Photo by the Star Telegram

 

2016! That was the watermark for the Texas Rangers, who the year before won the West on the last day of the season. 2016, That was to be a different year, and a different attitude.

They had tasted the post season, only to lose three straight games to the Toronto Blue Jays, and losing on the road, they had a 2-0 lead, until those three games went the way of the Jays.

We all remember Jose Bautista flipping his bat after hitting a mammoth home run into left field, and then during the season of 2016, the Jays come into Arlington to take on the Rangers, only to see Bautista going into second base a bit hard, and Rougned Odor, taking exception, and shoving, then a right cross to the left side of Bautista’s face… glasses going one direction batting helmet another, and benches clear, and photos are used for “T” shirts, Meme’s and all sorts of  social media.

 

There is still a fight in the American League to find out who will play for the Wild Card, but none the less, the Rangers are getting ready to face whomever it will be. To hear Jeff Banister, and others, they are just concentrating on the games ahead, get people rested that need it, and prepare their pitching rotation, which is still a question mark once get passed the first two in the rotation. Sure you have Cole Hammels and Yu Darvish, but then WHOM do you put after them. Colby Lewis, yes he’s back, but is he really? The last two outings that Lewis has had, its been iffy at best, but then again, Banister believes that he will work his way back to the way he was before the injury back in June took him down.

 

There’s Derick Holland, and the question mark is, which Holland shows up to the ball park, the one that can give you six solid innings and give you a chance to keep the other team off balance, OR, the other Holland that gets lit up in the first two innings and puts your team in such a hole, that its almost impossible to get out of it. Martin Perez, at home is awesome, not so much on the road, then you have Nick Martinez that has come out of the bull pen, and had a spot start here and there, but still not reliable.

 

So as you can see, the arms are the question, not the bats! OH AND THE BATS!!!!!!!!!!! Lets start with the acquisitions of Carlos Beltran from the Yankees or even Carlos Gomez from the Astros, but the biggest one, the one that has been a proven impact both offense and defense, is Jonathon Lucroy from the Brewers. His impact on the pitching staff was immediate, and his bat has been solid. You want this guy in the lineup every day and give your team an opportunity to be strong right up the middle. From his position behind the plate, to the pitcher to the middle infield, with short and second covering the middle for pickoffs or keeping runners “honest” on the base paths.

 

Beltran coming over from the New York Yankees took care of the void left by Prince Fielder who retired because of his neck injury, that most likely he was playing with throughout the season, and finally caught up with him. Shin-Sin Choo, also was in and out of the lineup, but you get the young man from Houston, in Gomez, and he gives you solid defense in the outfield play the Left Corner, and his bat has come around. It’s almost like, give them different scenery, and surroundings in the club house, and they become a different player.

So even though the Rangers will most likely get Choo back in the lineup for the Post Season, who would you sacrifice?

 

Well I don’t see Joey Gallo staying with the big club, and maybe even Hoying will probably be sitting on the sidelines. The Rangers keep Delino DeShields, Ryan Rua, on the squad, while others will have their taste of the “Show” to be a part of the big league team. But such are the rules of Major League Baseball, once the post season starts, you can only carry so many players. The Second Season, the Post Season, the reason why you play 162 games in a season is to make it to this point. The Rangers, have been here now SEVEN times! Just think about that, maybe the Yankees and the Cardinals have more division championships (though I doubt it) since 1996 the Rangers have claimed the Western Division Flag 7 times!

American League champions twice, in 2010 and 2011, when they made it to the World Series, more times than the neighbors to the south, who only made it once, the Houston Astros were the National League representative against the Chicago White Sox, and in doing, lost in five games to the Sox.

 

The Rangers, lost to the San Francisco Giants and to the St. Louis Cardinals respectively in 2010 and 2011. We all remember that fateful night in October in 2011, when the Rangers were one strike away, one out away of hoisting that trophy above their head, only to see slip between their fingertips when Nelson Cruz couldn’t catch the drive to right field, or even after Josh Hamilton launched a home run in extra innings to give the Rangers the lead, but once again, the Home Run did them in, and game six was lost, and then game seven in 2011, and the rest they say is history! Now History is still about to be written the NEVER EVER QUIT attitude that Jeff Banister brings to this team, and has instilled in the players has shown throughout the season with one run victories, or come from beind wins, or walk off wins. This Ranger ball club NEVER EVER QUITS!

 

Unfinished business is a head for this team, and they are looking for a RED OCTOBER, and it will start the first week of October! The magic number for that trophy to come to North Texas is ELEVEN!

 

Let’s Go Rangers!  

 

Cowboys Win on the Road against the Washington Redskins

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Vernon Garrett

 

Dallas Cowboys fans remember Alfred Morris during his day’s with the Redskins. However this year is a different story, because it was a former Redskin got the last laugh in the 27-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field on Sunday. Morris had just five carries for seven yards, but none were more important than his four-yard, game-winning touchdown with 4 minutes 49 seconds left to give the Cowboys the lead for good. It was Morris’s first game against his former team, where the sixth-round pick in 2012 spent the first four seasons of his career.

 

Without Morris, Washington’s offense missed a number of opportunities to take a commanding lead in the second half. It started two drives inside the Cowboys’ 40 and settled for two field goals in the third quarter. Following rookie quarterback Dak Prescott’s six-yard rushing touchdown that gave it a 20-17 lead, Dallas botched an onside kick with illegal touching to give Washington the ball needing just 38 yards to regain the lead. Six plays later, Dustin Hopkins kicked a 29-yard field goal to tie the game.

 

On its next drive, Washington started at Dallas’s 34 because of an Ezekiel Elliott fumble forced by cornerback Josh Norman and recovered by cornerback Dashaun Phillips. The Redskins struggled once again in the red zone to punch it in for six, and Hopkins made a 22-yarder to take a 23-20 lead. The Redskins defense produced two big stops in the back-and-forth affair with the fumble recovery, then a three-and-out early in the fourth quarter that gave its offense another chance to take a commanding lead. The offense failed to do so. Cousins marched the Redskins 73 yards down the field, with 57 of them gained by rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson on his first reception. But Cousins was intercepted by safety Barry Church on third and goal from the 6-yard line. Cousins attempted to thread the ball through triple coverage to Pierre Garcon. Cousins finished 28 of 46 for 364 yards, a touchdown and an interception. His Hail Mary attempt to end the game sailed out of bounds.

 

In closing, the Cowboys are proud of the poise Prescott has displayed and the progress he’s made since injuries to starter Tony Romo  that moved the fourth-round pick into the starting lineup in late August. His stat line Sunday resembled the near-perfect preseason performances he delivered a month ago: 22-of-30 for 292 yards, a rushing touchdown and no interceptions for a 103.8 passer rating. The Redskins sacked him four times, but he didn’t get rattled and led the offense on five scoring drives in 10 total possessions. The Cowboys will now return home for Sunday night football against the Chicago Bears.

Rangers Fall to the Oakland A’s on Sunday 5-2

By Cedric Bailey, Photo courtesy of the Dallas Morning News

 

Arlington: The Texas Rangers will remember the performance of Khris Davis who  homered twice, giving him 40 for the season, and the A’s beat Texas 5-2 on Sunday to keep the Rangers from moving closer to the AL West title. Davis is the first A’s player to hit 40 homers since Jason Giambi had 43 in 2000. Davis has 10 homers in 15 games against the Rangers.

With two weeks left in the regular season, the magic number for the AL-leading Rangers (88-62) to clinch the division title remained at five games. Seattle and Houston, who were playing against each other Sunday, started the day tied for second in the AL West. While already guaranteed consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 2007-09, the A’s (66-83) won two of three in Texas to wrap up a 6-1 road trip in which they scored 65 runs.

Ross Detwiler (2-3) went 5 1/3 innings and limited the Rangers to two runs. The left-hander had gone 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in his previous six games for the A’s. Ryan Dull pitched the ninth for his third save in five chances. Rangers veteran right-hander Colby Lewis (6-3) allowed three runs while throwing 92 pitches (48 strikes) in 5 1/3 innings in only his second start since a two-month stay on the disabled list because of a strained right lat. He struck out four while allowing three hits and five walks. When Davis lined a solo shot to left field in the fourth off Lewis, the slugger matched Oakland’s team record for homers against the Rangers. Reggie Jackson was with the A’s when he hit nine against Texas in 1974.

Davis broke that mark when he went the opposite way in the eighth, a two-run shot to right off Keone Kela that also pushed his RBI total to 99. Texas got its runs with four consecutive hits off Detwiler with one out in the third. Robinson Chirinos had a double and scored on a single by Delino DeShields, who got to third on a hit by Carlos Gomez before going home when Ian Desmond hit a sharp grounder that ricocheted of Detwiler’s knee into foul territory for a 2-0 lead.

It was the 17th start overall this season for Lewis, the 36-year-old right-hander looking to pitch in the postseason again. Lewis is 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA in eight postseason starts for the Rangers, including Game 6 of the 2010 AL Championship Series that clinched the franchise’s first World Series berth.

Lewis had three walks in the sixth, the last to Marcus Semien with the bases loaded to force in a run and tie the game at 2. The A’s went ahead when Renato Nunez greeted reliever Alex Claudio with a fielder’s choice grounder that drove in a run. Texas stays home with lefty Martin Perez (10-10), who has a 1.96 ERA his past three starts, starting the opener of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels.

Cowboys Lose to Giants with the Clock Running Out 20 to 19

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Louis Deluca

 

Arlington: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott opened the 2016 football season in a positive way. He made the right passes to Cowboys receivers such as Witten, Beasley and Bryant. However it was the last pass of the evening that kept Dan Bailey from kicking the winning field goal.

This time, these new Giants — who had lost five consecutive openers — found a way. Barely. The defense got two stops and the offense ran the ball — yes, RAN the ball — for two first downs and not only drained 2:45 off the clock but also forced the Cowboys to extinguish all three of their timeouts. Yet at the very end, the Giants needed a prayer from the Dallas Cowboys to secure a 20-19 victory. The path led directly through the minefield that was Terrance Williams’ brain. The Cowboys took over on their own 20-yard line with 1:12 remaining, needing about 35 yards to give their powerful kicker, Dan Bailey, a shot at a game-winning field goal. Bailey had already hit from 56 and 54 yards. Dak Prescott, the precocious rookie quarterback starting for injured Tony Romo, got the Cowboys to the Giants’ 40-yard line on a 14-yard pass to Williams, who with a handful of seconds remaining had the chance to cut outside and run out of bounds. Instead, he cut inside to try to squeeze out a few more yards.

“I was doing my best to get the team in position to kick a field goal, but obviously I should have just followed the rules and gotten out of bounds,’’ Williams said. Rodgers-Cromartie hauled Williams down with about six seconds left and did not get up until the final seconds faded away as the Cowboys could not get lined up for a spike and field-goal try. “I knew the time was just ticking and ticking and I tried to stay on top of him as long as I could until the ref told me to get up,’’ Rodgers-Cromartie said.

They were rarely in control against Prescott and could not get off the field on defense in the first half, yet kept the Cowboys out of the end zone and led 13-9 at halftime, as Manning tossed touchdown passes to tight end Larry Donnell and rookie Sterling Shepard on a brilliant leaping grab. After Shepard turned the wrong way on a route, leading to an interception of Manning, the Cowboys surged ahead on an 8-yard scoring run by rookie Ezekiel Elliott.

The Giants were down 19-13 midway through the fourth quarter when Cruz, playing his first game in 700 days, worked the back of the end zone and secured a 3-yard touchdown pass, unveiling his famous salsa celebration after such a long and painful recovery from knee and calf surgeries.

All game, the Giants had trouble corralling Prescott but bottled up Elliott, limiting him to 51 rushing yards on an average of 2.6 yards per attempt. The Giants, forced a Dallas punt and looked to secure the game with 3:57 left. Rashad Jennings ran for 32 yards on five straight carries, picking up two first downs. On fourth-and-1 from the Dallas 37, McAdoo opted to punt the ball away and trust his defense to finish things out. Thanks to a cut inside instead of outside by a Cowboys receiver, the Giants did just that. Dallas will now hit the road and face the Washington Redskins on next Sunday at 12pm.

 

 

Rangers Continue to Win on the Road

By Cedric Bailey, Photo courtesy of Star-Telegram

 

The Texas Rangers have found was to win on the road. Currently the Rangers are on the West coast facing division rivals such as the Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels and the Houston Astros. Meanwhile on this past Sunday in Anaheim the series finale between the Angels and first-place Rangers turned into a home run derby on Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium, with the Halos coming out on top with a 3-2 win to avoid a sweep.

For the Rangers, the loss reduced their lead over the Indians for the best record in the American League to one game. The league's best record guarantees home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Texas' magic number to clinch the AL West is 11 games over the Astros, pending the result of Houston's late game against the Cubs. Both teams traded solo home runs through six innings. Colby Lewis, making his first start with the Rangers since June 21, allowed a homer to leadoff man Yunel Escobar on his third pitch. Lewis was activated from the disabled list before the game.

Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons unloaded against Lewis leading off the bottom of the second and again in the sixth, which proved to be the difference in the game. Adrian Beltre homered twice off Angels starter Jered Weaver, leading off the top of the second and then with two outs in the sixth. Weaver earned the win to improve to 11-11, his third straight winning decision. The veteran recorded a season-high eight strikeouts and walked two over 6 2/3 innings. Weaver allowed two singles in addition to Beltre's pair of homers.

Meanwhile Rangers pitcher Derek Holland struggled at Seattle, a team that has had trouble vs. left-handers, on Thursday after three solid starts. Had he remained in the rotation, Holland's scheduled day would have been Wednesday against at Houston, but the Astros are a right-handed heavy team. In addition, it would have meant pushing Yu Darvish back two days from his regular turn because of the team's upcoming off day Thursday.

The Rangers are currently scheduled to start Martin Perez, A.J. Griffin and Darvish at Houston. It is likely Cole Hamels will start Friday's homestand against Oakland. Hamels pitched on Saturday and will have five days of rest at that point. It also keeps Holland from starting on the road, where he has not been very effective this season. Holland is 2-6 with a 5.92 ERA on the road, 5-1 with a 3.32 ERA at home.

TCU loses in Double OT to the Arkansas Razorbacks 41 to 38

By Cedric Bailey

 

Fort Worth- For all of three quarters and five minutes of the final one, it looked like it was going to be a Hog Wild night in the Lone Star State. Then the purple nightmare erupted and TCU scored three unanswered touchdowns to take a 28-20 lead. Only for Arkansas' Austin Allen to lead the Razorbacks on a 58-yard touchdown drive that saw him catch a two-point conversion pass from Keon Hatcher after Drew Morgan pitched to him. It still took the Hogs blocking a 28-yard field goal, but they did and ended up in overtime. Arkansas scored first, TCU tied it. Arkansas opted to go on defense and forced the Frogs to settle for a field goal in the second overtime.

Then, Allen kept on third and goal from the 5, was almost stopped at the 1 but every Razorback on the field seemed to converge and at just after 10 p.m. Saturday the Hogs had overcome a horrible fourth quarter to beat No. 15 TCU 41-38 in double overtime. After winning the scoreboard for three quarters, and a good portion of the final quarter, it looked like the Hogs had left Fort Worth too early. A 22-yard field goal attempt that would have given Arkansas a 23-7 lead started with a bad snap and ended when the ball hit the goal posts, and Amon G. Carter Stadium erupted like TCU had won the bonus round on Wheel of Fortune.

TCU quarterback Kenny Hill passed 57 yards to the Arkansas 5 and the 20-7 score was looking anything but big enough. When Hill trotted into the end zone to end an 80-yard drive that took 1:48, the Frogs Nation was sure it had seen this result before.It was wrong. TCU's high-scoring offense finally ran out of gas in the second overtime, and all that speed was tripped and stripped by the bulk of the Razorbacks. Arkansas' offense had been good but not great, but its defense had a fumble recovery and Brooks Ellis yanked an interception and returned it for a touchdown to help build that 20-7 lead. There was still 4:27 to play in the third quarter when the offense completed a 63-yard drive to go ahead by 13, and there was no way anyone could have predicted one team would be so dominant in the final quarter of a game that had been so competitive until then. Allen was 3-3 for 62 yards in the drive and the Hogs seemed to gain all the emotion when true freshman defensive lineman McTelvin Agim body slammed Hill for an 8-yard loss on TCU's ensuing possession. Getting the Frogs off the field on third down had been a problem all night, but that one looked to come at the right time.

TCU got hit with its sixth penalty on the punt, and the Hogs started at the Frogs 49. And Arkansas was looking better than ever when Rawleigh Williams got a 22-yard run on third and 5 to give the Razorbacks first and goal from the 2. Only a bad snap and missed field goal took all the momentum, at least for most of the fourth quarter, and swung it until it was purple and white and ready to fight. TCU pulled to within 20-14 after the missed field goal, and the Hogs went three and out when Allen got hit on third down and the pass was incomplete.

The Frogs got a 34-yard punt return to midfield. From there, it took the Frogs 32 seconds to run two plays -- the key one being a 43-yard pass completion from Hill -- and take a 21-20 lead.Then it was 28-20 and the game seemed over. Instead, it was overtime and the Arkansas Razorbacks found a way to win.

Texas Longhorns Upset 10th Ranked the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Jay Janner

 

Austin: Former Arlington Lamar Vikings QB Shane Buechele made history as the starter for Coach Charlie Strong’s U.T. Longhorns. The opponent was the Irish of Notre Dame to open the Longhorns 2016 college football season on this past Sunday evening from the capital city. The lingering bottom line from Notre Dame’s 50-47 double-overtime loss in front of the largest crowd ever to see a game in Darrell K. Royal Stadium (102,315).

 

Texas in regulation, with 467 yards, nearly tripled its offensive output from last September’s 38-3 Irish domination in South Bend. And the Longhorns did it with a combination of a power running game and deep passes over the top of the Irish secondary. The Irish did juggle defensive personnel in the second half for one sustained stretch of resistance. The insertion of freshmen Julian Love and Devin Studstill, at cornerback and safety, respectively, were the key changes. And paired with cornerback Shaun Crawford’s special teams spectacle — a returned blocked extra point for a defensive two-point conversion — were enough to back Kizer’s brilliance and get the game to overtime tied at 37-37.

 

But in OT periods, the lesser piece of Texas’ QB duo, at least in terms of playing time and panache, senior Tyrone Swoopes powered through the Irish defense for a pair of TD runs. On his six-yarder, the game-winning haymaker after the Irish settled for a 39-yard Justin Yoon field goal, Swoopes was barely touched on his way to handing ND its first loss in Austin in five matchups and only the third Texas victory in any venue in the 12 games of the series.

While Swoopes finished and misfired on his only pass attempt, freshman Shane Buechele got the start for the Longhorns (1-0) and looked like a veteran early against the reeling Irish defense. He completed 15 of 25 passes for 260 yards with two TDs and one interception, by Crawford, for the game’s only turnover. The true freshman quarterback from Arlington Lamar, who is mature beyond his years and cool behind his ears, won over a legion of fans as well as his own tight-knit family with a spectacular performance that should go down as one of the greatest by a rookie leader in school history. Coach Charlie Strong found two quarterbacks because as brilliant a performance as the poised Buechele had, throwing for 280 yards and two perfect strikes for touchdowns, his backup might have been even better.

 

Tyrone Swoopes, the consummate, unselfish senior who has been such a lightning rod for criticism the last two years he must think he’s running for president, was masterful in his role of downhill runner in his all-but-unstoppable, short-yardage package. Swoopes bulled his way for 53 yards and three touchdowns, none bigger than his 6-yard burst into the end zone in the second overtime to set off a wild celebration as he was mobbed in the north end zone. Buechele got the start, and Swoopes applied the finishing touches. The Longhorns will now prepare for its next game at home on this Saturday in Austin vs. the UTEP Miners at 6pm on the Longhorn Network.

 

Rangers Win Series vs Mariners and Astros to Remain in 1st place in the A.L West

By Cedric Bailey

 

Seattle: The Texas Rangers wrapped it’s home series on a positive note with some key win. In the past baseball season would end and the metroplex fans would start talking football. However the Texas Rangers are holding on to the best record in the American League. Meanwhile the club is on the road in the Pacific Northwest to face the Seattle Mariners.

 

On Monday Labor Day it was pitcher Felix Hernandez's on the mound for the Mariners, as his club’s hitters bailed out their ace by knocking Rangers southpaw Cole Hamels out early en route to a 14-6 series-opening victory at Safeco Field. Hamels lasted just 1 2/3 innings while giving up seven runs on seven hits and three walks as the American League West-leading Rangers opened a 10-game road trip with just their third loss in the past 12 games. Robinson Cano's two-run blast highlighted a five-run first and Franklin Gutierrez added a solo shot in the second off Hamels, who fell to 14-5 with a 3.25 ERA.

 

Hernandez (10-5, 3.75 ERA) let the Rangers back in it with a five-run third inning that included a three-run homer by rookie right fielder Nomar Mazara. But Hernandez held on to go 5 2/3 frames with six hits and six runs, and he now has won 10 games or more in eight straight seasons.

The Mariners put the game away with six more runs in the sixth as they won for just the third time in their past 13 games. Seattle remains five games back in the AL Wild Card race at 70-67, while the Rangers (82-56) still own a nine-game lead on the Astros in the division chase, with the Astros playing at Cleveland later on Monday night. Adrian Beltre scored on a single by Jonathan Lucroy in the third. It's the 11th straight game Beltre has scored a run, tying the club record held by Ian Kinsler and Michael Young.

 

Texas will now travel to Los Angeles for a three game series with the Angels and then to Houston for a three games series with the Astros. They will return to Globe Life Park in Arlington on September 16 for six game vs the A’s and the Angels.

Prairie View A&M opens the Season with a Victory over Texas Southern in the Labor Day Classic

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Michael Ciaglo

 

Prairie View: It was Sunday night’s in Waller County as ESPN was on campus to showcase the the school's new $61 million, 15,000-seat, on-campus stadium, which was the site of the Labor Day Classic. It was the Panthers looking like champions, after a shaky start. Prairie View erased an 11-point halftime deficit to rally past Texas Southern 29-25, spoiling Michael Haywood's initial game as the Texas Southern Tigers' head football coach.

 

A 39-yard scoring pass from Trey Green to KhaDarel Hodge with 7:07 remaining in the game put the Panthers up for good and Owen Hoolihan's extra point ended the scoring before a crowd of 14,982. The Panthers' late heroics gave coach Willie Simmons his second win in as many games in the Labor Day Classic.

 

Averion Hurts' 1-yard sneak had put the Tigers ahead with 8:55 remaining in the game. Hurts' two-point conversion pass to Mario Smalls put the Tigers up 25-22. Hurts replaced injured quarterback Jay Christophe late in the second quarter, and remained in the game. Prairie View won this game with defense. Three straight TSU drives resulted in two turnovers and a safety. A fumble recovery by the Panthers' Jalan Coleman in the third quarter turned the game in the Panthers' favor. Green completed 16 of 32 passes for 203 yards, but the Tigers out-gained the Panthers 327-306 in yards.

 

It was a typical TSU-PV football game. Both teams played with emotion and brought defensive pressure in a game played occasionally in rain. The Panthers outscored the Tigers 23-8 in the second half. Prairie View got back in the game at 17-13 on a 9-yard scoring pass from Green to Hodge with 13:13 left in the third quarter following Coleman's fumble recovery. And on TSU's next possession, Hurts was tackled in the end zone for a safety. TSU, which is coming off a 3-7 season, doesn't look like a team in a rebuilding year, building a 17-6 halftime lead. In the first half, TSU out-gained the Panthers 229-170 in yards.

 

TSU went ahead 14-6 with 3:20 left before the half on Tylor Cook's 5-yard run and Eric Medina's extra point. TSU went ahead 17-6 on Medina's 37-yard field goal with 22 seconds remaining in the first half. Cook rushed for a game-high 67 yards. Defensively, TSU linebacker Eric Alcee intercepted Green late in the second quarter and the Tigers' Demetrius Johnson picked off Green in the third quarter.

 

The Panthers, coming off an 8-2 season, were the preseason pick to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference West Division. Prairie View has won 10 of the last 13 Labor Day Classics, including 38-11 last year. The Panthers will now travel to College Station to face Texas A&M Aggies on this Saturday at 11am. You can catch PV at the State Fair Classic on October 1 vs Grambling in the State Fair Classic at 4pm and for Homecoming on October 8 vs Alabama State.

 Dallas Wings Fall to the Chicago Sky 92 to 85

By Cedric Bailey

 

Elena Delle Donne had 18 points and eight rebounds to help the Chicago Sky beat the Dallas Wings 92-85 on Sunday. Courtney Vandersloot added 15 points and nine assists, Cappie Pondexter scored 14 and Erika de Souza had 12 for Chicago, which is sixth in the AP power poll. The Sky (13-13) had an 18-1 run spanning the first and second quarters to make it 40-16 on de Souza's basket with 6:09 left in the first half.

 

The 10th-ranked Wings (9-18) cut the deficit to 60-54 in the third quarter but Chicago answered with a 12-3 run. From there, the Wings trailed by double-digits until a late 13-2 run brought them within 90-85 with 15 seconds left. Odyssey Sims scored 22 points and Skylar Diggins added 16 to lead Dallas, which dropped its eighth in a row.

 

In other WNBA news the Wings team has signed guard Tiffany Bias for the remainder of the season. Bias joined the Wings on July 18 on a seven-day contract. With three games as a Dallas Wing, Bias is averaging 5.3 points per game with 9.8 minutes played. Against Atlanta on July 22, she scored a career high of 10 points, going 3-for-4 from the field. Bias began her WNBA career with the Phoenix Mercury as the 17th overall pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft. While with the Mercury she played in 32 regular season games and appeared in 6 WNBA playoff games, winning a WNBA Championship with the team in 2014.

 

Dallas will now travel to Seattle to face the Seattle Storm on Wednesday and return home to Arlington on this Friday to face the Los Angeles Sparks and on Sunday vs. the Washington Mystics. 

Simone Manuel makes history from Rio in Swimming and Team USA Basketball Wins

 

By Cedric Bailey

 

RIO DE JANEIRO – Simone Manuel will return to Sugar Land, Texas with four Olympic medals, taking silver in the 400-meter freestyle relay on Night 1 at the Olympic Aquatic Center and silver in the 50-meter freestyle and gold in the 400-meter medley relay Saturday night. But it's the fourth – gold in the 100-meter freestyle - that will resonate inside and outside USA Swimming as long as people care about pioneers, pacesetters and the pursuit of excellence.

Manuel, 20, a junior at Stanford University, in the 100 free became the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic medal, and that will be the takeaway from this week for most. While acutely aware of the manner in which she has become a role model, Manuel also is a competitor, and that can't be overlooked.

The week opened with a silver medal in the leadoff swimmer in the 400 free relay, but her ambitions crystallized when she saw Lilly King, Katie Meili and Kathleen Baker win medals last Tuesday. "I said, 'I want one of those,'" Manuel said. She couldn't have picked a tougher race than the 100-meter freestyle, where Australian Cate Campbell's best time was a second faster than the field. But she prevailed, sharing the gold with Canada's Penny Oleksiak. "Not a single person picked Simone Manuel to beat Cate Campbell," said NBC analyst Rowdy Gaines. "Her winning the gold medal was the shock of the Olympic Games." It also proved, Manuel said, that she belonged at the Olympics.

"Getting the gold medal boosted my confidence, and I had a feeling (Saturday) that I was going to do great in the 50 free, and if I did great in the 50 free, I was going to do great in the relay," she said. She came within .02 seconds of gold in the 50 free, finishing in 24.09 seconds behind Pernille Bloom of Denmark. In the medley relay, she joined Baker, King and veteran Dana Vollmer of Granbury to win the 1,000th gold medal in United States history. But as teammates cheered a great week for Simone the competitor, their appreciation was heightened by their knowledge of Manuel's importance for young African-American swimmers.

Maya DiRado, her former Stanford University teammate, said Manuel "carries a huge burden, but she carries it so well. She has changed the lives of so many little boys and girls." Manuel said she appreciates the "Black Girl Magic" hashtag that recognizes young women of color. But she also hopes to move on to a place where talent is an equal topic of discussion. In closing let’s talk basketball, Close games for the USA against some of the best national teams in the world might just be the norm for the remainder of the men’s Olympic basketball competition.

Unable to put away France after taking a 12-point lead into the fourth quarter, the U.S. clung to a four-point lead midway through the fourth quarter and hung on for a 100-97 victory, securing the top seed in Group A with a 5-0 record. “Obviously, everybody wants us to win by a lot of points, but it’s not how it’s going to go this time,” U.S. forward Kevin Durant said. “We’ve got to be prepared for a grind-out game. We’ve showed the last three games we can grind it out.” The next game is on Wednesday and the semifinal on Friday with the Championship on Sunday afternoon.

Rangers Fall to the Detroit Tigers over the weekend

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Tony Gutierrez

Arlington: The Texas Rangers had a very tough week. It started with slugger Prince Fielder officially announced his retirement on Wednesday, fighting back tears at the end of a 12-year career. Wearing a neck brace after neck surgery, Fielder was very emotional throughout the press conference. "Doctors told me that with two spinal fusions, I can't play major league baseball anymore," Fielder said. "I want to thank my teammates, all the coaching staff. I'm going to really miss being around those guys. I had a lot of fun." Fielder, 32, hit just .212/.292/.334 with eight home runs in 89 games in a season plagued by injuries. The left-handed slugger was a six-time All-Star who averaged 35 home runs from 2006-13 and was one of the most feared hitters in the game. Fielder was also durable, missing only 13 total games during those eight seasons, though he was limited to just 42 games in 2014 and was besieged by injuries this season that led to his career-ending surgery.

Meanwhile it was his former ball club the Detroit Tigers in town for a three game series. It was right-hander Michael Fulmer who is having an impressive rookie season. He tossed the first complete-game shutout of his career to take the rubber match of a three-game series against the Rangers, 7-0, Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park. The Tigers, who have won three of their four series to begin August, remain 1 1/2 games behind the Red Sox for the second American League Wild Spot. The Rangers entered the contest with a 6 1/2-game lead over the Mariners for first place in the AL West. The Rangers' offense remained scoreless since the fifth inning of Friday's game, making it 21 innings since they've scored a run. Starter A.J. Griffin had his longest outing since coming of the 15-day disabled list on June 25, going 6 2/3 innings and striking out eight. But he allowed six runs and 11 hits on the day, with five of the six runs coming via Tigers home runs.

The Rangers were shut out for the second straight game, and they managed just four singles against Fulmer. For the second straight game, they tallied just one at-bat with runners in scoring position. Their last extra-base hit came on a double from Mitch Moreland in Saturday's loss. Adrian Beltre had two of the four singles on Sunday, and he has four of the Rangers' seven hits over the last two games. Left-hander Martin Perez started for the Rangers in the opener of a three-game series against the A's on Monday. Perez is 1-1 with a 4.95 ERA in three starts against the A's this year, and they are hitting .325 against him in those starts. Yu Darvish will pitch on Wednesday game while Cole Hamels will pitch on Friday vs. the Tampa Rays.

The 2016 Olympics’ Report from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

By Cedric Bailey

 

Rio De Janeiro: The 2016 Olympics kick off on this past weekend from the Rio Olympic Arena and on Sunday night, the U.S. women's gymnastics team felt the pressure that comes not from outside expectations but those held within as the light we turned on. And just like that, the young women in the glittery red-and-blue leotards national team coordinator Martha Karolyi has molded into a global force relaxed and completely dominated as the world was watching. Let’s talk about the bars. beam, vault and floor too. Their not-a-typo score of 185.238 was nearly 10 points better than second-place China through four of the five subdivisions, a preposterous gap in a sport where the difference between first and second is measured in fractions.

It was Texas native Simone Biles is new star of the U.S. gymnastics team, and some say she may be the greatest gymnast of her generation...or ever. At 19 years old, she's the only gymnast to win 4 consecutive all-around titles for the U.S. national team since 1974. She's expected to win big during Rio 2016. One no opponent is close to reaching. If the U.S. had swapped out its highest score on each event with its lowest, it would still be up by six points.

Three-time world champion Simone Biles led the way. Her score of 62.366 was well clear of teammate Aly Raisman. So much for the butterflies in her stomach. "I do a very good job at hiding it," Biles said. "The team, we just calm it down." Consider it a luxury of being so far beyond the rest of the planet. All five women earned a spot in either the all-around or event finals, or in the case of Biles and Raisman, both.

Raisman, a three-time Olympic medalist four years ago, grabbed the second spot in the individual all-around for the Americans by edging reigning Olympic champion Gabby Douglas thanks in part to what Raisman called "the best bar routine of my life." Rules limit each country to two gymnasts per event in the all-around and event finals, meaning even though Douglas was third overall, she'll miss out on a chance to defend the crown she won in London. Not that she was moping. When Raisman drilled her dismount on beam, Douglas rose from her chair and gave her a hug.

The top eight teams in qualifying move on to Tuesday's team final, where the U.S. is expected to repeat the gold it won easily in London and give it to Karolyi as a retirement present. Karolyi is stepping away after the games, though she's hardly in a hurry to get there. There are still a few more lessons to teach. China and Russia both struggled at times on Sunday, beset by mistakes they can't afford to make if they want to make the team finals anything more than a coronation. While each have their strengths, the truth is the U.S. has few weaknesses. The margin for error will be thinner in the three-up, three-count final. Yet after the U.S. went 16 for 16 during an occasionally show stopping 90 minutes, they hardly seem overburdened by the stakes.

McKinney, TX - (August 1, 2016) –  Morgan Melloh went the distance tossing a complete game shutout.  She scattered seven hits.  The defense came up big, specifically Kylee Lahners at second base, to do their part to secure the win.  The Charge won 1-0, taking two of three from the Racers.  It was Dallas’ fifth series win and first over the Racers in 2016.

The Charge managed just four hits, two from Lauren Haeger.  Her first inning single scored rookie Taylor Gadbois.  Melloh and the Charge defense would make that run enough to get the win.

Melloh struck out seven and walked five.  She worked out of a jams in the fourth, sixth and seventh inning stranding 11 Racers in all.  The veteran left hander left the bases load in each of the last two frames.

In support of Melloh, the Dallas defense made some excellent plays to help keep Akron off the board.  In the top of the third Kylee Lahners grab a one out ground ball bound for centerfield with a dive.  From her belly she made a back-handed flip to Renada Davis to get the force a second.

In the final inning Lahners turned a no-out double play that certainly saved the game for the Charge.  After the play the Racers loaded the bases with two hits and a walk.  Melloh coaxed a week ground ball to first from McKinney native Ashley Thomas to end the game.

The Charge improved to 15-26 on the season.  The Racers fell just under .500 to 21-22.  The Charge go on their final road trip of the season to face the PA Rebellion for three games.

Team USA Basketball Dominates Team Nigeria from Houston

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Bill Baptist

 

Houston: The sendoff was all Team USA could have wanted, maybe all that could be gleaned from the conclusion of their five-city tuneup tour and the five routs on the way to Rio. Basketball fans from everywhere filled Toyota Center, inspired roars at the obligatory glut of highlights and headed to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics off one last blowout.

 

There was a challenge, however, hidden behind every vicious DeMar DeRozan slam and every flurry of Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson 3s on the way to Monday's 110-66 rout of Nigeria. Getting the win, lopsided as it was, was not really the point. That much was assumed, and not only because in the previous USA Basketball meeting with Nigeria, USA won by 83.

Monday was about more than getting a suitable running start for Rio and one final good workout before Tuesday's flight. "I thought we advanced today," USA coach Mike Kzyzewski said. "I thought we got better tonight."

 

"You don't have many practices. We're trying to get our guys in shape. I think we have gotten in better shape. We have four guys who have been a championship series. It's tough to get over that. I think they are now. Then, just to get to know each other. People say, 'what challenges? You win by 35 or 40 points.' I'd rather answer those questions than, 'Boy, you eked it out by eight.' Hopefully, we can keep that going, but the competition is going to get better. I mean, really good."

 

To those that have been there most, that's the fun part. By the time the tournament begins, Kyrie Irving and Paul George, who sat out on Monday, will both be back. And after the initial rematches from the tuneup routs against Venezuela and China, tougher games should quickly follow. "I feel really excited about the journey we're about to take on," said Carmelo Anthony, who will become the first USA men's basketball player in four Olympics. "For me, the excitement is still there, knowing we have an opportunity to do something special with a new group of guys, new faces. There seemed little room left for improvement once things got cranked up midway through the first quarter. But the first stunning moment of the night came from Nigeria's Ben Uzoh, the former San Antonio Warren player who beat DeAndre Jordan to the rim on a slam that cut the USA lead to one. From then on, Team USA rolled.

 

Minutes into the second quarter, DeRozan finished a baseline drive with a violent punch of a slam. Klay Thompson scored 17 points off the bench. Durant made 5 of 7 shots and said of his off shooting games on the tour, "My shot is never lost." Anthony led Team USA with 19 points, announcing to the Nigeria bench after a three-point play, "Can't stop me!" The final exclamation point came when Kyle Lowry led a break and flipped an underhand lob in the airspace high above the rim for his Raptors teammate to flush with one last flourish on the way out of town. "The fans come out here to see all these great players come together for a great cause," DeRozan said. "Most definitely, we just try to go out there, entertain the fans and have fun." Team USA will be in action vs Team China on this Saturday at 5pm in Group A from Rio de Janeiro.

 

Odyssey Sims of the Dallas Wings makes the USA Olympic Team

By Cedric Bailey

 

Odyssey Sims is a native of Irving, Texas that graduated from MacArthur High School. On this past Monday evening she and Aerial Powers of the WNBA Dallas Wings were selected to the 11-member USA Basketball women’s select team. The team will play against the U.S. Olympic women’s team on July 25 in Los Angeles before the Olympic team begins a three-city tournament against France, Canada and Australia.

 

Sims played on the team representing the USA at the 2011 Summer Universiade held in Shenzhen, China. The team, coached by Bill Fennelly, won all six games to earn the gold medal. Sims averaged 6.2 points per game. This is not her first time wearing the red, white and blue Sims was selected to be a member of the team representing the USA at the 2013 Summer Universiade held in Kazan, Russia. The team, coached by Sherri Coale, won the opening four games easily, scoring in triple digits in each game, and winning by 30 or more points in each case. After winning the quarterfinal game against Sweden, they faced Australia in the semifinal. The USA team opened up as much as a 17 point in the fourth quarter of the game but the Australian team fought back and took a one-point lead in the final minute. Crystal Bradford scored a basket with 134 seconds left ant he game to secure a 79–78 victory. The gold medal opponent was Russia, but the USA team never trailed, and won 90–71 to win the gold medal and the World University games Championship. Sims was the third leading scorer for the team, averaging 12.7 points per game. She led the team in assists with 32, and steals with 12. She was named co-MVP of the tournament, along with Russia's Tatiana Grigoryeva

 

Also on the select team are Kelsey Bone (Phoenix Mercury), Kahleah Copper (Washington Mystics), Stefanie Dolson (Washington Mystics), Natasha Howard (Minnesota Lynx), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Tiffany Mitchell (Indiana Fever), Sugar Rodgers (New York Liberty), Kiah Stokes (New York Liberty) and Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta Dream).

The team will train alongside the U.S. women’s national team as it prepares for the Olympics in Rio. Meanwhile the Wings will return back to action on this Sunday July 17 at 3:30pm vs. the Minnesota Lynx at College Park in Arlington.

 

Dallas Mavericks Sign Seth Curry, Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Chuck Flores

 

Dallas: The Dallas Mavericks finally made some key moves for the upcoming season. Gone are Chandler Parsons who signed with the Memphis Grizzlies. Now on Monday the Dallas Mavericks sent center Zaza Pachulia totally increased his chances of collecting an NBA championship ring by agreeing to a one-year, $2.9 million free agent contract with the Golden State Warriors. Because of Kevin Durant, the Dallas Mavericks were able to happily celebrate the Fourth of July. After days of haggling over which team he would sign with during free agency, Durant stunned many in the NBA world Monday when he agreed to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and sign with the Golden State.

 

Seth Curry has agreed Monday to sign a two-year, $6 million free agent contract with the Mavs. Yahoo! Sports was the first to report the agreement. Curry is the younger brother of Golden State Warriors’ superstar guard Stephen Curry, who won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player the past two seasons. A 6-2, 185-pound shooting guard, Curry has bounced around with four different NBA teams and two D-League squads since entering the NBA undrafted out of Duke in 2013. Curry has played just 48 NBA games and has averages of 6.3 points and 1.4 assists, and also shot 44.8 percent from the field and 45.1 percent from 3-point range.

From the Mavs’ standpoint, at least they’re getting Curry while he’s coming off his most impressive season. In 48 games for the Sacramento Kings this past year, Curry averaged 6.8 points in only 15.7 minutes per game and shot 45.5 percent from the field and 45 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. Curry, who turns 26 on Aug. 23, played one game for Memphis in the 2013-’14 season, one game for Cleveland in the ’13-’14 campaign and two games for Phoenix in the ‘14-’15 season before flourishing with the Kings.Curry opted-out of the final year of a two-year, $4 million contract with the Kings so he could become a restricted free agent. The Kings ultimately made him an unrestricted free agent after their backcourt became crowded when they agreed to sign Garrett Temple to a three-year, $24 million free agent contract.

 

Deron Williams apparently will be back with the Mavericks next season, erasing a potential hole at point guard. Williams came to terms with the team on a new 1-year, $10 million deal Sunday night, according to a source. Contracts can be officially tendered and signed on Thursday.

In addition, the team came to terms with center-forward Dwight Powell, who was a restricted free agent. Had Powell signed with another team, the Mavericks would have been able to match the offer. However, they made sure he never got to that point by agreeing to a four-year deal worth an estimated $37 million. Hopefully on next week we should have some good news about Dirk Nowitki return to the Mavericks.

Dallas Wings Fall to the Connecticut Sun 86 to 83

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Pearson

 

Arlington: The Dallas Wings returned home to take on the Connecticut Sun, falling with a score of 86-83. The Wings were down by five, when all-star guard Skylar Diggins was fouled at the 3-point arc, completing all three shots at the line to bring the Wings within two, 85-83. Connecticut’s Alex Bentley was then sent to the line after a foul was called on Odyssey Sims, to give the Sun the 86-83 win.  Glory Johnson led the night for the Wings scoring 16 points and 12 rebounds. It was the first time this season, Johnson led the team in points and boards. Four other Dallas Wings scored double digits for the night. Aerial Powers scored 15, Odyssey Sims, recorded 13, while Courtney Paris and Karima Christmas both scored 12.

 

Alyssa Thomas gave the Sun (4-13) an 85-80 lead on a baseline drive with 22 seconds left. Skylar Diggins drew a foul on her 3-point attempt less than two seconds later and made all three free throws to pull Dallas (8-10) within two. Bentley then missed one of her two free throws which gave Dallas an opportunity to tie on the final possession. But Diggins missed a pair of 3-point attempts. Thomas added 17 points and Camille Little scored 14 for Connecticut, the No. 11 team in the AP WNBA power poll. The Sun took the lead for good during a 10-0 run capped at 76-69 on Chiney Ogwumike's layup with 5:18 left. Alex Bentley scored 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting and the Connecticut Sun snapped a three-game losing streak, beating the Dallas Wings.

 

The Wings will host the Phoenix Mercury this Tuesday, July 5. Gospel Icon Fred Hammond opened the evening by singing the National Anthem.

Cleveland Cavaliers Win the 2016 NBA Finals with a 93-89 Victory over the Golden State Warriors

 

By Cedric Bailey

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- There were plenty of moments that helped define the Cleveland Cavaliers' Game 7 win against the Golden State Warriors -- the Cavs' first NBA title. One came late in the fourth quarter from LeBron James. His offensive effort got plenty of attention during this series, but his block might've saved the Cavs from a tough loss.

 

The Warriors had a rare fast break opportunity where Stephen Curry dished it off late to Andre Iguodala. His layup would have given Golden State a two-point cushion with under two minutes remaining. But James came soaring from behind and swatted Iguodala's attempt. It was only fitting that such a crushing experience end with an unprecedented comeback in the Finals after trailing, 3-1. The Cavs also won two of the last three games on the court of a Golden State team that won a record 73 of 82 games in the regular season, was 39-2 at home, and had not lost three games in a row since Nov. 20-23, 2013.

 

This one was for the Cavs of this year most of all, for Kyrie Irving, who almost matched James' lead, for all the others who were similarly driven but less extravagantly gifted. But it was for far more, given how long it had been, this one was for Craig Ehlo, who has crumpled in disbelief on film too many times. This time, greatness was airborne in the person of James and wearing Cavs colors.

 

And it was for Gerald Wilkins -- different spelling, different Wilkins from Lenny, little brother of the high-flying Dominique Wilkins -- but also beaten by a Michael Jordan shot. This one was for Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance and Hot Rod Williams. They played beautiful basketball. They never could get past the Bulls. This one was for all the fallen Cavs teams. It was for Lenny. Nobody had to call him by his last name. Lenny Wilkens risked it all by double-teaming Jordan for the first time on the last play of the ferocious first-round series in 1989. Jordan would have beaten five men if that's what it took. It was the most painful chapter in an old story of greatness beating the Cavs.

 

Finally, it was for the fans that came out to the old Arena, because somebody had to. It was for the ones who went to the Coliseum in the cornfields in Richfield and made the backboards shake during the Miracle Year while Fitch was trying to diagram locker room plays on them and who sat in the ear-ringing silence after Jordan hit the Shot and who fell in love all over again last year with James and his scrub sidekicks in the 2015 Finals.

Cavs Win Game 5 in Oakland and return back to Cleveland.

By Cedric Bailey

 

OAKLAND, Calif. – The NBA Finals aren't over yet. It's because of Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. The two went for a ridiculous 41 points each to propel the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 112-97 victory over Golden State on Monday night at Oracle Arena. It narrows The Finals to a 3-2 Warriors lead with Game 6 coming this Thursday from Cleveland. Irving knocked down huge basket after huge basket in an 12-point fourth quarter. It was just a continuation of a brilliant night -- 17-of-24 from the floor, including 5-of-7 from deep. James pulled down 16 boards, distributed seven assists and connected on three triples. His 25 points in the first half calmed the Cavs through the energy provided by Warriors fans determined to see a clinching victory while carrying plenty of #FreeDraymond signs.

 

An Irving three-pointer put the Cavaliers up 13 with 4:41 left to play. Oracle became uncharacteristically mute. Stephen Curry launched a corner three and it clanked off the iron. Brandon Rush tried a three-pointer and it bounced off the rim. Harrison Barnes got inside the paint, but couldn't finish over the top of James. The Warriors managed just 31 points in the second half, missing 18 of its 21 3-point shots. Andre Iguodala received the starting nod in Green's place. After all the trash-talking that took place between these two teams in the past 24 hours, this contest needed to resolve the off-court issues. It did, in Cleveland's favor. The Warriors jumped out to an emotionally-filled seven-point lead. Kerr used his depth as he said he would. He inserted an unprecedented 11 guys in the first quarter, but the Cavaliers withstood their opponent's depth. When Golden State hit a difficult three-pointer, Cleveland answered repeatedly. The place couldn't explode. The Warriors couldn't separate. At the half the score was tied at 61. James (without an assist) and Irving had combined for 43 points.

 

Andrew Bogut went down early in the third quarter after he blocked a J.R. Smith shot. Upon coming down from the swat, Smith's momentum carried him into Bogut's left knee, which hyperextended. The center had to be helped up and carried to the locker room. He was diagnosed with a left knee sprain. That removed the Warriors' only true shot-blocker and the Cavaliers took advantage. The middle was open for the taking and James and Irving attacked, dominating the entire second half. To disrupt their rhythm, the Warriors implemented the Hack-a-Tristan Thompson late in the third quarter. The rebounding machine went 3-of-6 at the line while being intentionally fouled. Klay Thompson registered 37 points and Curry had 25 points and seven rebounds. They were a combined 11-of-25 from downtown. Game 6 will be Thursday at The Q. There's still a chance for the Cavs to win at home and force a game 7.

 

TCU Horned Frogs advance to the College World Series 

By Cedric Bailey

 

College Station. The TCU Horned Frogs won the Big 12 Conference and hosted the Regional match up at home on last weekend. This past weekend the Horned Frogs had to face the Texas A&M Aggies baseball team in their backyard in the Super Regionals.

 

TCU was the best team this weekend — again, ending A&M’s season for the third time in five years, but this was by far the most impressive accomplishment.  Game 1 of a Super Regional series at Texas A&M on Friday night. TCU won 8-2, then Texas A&M countered with a 7-1 victory Saturday night to force a deciding Game 3 on Sunday night. It is the second consecutive Game 3 between the two teams and the third straight for TCU.

 

A&M had waited a whole year for this, doing so much to put itself in position to get to the CWS, and having the Horned Frogs in its bracket just seemed like a bonus. Instead, TCU played two great games, none better than Sunday night with junior starting pitcher Brian Howard and freshman reliever Durbin Feltman combining on a two-hitter, silencing one of the game’s best offenses. A&M kept waiting for Howard to leave a fastball or two up in the zone after the first inning, but it never happened. He had pinpoint control and a nasty slider to complement it.

 

Great pitching beats great hitting every time, and with each pitch by Howard, it became evident that A&M better keep the score at 1-0 if it intended to win. Maybe that’s what the Aggies thought as well, as TCU tied the game in the fifth on a passed ball, then got three more unearned runs in the seventh. By then, TCU was feeling it. A&M never came close to a rally. Aggie junior Nick Banks seemingly grounded a base hit into center field with two outs in the eighth inning, but TCU shortstop Ryan Merrill somehow flagged down the baseball and first baseman Michael Landestoy scooped it out of the dirt as Banks tossed his helmet down in disgust. A&M’s Ryne Birk thought he had a base hit with one out in the ninth, but TCU second baseman Cam Warner laid out to stop it with his throw nipping Birk at first.

 

The ball certainly bounced TCU’s way for much of the night — just as it did last year — but good teams make their breaks. The Horned Frogs got a masterful outing from 6-foot-9 starter Brian Howard (9-2). He allowed two hits, and one of those was to the Aggies' first hitter, J.B. Moss. With the victory, TCU improves to 47-16 overall. The Horned Frogs will square off against Texas Tech in its first game of the College World Series.

Texas Rangers continue to dominate the A.L West Division

By Cedric Bailey

 

Seattle:  The Texas Rangers are playing some great baseball during the month of June. Last week the Rangers dominated the series vs the Houston Astros. Then over the weekend the team traveled to Seattle to win the series over the Mariners. Second baseman Robinson Cano was thrown out at second base on what looked, upon contact, to be a for-sure double. That will be the talking point from the Mariners’ 6-4 loss to the first-place Texas Rangers, a loss that dropped Seattle five games back in the American League West.

 

Down three with two outs, Cano hit an RBI line drive into the right-field corner, cutting the deficit to two. But Cano was thrown out at second, and if it looked like he hesitated after rounding first. The Mariners continued their struggles against the Rangers, the team they’re chasing in the standings. Since winning two of three games against Texas to start the season, the Mariners (34-29) have lost seven of their past nine against the Rangers (39-24). Mariner’s starter Wade Miley struggled to locate his fastball. He walked three and had two wild pitches in five innings, but was largely able to escape trouble until the fourth inning. He had two outs in the fourth but allowed a double and then a two-run home run that gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead.

 

Rangers Pitcher Cole Hamels (6-1) became the 77th pitcher in MLB history to record 2,000 strikeouts when he got former Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin swinging in the third. Hamels recorded five strikeouts against two walks and a hit batsman. He faced one batter of the minimum over the first three innings, and the game was scoreless until the fourth. Ryan Rua, though, reached on a one-out single off Wade Miley, went to second on a balk and moved to third on a groundout by Prince Fielder.

 

Elvis Andrus followed with a double past third base for the game’s first run, and Moreland followed with his ninth homer of the season on a 1-2 pitch he was able to drive out to left-center field. The Mariners got one back in the fifth as Martin went deep off Hamels, who has surrendered a home run in seven consecutive starts. But the Rangers struck for three in the sixth, the first on an Andrus RBI single and two more on a two-out single by Ian Desmond. Hamels got the Rangers through the seventh with a 6-1 lead before the Mariners came alive against Tony Barnette and Jake Diekman in the eighth.

 

Barnette allowed three consecutive one-out singles after Moreland opened the inning with a diving stop to rob Ketel Marte of a leadoff double. The Rangers have the league’s best record at 39-24 and lead the AL West by five games after their seventh consecutive series win. They will continue to stay on the road and face the Oakland A’s and then close out against the Los Angeles Angels.

Muhammad Ali, “the Greatest” Boxer in Human History is Called Home to Glory

 

By Cedric Bailey

 

Muhammad Ali will truly be missed from the sports world. Ali was widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sporting figures of the 20th century. From early in his career, Ali was known as an inspiring, controversial and polarizing figure both inside and outside the ring. He was born as Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky, and began training when he was 12 years old. At 22, he won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in an upset in 1964. Shortly after that, Clay converted to Islam, changed his "slave" name to Ali, and gave a message of racial pride for African Americans and resistance to white domination during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

 

In 1966, two years after winning the heavyweight title, Ali further antagonized the white establishment by refusing to be conscripted into the U.S. military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War. He was eventually arrested, found guilty of draft evasion charges and stripped of his boxing titles. He successfully appealed in the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned his conviction in 1971. By that time, he had not fought for nearly four years—losing a period of peak performance as an athlete. Ali's actions as a conscientious objector to the war made him an icon for the larger counterculture generation. Ali remains the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion; he won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978. Between February 25, 1964, and September 19, 1964, Ali reigned as the heavyweight boxing champion. Nicknamed "The Greatest", he was involved in several historic boxing matches.[16] Notable among these were the "Fight of the Century", "Super Fight II" and the "Thrilla in Manila" versus his rival Joe Frazier, the first Liston fight, and "The Rumble in the Jungle" versus George Foreman. Ali retired from boxing in 1981.

As of Monday we learned that services will be held on this friday. Ali’s home going celebration is expected to be watched globally, family officials announced that a total of 33,500 tickets would be available for a Friday memorial at the KFC Yum! Center and an Islamic prayer service Thursday at Freedom Hall.

 

In addition, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will join the speakers at the 2 p.m. memorial Friday, already set to include former President Bill Clinton, actor Billy Crystal and broadcaster Bryant Gumbel, wife Lonnie Ali and several others. Bob Gunnell, a spokesman for the Ali family, said the 30-minute Islamic funeral prayer will be held Thursday at Freedom Hall starting at noon (with doors opening at 9 a.m.) and should accommodate about 18,000 people.  The said the decision to have the Jenazah prayer service at Freedom Hall commemorates Ali's last fight in Louisville, in which he defeated Willi Besmanoff in 1961.

 

The Yum Center interfaith service Friday at 2 p.m. will include clerics from several religions, including The Rev. Kevin Cosby of Louisville, Rabbis Michael Lerner and Joe Rapport of Louisville, a representative of the Buddhist religion and U.S.Senator Orrin Hatch representing Mormons. There will be a poetry reading by Ambassador Attalah Shabazz, the eldest daughter of Malcolm X. For those unable to attend, it will be streamed live from www.alicenter.org. The event will be open to the public with limited seating. Information and details on tickets will be released as they become available. Afterward, a private reception will be held at the Ali Center for friends and guests. The family has asked that, instead of cards or flowers, donations be made to the Ali Center.

 

Texas Rangers Shutdown the Seattle Mariners and the Cleveland Indians

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Tony Dejak

 

Arlington: A few weeks ago we shared with you the information about the suspension of Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor. Well the league (MLB) suspended Odor for seven games. The Rangers called up Jurickson Profar from Round Rock as his replacement. For those of you that didn’t know Profar has been battling injuries that kept him from being the original second baseman after the Ian Kinsler trade to Detroit. That is the trade that landed us Prince Fielder on the Ranger’s roster in the first place. Now Fielder has been benched and Profar is now batting in the lead of position and Odor is back at his normal spot of second base and the Rangers are the 3rd best team in MLB.

Now that I have got that off my chest let’s talk about Sunday’s matchup against the Seattle Mariners. The Rangers  has won 3 straight and now has a 3.0 game advantage over the Mariners in the A.L. West, the club’s largest division lead this season…have won season-high 5 straight in Arlington, longest home win. The team had a great pitching performance by Derek Holland who completed a season-best 7.0 innings, logging his 4th straight quality starter who has won both starts vs. Seattle this season, allowing 2 ER over 13.2 innings of work…both runs allowed came on a 2-run HR by Nelson Cruz in the 4th…set down 10 of 12 batters faced after the Cruz home run…recorded a season-high 6 strikeouts.

Jurickson Profar has hit safely in all 9 games this season, longest hit streak of his career…has multiple hits in 5 straight, matching Rougned Odor (5/6-10) for the longest streak of multi-hit games by a Ranger this season…has hit safely in each of his 1st 15 career starts in the leadoff spot, longest career-opening streak in the majors since COL’s Carlos Gonzalez (15, 6/11-9/11/09)…drove in the go-ahead run with a 2-out single in the 5th.

Finally, the Rangers have used pitcher Sam Dyson to set down Cano-Cruz-Lee in the 9th inning and has now converted all 5 save chances since he was named closer on is 7-for-8 in save tries overall…has retired 25 of 30 BF over 9.0 scoreless innings in his career vs. Seattle…picked up 1st career save vs. the M’s. Texas is at home with three games vs the Houston Astros. The Rangers will head out west to face the Mariners and the Oakland A’s.

Golden State Warriors Stun the Cleveland Cavaliers with 2 Blowout Wins

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Gus Chan

 

The Cavaliers had another crack at the Golden State Warriors. Once again they cracked under the pressure. In Game 2 of the NBA Finals, the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers for a seventh straight time by way of a 110-77 rout Sunday evening. The 33-point loss is the Cavaliers' worst of the season -- beating the 32-point demolition by the Warriors in January..

Midway in the second quarter, Kevin Love was hit in the back of the head by a Harrison Barnes elbow as the two went for a rebound. Love stayed down for several moments as play continued -- the Warriors eventually getting a basket from Draymond Green as he leaped over Love's prone frame. After rising, Love continued to play, but eventually walked off the court early in the third quarter after experiencing dizziness. He has been placed under the league's concussion protocol.

 

LeBron James, who had a subpar game of 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting, went scoreless in the first quarter. His first basket came with 10:38 remaining in the second. He did grab eight rebounds and dish out nine assists, but he could not impose his will on the game. Andre Iguodala has played a large part in containing James. The versatile small forward has always played the four-time MVP tough. Kyrie Irving -- who missed 15 of his 22 attempts from the floor in Game 1 -- struggled again Sunday. He only registered 10 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Golden State is known for its offense, but it was the other side of the ball where they did the most damage. Cleveland was held to 35 percent from the field.

 

On an offensive possession in the second quarter, Draymond Green was guarding James. Then a screen came and Iguodala switched onto him. One more pick was called and Klay Thompson ended up on James. Cleveland could not score on the possession. Golden State has tremendous perimeter defensive depth and it's causing a plethora of problems. The Cavaliers did have a 28-22 lead early in the second quarter, only to again be buried under Warriors points. Golden State went on a 12-0 run, led by the Cavaliers' lackluster defensive awareness. Once again the Cavs emphasized double teams against Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and were burned. Defenders were caught in no man's land on rotations and the Warriors found their man.

 

Green was left open repeatedly and connected on two threes, a layup and a free throw in that second-quarter surge. Lue was burning timeouts like crazy to regroup, but it didn't work. Curry got in on the action with seven of his 18 points coming in the quarter. Golden State led by 15, but Curry's third foul force him from the court and the Cavs closed the half on a 7-0 run to enter halftime down eight. Three minutes into the third quarter, Curry sat again after picking up his fourth personal foul. The Cavaliers were down nine. It was the perfect time to capitalize. At least it should have been.

Love was gone and the Cavaliers' offense disappeared with him. Defensive stops by the Warriors turned into transition baskets. Thompson found his stroke; draining two treys and Green went for 10 points in the quarter. Cleveland completely unraveled. James was called for a travel twice in the third and turned it over a game-high seven times. Heads were down, body language was poor and barking at each other was rampant. No Cavaliers starter played in the final quarter. The Warriors poured it on. The lead went from 20 to as much as 34.

 

Green tallied a game-high 28 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists. Curry and Thompson (17 points) bounced back from their abysmal Game 1 showings. They both were 4-of-8 from downtown. Game 3 relocates to Cleveland on Wednesday. It will be a 9 p.m. tip on ABC. The season for the Cavaliers now rests on one game to stay in the Finals.

Dallas Wings Fall to Chicago Sky 92-87 at College Park

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Brad Loper

 

Arlington: Former Rutgers player Cappie Pondexter scored 18 points to lead six players in double figures as the Sky beat the Wings to end a four-game skid. Elena Delle Donne added 14 for Chicago, while Jamierra Faulkner and Allie Quigley had 13 points apiece. Imani Boyette and Tamera Young added 10 points each. Faulkner had nine assists, giving her 30 in the last three games.

 

The Sky used a 26-4 run to take a 37-20 lead with 7:47 left in the second quarter and led the rest of the way. The Sky, who shot a season-high 58.6 percent, made 24 of 37 (64.9 percent) first-half field-goal attempts en route to a 56-47 lead at the break. In the second, the Sky used 9-0 run to quickly extend its lead to 37-20. Eight players scored in the quarter including Courtney Vandersloot, who returned to the court after missing the last three games with an ankle injury.  The Sky led by as many as 18 points in the second quarter but 17 first-half points by Odyssey Sims kept the Wings within striking distance.

 

Meanwhile The short-handed Dallas Wings played the game with just nine players in the rotation. Forward Glory Johnson will return in two games after she finishes serving her seven-game suspension. Be sure to look for All-Star point guard Skylar Diggins to return in the starting lineup soon. According to Wings Coach Fred Williams provided an update on Diggins' status and said her return could be just around the corner.

"I would say she's maybe one or two games away now," Williams revealed. "With her it's just getting used to a lot of contact. That's going to have to happen in games."

 

Diggins, who tore her ACL nine games into last season and needed surgery to repair the ligament, played in just one game this season -- Dallas' home-opening win against San Antonio. But Diggins attempted just two shots in the game and did not show her usual spark attacking the basket. Since that game, she's been labelled as day-to-day but has practiced with the team and warmed up with her teammates before each contest.

The Wings will travel to Minnesota on Saturday to face the Lynx and will be in Arlington June 8th to play the Washington Mystics and the LA Sparks on next weekend.

Rangers Back on Track with Back to Back Series Wins

By Cedric Bailey, photo by Jim Cow

 

Arlington: The Texas Rangers are finding ways to win games at home. Last week it was the Angels and Pirates at Globe Life Park. The Rangers lost the opener against Los Angeles however they won the series. Then it was the Pittsburgh Pirates in town for a weekend series. For those of you that didn’t know it the was the Pirates that gave Rangers manager Jeff Bannister his start in Major League Baseball.  The Pirates handled the Rangers Cole Hamels a lost on Friday night, but they struggled with Darvish on Saturday.

 

Yu Darvish made his season debut after a lengthy absence following Tommy John surgery last spring. Darvish looked much like the pitcher he had been before his elbow injury, when he was a three-time All-Star and finished second in AL Cy Young voting in 2013. Darvish allowed just three hits, a run and a walk over five innings. He struck out seven and hit 98 mph.

 

Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen's strikeout issues continued when he whiffed on a slider in the first inning, becoming Darvish's first strikeout victim of the season. Against Matt Joyce in the second, Darvish hit the outside corner with a 95 mph fastball for strike two and then perfectly located a 96 mph fastball on the inside corner for strike three. John Jaso had the most experience against Darvish and had the only hit in the first four innings vs. the right-hander. Cole Figueroa, who made his first start of the season, drove in Francisco Cervelli with a single in the fifth — the Pirates' only run off Darvish.

 

The last time Banister saw Darvish work in a major league game was Sept. 9, 2013, when Banister was the Pirates' bench coach. Banister saw then-rookie Gerrit Cole outduel Darvish to lead the Pirates to win No. 82 and secure their first winning season since 1992. After each of Darvish's seven strikeouts, chants of “Yuuuuuuu” cascaded down the three decks of the ballpark. The chant returned when Darvish walked off the mound following the fifth, his final inning.

Pirates starting pitcher Juan Nicasio pitched as if he's in danger of moving to the bullpen whenever top pitching prospects Jameson Taillon and/or Tyler Glasnow arrive in the majors. Nicasio failed to pitch through the fifth inning. He allowed four runs, including two homers. He struggled in the first, a three-run Rangers' inning capped by an Adrian Beltre two-run shot which gave Beltre RBIs No. 1,500 and 1,501 in his career. The Rangers are now on the road for a 3 game series vs the Cleveland Indians. They will face the Seattle Mariners for three games in Arlington.

Dallas Wings Win Home Opener Against the San Antonio Stars 82 to 77

By Cedric Bailey

 

Arlington: The Dallas Wings opened its home opener with class. Let’s just say that fans from North Texas, filled College Park to welcome the hometown team with class and more. In front of a sellout crowd of 7,275, Dallas nearly blew a 17-point lead but held off the Stars 82-77. Irving MacArthur graduate Odyssey Sims scored a team-high 23 points, going 11 of 12 from the free-throw line, in her first game back home.

 

Sims had the opportunity to welcome the fans before the game and shared the following comments after the game. “I was very excited to play tonight for the home opener — happy to see my friends and family to come and support me,” Sims said. “I was a little jittery at first, but it wore off as the game went on.” Sims finished with a season-high 23 points, but one of her biggest contributions came on the defensive end. She guarded San Antonio's rookie point guard Moriah Jefferson -- another Dallas native -- and Sims kept Jefferson scoreless until the third quarter and limited her to five points.

 

Two-time All-Star guard Skylar Diggins made her season debut for the Wings off the bench as she works back to full health after surgery for a torn ACL last year. Though she probed the paint as she normally does, Diggins was tentative on offense and attempted only two field goals in her 12 minutes. She finished with a point and a steal.

 

It was another tough outing on offense for San Antonio (0-3). The Wings continued San Antonio's struggles from the field with fluid switches on defense to limit the Stars to 40.3 percent shooting. However the Stars did threaten late in the fourth quarter. A Kayla McBride 3-pointer with 3:02 left cut Dallas' lead, which was once as large as 17, to six points. The Wings turned the ball over twice in the next three possessions, and the Stars capitalized on both giveaways with layups. But Sims responded with a jumper from the top of the key to extend the Dallas lead to four. San Antonio's 3-point attempt to tie with five seconds left bounced off the rim to seal the win for the Wings.

 

San Antonio made a similar threat in the second quarter and cut the Wings' lead to four. But Dallas' first-round pick Aerial Powers scored six quick points to help Dallas to a 42-34 lead at halftime. Powers did a little dance during pregame introductions to the fans' delight and then transferred that performance to the court. She relentlessly attacked the rim, and after establishing that part of her game, began to take and make jumpers. She added 12 points off the bench Dallas (3-1) will host Atlanta at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Chicago at 3:30 p.m. May 29. Be sure to listen to our updates online at www.bgcsports.net

Rangers Sweep Astros and Return Home to Face the Angels of Anaheim

 

By Cedric Bailey

 

Houston: Rangers Pitcher Cole Hamels tied a club record by winning his 12th straight decision as the Rangers completed a three-game sweep of the Astros with a 9-2 victory on Sunday afternoon. Hamels allowed two runs in eight innings to tie the record set by Bobby Witt in 1990. The streak stretches over 19 starts with two no-decisions, and the Rangers are 17-2 in that stretch.

 

"When we play a team in our division, we have to win and want to win," Hamels said. "That's how we separate ourselves in this race. To be able to come in here against this team and do what we've done, it puts us back in that mindset."

 

Hamels' excessive generosity toward the Rangers' offense does have a point. The Rangers seem to be better at delivering runs when Hamels is on the mound. The 12 straight winning decisions have come over a course of 19 games in which the Rangers averaged 6.15 runs per nine innings when Hamels is on the mound.

 

Meanwhile Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor will have his appeal hearing on Tuesday, sources told MLB.com's Jon Morosi. Major League Baseball is expected to render a decision on Odor's appeal of his eight-game suspension as soon as that day, according to Morosi. MLB executive vice president John McHale Jr. will hear the appeal.

 

Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor will have his appeal hearing on Tuesday, sources told MLB.com's Jon Morosi. Major League Baseball is expected to render a decision on Odor's appeal of his eight-game suspension as soon as that day, according to Morosi. MLB executive vice president John McHale Jr. will hear the appeal.

Rangers Win and Climb back into 1st place in the A.L. West with the Mariners

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Max Faulkner

 

Arlington: Ranger fans had the opportunity to witness outfielder Drew Stubbs, 10th-inning solo home run saved a 6-5 victory after the Jays had overcome a three-run Rangers lead to tie it in the ninth. The Jays erupted for two ninth-inning home runs off Rangers closer Shawn Tolleson to overcome a 5-2 lead but couldn’t finish the job. With one out, former Ranger Justin Smoak belted a two-run home run and the crowd was still murmuring about that bolt when Troy Tulowitzki hammered his eighth of the season over the wall in left to tie the game. In the 10th, Gavin Floyd, pitching his second inning, got the first two outs but Stubbs, who just signed with Texas last week, hit his first homer of the season to end the game.

The Blue Jays’ run of impeccable starting pitching came off the rails just long enough Saturday night to allow the Rangers to do major damage early in the game. After the Jays allowed just six runs total in the first four games of this six-game road trip, Texas catcher Bobby Wilson plated four runs with a grand slam in the second inning off Marco Estrada to set the early tone. Estrada came into the game having allowed only 10 runs in 37 innings over his first six starts but gave up almost half that many on that one second-inning swing after having trouble finding the range in the early going.

As is his habit, Estrada did not start the game with a very good comfort level. It is something that has dogged him through his two seasons as a starter in Toronto. On most nights, he can survive that early search for the plate, or for a given pitch. On this night, he could not.

In the first inning, with two outs, he gave up a single and a walk before getting out of the jam. In the second inning, he was not nearly so lucky. Unable to locate the corners of the plate, where he has to live to be successful, he walked Mitch Moreland to lead off. Elvis Andrus then drilled a clean single into right field. Ryan Rua followed with a five-pitch walk and Estrada was officially in deep doo-doo. Wilson and Estrada then engaged in a long battle that required 11 pitches to resolve. Wilson fell quickly behind 1-2, and then proceeded to foul off five of the next seven pitches before finding the sweet spot on the bat to send the 11th pitch of the at-bat over the wall in center to make it 4-0. From that point on, Estrada settled in, retiring 14 of the next 16 batters he faced.

 

Meanwhile the Jays were able to eat into the Texas lead on a Ryan Goins home run with two out in the third. In the top of the fifth, Tulowitzki led off with a double down the left field line. Centre fielder Ezequiel Carrera drove Tulowitzki home with a single, then went to second when center fielder Ian Desmond let the ball get by him and then on to third on a wild pitch with Russell Martin at the plate. With Carrera on third and nobody out, Martin grounded out sharply to the shortstop and Carrera was thrown out at the plate.

In the bottom of the sixth, with two outs, Rua’s fly ball in left-center fell between Carrera and Michael Saunders, though both players seemed to have a shot at it. By the time the ball stopped rolling and he stopped running, Rua was at third. A moment later, with Wilson at the plate, Martin let a pitch get away from him and Rua scored on the passed ball. In the top of the eighth, the Jays put runners at first and second for Josh Donaldson but Texas reliever Sam Dyson induced a weak ground ball to short to get out of the inning. In the ninth, Jose Bautista led off with a double off the wall in right center against Tolleson. After Encarnacion grounded out, Smoak stepped up and ripped a shot into the upper deck in right field to silence the crowd and pull the Jays within one. Tulowitzki, who homered in Friday’s opener of this three game series, then tied the game with his eighth of the season before the rally died.

Texas will now hit the road for a 6 game road trip with the first stop in Oakland and a weekend series in Houston against the Astros. The next home stand will be at Globe Life Park with the Angels and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Rangers Sweep the Detroit Tigers on the road

By Cedric Bailey

 

Detroit: The Texas Rangers wrap up their seven game road trip on a positive note. The trip starts off with a win in Toronto and three losses in a row to the Bluejays. However on the next stop in Detroit, the Rangers won three in a row and trail the Seattle Mariners by a ½ game. 

Now let’s talk about the performance of the catcher Bobby Wilson's grand slam highlighted a seven-run eighth inning for the Rangers in an 8-3 comeback win, completing the series sweep of the Tigers on Sunday at Comerica Park. Meanwhile it was Detroit’s Justin Verlander  that threw seven scoreless innings for the Tigers, but within five batters in the eighth, the bullpen allowed the Rangers to tie the game. Three straight singles by Rougned Odor, Nomar Mazara and Adrian Beltre made it 2-1. After a groundout advanced the runners, a sacrifice fly from Ian Desmond tied it up, as pinch-runner Drew Stubbs just beat the tag on the throw home by J.D. Martinez.

Mitch Moreland walked, Elvis Andrus was hit by a pitch, and Wilson -- traded by the Tigers to Texas earlier this week -- smacked his grand slam, stunning the Comerica Park crowd. The loss was Detroit's sixth in a row. Ranger’s starter Martin Perez allowed two runs on two hits over six innings. The Tigers loaded the bases in the eighth, looking for a comeback of their own, but weren't able to score."It was a big game today," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It's a huge lift for our guys going home with a winning road trip after those three losses -- especially with the two walk-off losses in Toronto."

The Rangers are now at home to face the Chicago White Sox for a three game series. The Toronto Bluejays will be in Arlington for a weekend series.

Fort Worth’s A’Shawn Robinson Drafted in the Second Round by the Detroit Lions

By Cedric Bailey

 

Fort Worth: Abigail Robinson is a proud mother that attended high school at Dunbar High School. She remembers those day’s in the Stop Six trying to raise a family and giving them a better opportunity a mother could provide.  Her youngest son A’Shawn attended High School at Arlington Heights and had an incredible career. He also led his high school basketball team to the State Tournament. According to his mother he received many scholarships in both sports and he had accepted an offer to play football for the Texas Longhorns. A’Shawn  latter changed his mind when Longhorn Coach Mack Brown was released from his position as the head coach and  made the Alabama Crimson Tide his choice  Let’s just say that his team has played in the (CFP) College Football Playoffs each year and won the National Championship game last season over Clemson.

 

Here are some key things that you should know about Mr. Robinson and his college career in Tuscaloosa, AL. He was a five-star recruit out of high school, with one service listing him as the nation's top defensive tackle. Robinson played in all 13 of Alabama's games in the 2013 season and started in two games. Robinson is the only true freshman under head coach Nick Saban at Alabama to lead the team in sacks.  At 320 pounds, Robinson would line-up at both defensive end and tackle for Alabama during his freshman season. In his junior season he appeared at fullback in goal line situations in games against LSU and Michigan State in addition to starting on the defensive line. Robinson has enough college credits to graduate in May 2016 after his third year at Alabama.

 

Abigail and the family were in Chicago for the draft and were excited that the Detroit Lions made it clear that they wanted to get bigger and stronger in the trenches this season. After selecting offensive tackle Taylor Decker with the 16th overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, they went to the defensive side of the ball and added a big-bodied defensive tackle in A’Shawn Robinson in the second round. Robinson was known for chasing down players to the sideline and can changes direction to lay a nasty hit on the ball carrier for no gain. 

During his practices at Arlington Heights Robinson was such a fiery competitor on the field. At one point, his former coach Nick Saban and Mike Young had to remind him that he wasn’t allowed to hit the quarterback during practices. That’s the sign of someone who loves the game and loves to put opposing players on their backs. And that’s exactly what A’Shawn Robinson does.

Let me make one thing clear: A’Shawn Robinson is not going to create for himself nor end up on the stat sheet as often as you’d like for a second-round pick. That might be a bit boring and difficult to grasp, but it’s not a bad thing. Think of Robinson as a facilitator. His biggest asset is his size, and he’s going to make his teammates a lot better by filling gaps and occupying double teams.

 

A’Shawn is now in Detroit working with the rookies and learning the Lions game plan. Meanwhile Abigail is going to visit him and support him with a fan club and everything that NFL family to watch every game that she can. However this Christmas will be the game that everyone has on the calendar for Monday 

TCU Football Players make a “HUGE” Impact in the NFL

By Cedric Bailey

 

Fort Worth: TCU Coach Gary Patterson brought some of the best college football players to Fort Worth over the past decade. This is the kind of news that you want to hear when athletes from the DFW can stay at home and make it to the NFL. Over the weekend, TCU players Jaden Oberkrom and Terrell Lathan were among Horned Frogs signed Sunday by NFL teams as free agents a day after the seven-round draft.

 

Oberkrom, a record-setting place-kicker with TCU, signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Lathan, a defensive lineman, signed with the Tennessee Titans. Guard Jamelle Naff signed with Indianapolis and Aaron Green signed with the Los Angeles Rams, according to SB Nation.com. That gives the Frogs five draft picks and five undrafted signees. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin signed on Saturday as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks after going undrafted.

 

Now let’s talk about TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson was selected in the first round of the 2016 National Football League Draft, the 22nd player overall, by the Washington Redskins Thursday night.  Doctson is the second Horned Frog in the last three seasons and third in the past seven years to be drafted in the first round. Doctson, who arrived at TCU as a walk-on, is the 12th first-round draft pick in TCU history and the first to be a wide receiver.

 

 A native of Mansfield, Texas, Doctson received his TCU degree in Film/Television/Digital Media in December 2015. He was in attendance in Chicago for the draft and joined by TCU head coach Gary Patterson, who has been recently ranked TCU No. 1 in the nation for developing NFL talent. Doctson, a 2015 finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, led the nation with 132.7 receiving yards per game. He was the only player in the country to rank in the top six in receiving yards per game, receptions per game (7.9) and touchdown catches (14). His 79 receptions, 1,327 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns were TCU single-season records. Doctson received Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week honors after his 18 receptions for 267 yards and three touchdowns in TCU's 55-52 win at Texas Tech.

 

Safety Derrick Kindred went to the Cleveland Browns in the fourth round, while offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round. The sixth round saw wide receiver Kolby Listenbee selected by the Buffalo Bills and center Joey Hunt by the Seattle Seahawks. TCU head coach Gary Patterson has now had 41 players drafted with a total of 87 in NFL camps in 15 seasons.

Rangers Win Back to Back Series Over the Yankees and Angels

 

By Cedric Bailey

 

Arlington- The Texas Rangers found away to get back on track by beating the New Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels. The Rangers best game was on Saturday's  durin third inning when a high fastball to Delino DeShields was fired back up the middle for a single. An inside-corner fastball to Rougned Odor landed on the right-field foul line for a double. An outside-corner fastball to Nomar Mazara was lofted for a sacrifice fly.

 

Adrian Beltre singled on a way-inside first-pitch fastball, and Prince Fielder singled on a way-outside fifth-pitch fastball. Ian Desmond thwacked a slider into center for a single, and, then, after pitching coach Charles Nagy visited the mound, Mitch Moreland delivered the decisive blow, pulling another elevated fastball to deep right field for a three-run home run. Texas scored six runs in a span of 17 pitches, twice as many as either team scored on Saturday's remaining 263 pitches, as the Rangers beat the Angels, 7-2. In the first inning Saturday, Shoemaker immediately yielded two doubles as Texas took a 1-0 lead. In the second inning, Kole Calhoun saved him from giving up a triple to Elvis Andrus when he fully extended himself in the air to catch a sharp line drive.

 

After Shoemaker was gone in the fourth, Mike Trout earned his first error since Sept. 24, 2014, on an errant throw home that allowed Beltre to take an extra base, but the Rangers did not score. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons was also charged with a rare error when he flubbed a Beltre ground ball in the sixth.

In the Angels' half of the first inning, Trout took hold of an 0-2 changeup well below the zone and powered it 366 feet to right field, nearly out of the field of play. Mazara caught it one step short.

An inning later, C.J. Cron whacked a ball 348 feet to right field, just above the wall. Mazara leaped and gloved it, but it rattled out, and Cron got all the way to third base. He remained stranded there, though, when Carlos Perez flew out harmlessly.

 

The Angels went down in order in innings three, four, and six against Rangers starter Derek Holland. In the fifth, they strung together two singles, eliciting a mound visit, but could not score. Calhoun led off the seventh with a triple, but was tagged out on a fielder's choice two batters later. Yunel Escobar singled but was quickly erased on a double play in the eighth.

Their lone runs scored in the ninth. After Trout was called out on a questionable third strike for the second time Saturday night, Albert Pujols powered a 1-0 fastball from reliever Phil Klein out to left-center. Calhoun followed with a driven double to left field, and Cron blooped a single to score him.That was the only hit the Angels had among 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position, capping their offensive struggles of April, a month they finished with an unsightly 11-13 record. The Rangers finished the month in first place and are on the road in Toronto.

Dallas Cowboy 2016 NFL Draft Report

By Cedric Bailey

 

Arlington- The 2016 NFL Draft is now in the books and the Dallas Cowboys made some key picks for the upcoming season. Let’s just say that this season will go down as one of the more unique three-day events the Cowboys have had since Jerry Jones bought this franchise in 1989. Jones and his staff just completed their 28th NFL Draft, and while the jury will be out for a while on just how good this new crop of players will be. The Cowboys didn’t make any trades in these seven rounds, something that has occurred just one other time (2011) since the 1989 draft.

 

But to enter the draft with nine picks and take them all at the original spots is not common for this team, who likes to deal. By taking Ezekiel Elliott with the No. 4 pick in the draft, he becomes the second running back taken in the first round since Emmitt Smith and just the second in franchise history in the Top 5 along with Tony Dorsett, who went second overall in 1977.

 

Not far behind Elliott was Jaylon Smith, the Notre Dame linebacker who suffered a devastating knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State – ironically enough the injury occurred on a play he was trying to tackle Elliott. But Smith, who won the 2015 Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker, underwent knee surgery on Jan. 7 to repair a torn ACL and LCL. One thing that raised the Cowboys’ comfort level in making the pick was their knowledge of the injury. The surgery was performed by Dr. Dan Cooper, who has been one of the Cowboys’ medical doctors on the sidelines for years. Smith is not expected to play this year, but the Cowboys felt like his upside was too good to pass, even with a high-second round pick.

 

Another highlight in the draft was the selection of Dak Prescott, who becomes the first quarterback taken by the Cowboys since 2009. The former Mississippi State standout scored 111 touchdowns in his four years for the Bulldogs, including 41 on the ground.

One of the bigger surprises of the draft was the Cowboys’ final pick. Baylor’s Rico Gathers is big, he’s strong, and plays with an attitude and mean streak. The problem is, he’s shown of that on the basketball court. The Baylor power forward hasn’t played football since he was 13 but he’s trying to make the transition to tight end, just like Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas have successfully done.

“Villanova Does It Again” with a Buzzer Beater over the North Carolina Tar Heels

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David J

 

HOUSTON - Villanova won the national championship with a miracle finish in 1985, and pulled off another miracle Monday night to win it all once again - 31 years later. In the final 4.7 seconds, Ryan Arcidiacono dribbled up the court and found Kris Jenkins with a perfect pass, enabling Jenkins to knock down the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer and giving the Wildcats their second national championship in school history with an incredible 77-74 victory over North Carolina at NRG Stadium.

 

The second-seeded Wildcats (35-5) finished a magical run through the NCAA tournament with another explosive offensive performance and good defense, but they needed every ounce of fortitude after the Tar Heels (33-7), a No. 1 seed, came all the way back from a 10-point deficit to tie the game, 74-74, on Marcus Paige's three-point basket with 4.7 seconds left. Villanova coach Jay Wright called timeout to draw up a play that he described as "an end-of-the-game situation where we put the ball in Arch's hands and let him make the decision." Arcidiacono went around a screen from Daniel Ochefu and then made the decision to pass to Jenkins. Jenkins released the ball with 0.5 seconds remaining and it swished through, touching off a wild celebration with players pouring off the bench and streamers and confetti being released from above in the cavernous football stadium. Shortly after the players' celebration began, Jenkins broke off and found his mother, Felicia. He stepped over a press table and got her in a long hug, tears flowing from both faces.

 

Arcidiacono was named most outstanding player of the Final Four, and was joined on the all-tournament team by Josh Hart and Phil Booth. Many of the Wildcats' players from the 1985 title team, plus head coach Rollie Massimino, were in the crowd of 74,340. That team shot 78.6 percent for the game and 90 percent in the second half in 'Nova's 66-64 upset of Georgetown for the 1985 national championship. Playing his 144th career game, a program record, Arcidiacono scored 16 points, hitting 6 of 9 shots from the field and 2 of 3 from three-point range. Jenkins added 14 despite playing just 21 minutes because of foul trouble.

 

But before Jenkins' shot, the offensive hero of the night for Villanova was sophomore guard Phil Booth, who had scored only 27 points in 'Nova's five previous tournament games but scored a career-high 20 on Monday night. Booth hit both of his three-point shots and sank 6 of 7 shots overall, mostly on drives to the hoop. Paige led the Tar Heels with 21 points and Joel Berry II added 20, but the Wildcats did a decent job holding Carolina's big men, Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks, in check. Johnson scored 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds but had just one offensive board. Meeks shot just 1 of 8 and scored four points with seven rebounds. The Tar Heels outrebounded Villanova, 36-23, but the Wildcats outscored the Tar Heels, 32-26, in the paint. This game will go down setting up one of the most memorable finishes in NCAA history.
 

Harold Diggs Involvement with Today’s Young Men from the Dottie Lynn Recreation Center

 

By Cedric Bailey

 

Arlington: Every Saturday morning from 9am to 1pm Harold Diggs spend his morning by coordinating 4 on 4 basketball.  Now we are talking about men from the age of 25 to 65 showing up to see if they still take the ball to the rim. Diggs grew up in Fort Worth and attended I.M. Terrell High School Class of 1969. Harold remembers those days of having to avoid the pressure of the streets from drug, violence and more. His biggest concern is on today’s youth and the trouble that awaits them in the community. 

It was in the mid 90’s when Harold learned that he was dealing with Hypertension. He knew that he needed to make some changes in his life concerning his health. So he discussed it with his wife and decided that he was going to change his eating habits and start exercising at the gym. The gym gave him the opportunity to exercise and spend some time with his brother Michael Love.  One of the biggest concerns was the chemistry of the game of getting along.

 

One day the City of Arlington contacted Diggs to offer him the position of the gym manager. There would be pickup games that would lead to fights and vulgar language. With these problem all of the games were cancelled because of anger problems.

 

Diggs accepted the responsibility to mentor the men and established rules that stopped all of the problem on the court. There are now at 60 to 70 men that spend at least three hours in the gym playing ball. Some of the guys played high school ball, college ball and overseas in various leagues. Harold knows many of the players family members and has given up his time and wisdom to help them make better decisions in life. His goal is to lay a foundation in the future to keep this vision going for years to come.

 

Harold knows that he has been truly blessed with great family support. Recently his wife has been called home due to an illness from Cancer. It was the toughest challenge in his life to overcome. However he is very grateful to have both of his parents in his life. His mother’s name is Ms Kaiser Love and she loves going on cruises and vacations as a family. Thanks Harold for encouraging out young men and the word of wisdom to make our community a great place to live.

Broncos Shutdown Cam and the Panthers to win Super Bowl 50 24 to 10

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Patrick Smith

 

Santa Clara CA: Super Bowl 50 is over and Former DeSoto Eagles and Texas A&M Aggie Von Miller and the Orange Rush attacked the Carolina Panthers with breathtaking ferocity, tired of hearing about their quarterback, Cam Newton, tired of seeing their dancing moves, exhausted by a perceived lack of respect. Let’s just say when Miller reached the corner, a call came out, "Von, turn the music on. It's time to celebrate!" That’s when thing really got going, as the Broncos crept closer and closer to an improbable 24-10 championship victory, the Denver defense ran everywhere. The Broncos defense led by MVP Miller, but with a cast from line to backfield filled with play-stoppers staked a claim as one of the best in NFL history. They grounded all-pro Carolina quarterback Cam Newton for a record-tying seven sacks.

Carolina lined up the NFL's highest-scoring offense. The Broncos countered with the No. 1 defense. The Broncos know defense wins — because they lost so badly. They were blown out of the Super Bowl two years ago, a 43-8 loss, despite a high-powered offense behind Manning. In playoff games against Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger, New England's Tom Brady and Newton, the Denver defense hit the quarterback 36 times with 14 sacks. They knocked down 25 passes. They allowed just one touchdown pass.

Newton's Panthers averaged 31.2 points this season. They scored as many as 44 in one game. They scored 80 points in two playoff games before the Super Bowl. The Denver defense wrecked their run. The Broncos allowed just a 1-yard touchdown run from Jonathan Stewart in the second quarter and a Graham Gano field goal in the fourth. That's it. This became the Broncos' script in their Orange Crush-ing season. Denver scored just 22.2 points per game. But they allowed just 18.5. The Broncos played in 14 games this season decided by a touchdown or less.

In the first quarter, after Miller sprinted around the right side of Carolina's line and punched the ball away from Newton, Malik Jackson recovered the ball for a touchdown. That was Denver's only touchdown for 57 minutes. No team has ever won the Super Bowl without an offensive touchdown. The Broncos nearly did. But Miller's sack of Newton late in the fourth quarter — after he muscled around the left side of Carolina's line — forced a fumble that T.J. Ward recovered. That led to a C.J. Anderson 2-yard TD run.

For all the importance of Peyton Manning's likely final game — he will take time to make up his mind Miller and the Orange Rush broke the Panthers' will and their hearts. "This is magical," Miller said. "It's something you dream about." Denver owns its third championship, and it's most unlikely since John Elway guided the Broncos to a 31-24 upset of Green Bay. That snapshot exists forever as owner Pat Bowlen stood on the podium and gave credit to Elway. Eighteen years later, Elway returned the favor.

 

TCU Rallies to WIN the Alamo Bowl over the Oregon Ducks

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Billy Calzada

 

San Antonio: This matchup started when starting quarterback Trevone Boykin, was suspended and sent back home to Fort Worth. This was the perfect time for the coaches to start thinking about the golf course and spring practice.

But that’s when TCU coach Gary Patterson turned inspirational after the worst first-half performance in his 15-season head coaching career. This game has been labeled as one of the greatest bowl game comebacks in the history of college football started with a wardrobe change. Patterson laughs at how stupid that sounds, but it felt necessary. His TCU team was down 31-0 to Oregon when he sneaked into his Alamo Dome office at halftime and quickly changed clothes. The black, long-sleeved mock turtleneck wasn't working, so he turned to his purple, short-sleeved Nike mock turtleneck, a lightweight shirt that absorbs sweat and evidently, “absolves fear”. Patterson had to change visors, too, to make the new look match.

And then his Horned Frogs scored 47 points, 38 of them in a row, and miraculously stunned Oregon 47-41 in triple overtime to steal a Valero Alamo Bowl victory Saturday night. The 31-point deficit had been understandable, almost justified. The Frogs had no business winning this one. Yet there they were, standing under a shower of confetti and balloons after pulling off the most insane rally imaginable. When the festivities were over, players snapped photos with fans and family.

Now let’s look at how TCU scored in the second half started with a 10-play drive for a TCU field goal. Oregon goes three-and-out. An 11 play drive for a touchdown. Oregon fumbles the kickoff. Another easy TCU touchdown. Now it's 31-17 and the Ducks are panicking. That’s when TCU QB Bram Kohlhausen really got the team started. Something finally clicked for Kohlhausen, the senior transfer who'd never started a game in his career, and there was no stopping him. He hit on 19 of 26 throws for 255 yards after halftime and scored four touchdowns, including the game winner on an option keeper that was as unexpected as his breakthrough.

We also have to talk about the shutout from the TCU's defense. Oregon backup Jeff Lockie was struggling to even catch snaps against the Frogs' swarming D. The Ducks could run only 18 plays in the second half still, this game had to go to overtime. And double overtime. And then triple overtime. For a team that won on a miracle tip at Texas Tech, needed a bomb to beat Kansas State and somehow stuffed Baylor in a monsoon in overtime, this was the masterpiece.

By the time he was done celebrating, Patterson was simply too exhausted to contemplate it all on Saturday. Like everyone else who'd just witnessed one of the game's most unbelievable comebacks -- tying the bowl record set by Texas Tech in the 2006 Insight Bowl -- he walked off asking the night's impossible question. "How do you explain any of it?" Patterson questioned. "I mean, seriously, how do you explain any of it?"

2015 A Season of Promise! The Texas Rangers in Review

By Dave Micheals

 

The 2015 Texas Rangers Baseball season didn't start out with much of a BANG, but more so of a whimper! When you consider that the start of the season saw this team without its Ace Pitcher in Yu Darvish, and later the loss of Derrek Holland, and then the trade of Matt Harrison, the injuries to Shin Sin-Choo at the start of the season, the acquisition of Josh Hamilton, the trade later in the year of Cole Hammels, this team was not clicking on all eight cylinders in April, May, and June. However, they were still within striking distance of the first place team, and the big surprise of the 2015 season, the Houston Astros.

 

For the better part of the 2015 season, the Astros were the team that the Rangers and the rest of the American League West were looking up at. On paper, the predictions were that the Seattle Mariners were the team most likely to beat, but they were nowhere to be found in the final days of the season, the Angels made a strong finish, and so did YOUR Texas Rangers!

They came back from the "dead", as most sports writers and reporters had them. They were going to dead last, but come the All Star Break, and the addition of Mike Napoli, the aforementioned Josh Hamilton and Cole Hammells, The Rangers surged forward, and behind their Skipper Jeff Bannister, they truly believed in the NEVER EVER DIE battle cry that they started in spring training!  It took the last day of the season against the Angels to bring the American League West Championship back to Arlington, as they had done in 2010 and again in 2011, both those years, the Rangers made it to the World Series.

 

Not so much this year, as the Rangers were set up against the Toronto Blue Jays in the Division Series, and they proved that even after being down two games to none they had what it took to beat the Rangers in three straight games, two in Texas, and the final game in Toronto. Jose Batista comes to bat and destroys the Rangers hopes, not to mention that the miscues in the outfield, with Elvis Andrus having two errors in one inning, and Mitch Moreland having the other, the Rangers fell apart in game 5 of the Division Series.

In the end though, the winner was the fans of the Texas Rangers, they saw meaningful baseball for a full month and a half, and they thrilled to the finish when the Rangers recorded the final out on that Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park, and the celebration on the field. There was JOY in "Mudville" once again!

 

The Baseball Writers of America voted Jeff Bannister the American League Manager of the Year, Prince Fielder was the Come Back Player of the Year, and that's not bad for a team that was pretty much written off in June of the 2015 season!

The 2016 Season is just around the corner, and Jeff Bannister and his crew will have their work cut out for them, new faces in the dug out with coaches, and new faces in uniform on the field, with some old faces returning.  Soon it will be BASEBALL TIME IN TEXAS! and with that, we will be waiting with our foamed fingers crossed, and our lucky rabbits foot in our pockets. This time the battle cry is UNFINISHED BUSINESS! 


Dallas Charge's Lauren Hager Invited to 2016 USA Softball Women's National Team Selection Camp

Friday, October 16, 2016 – Lauren Haeger and 42 other women have been invited by USA Softball to the 2016 USA Softball Women’s National Team Selection Camp on January 2-8, 2016 at Bill Barber Park – Irvine, California.   The Dallas Charge 7th overall pick, is a well decorated Florida Alum was a key component in the Charge’s successful inaugural season. Congrats Lauren!  Some of her accolades include:  2015 SEC Female Athlete of the Year, 2015 Honda Award Winner, 2015 USA Collegiate Player of the Year, 2015 WCWS MVP and Champion.  In 2011 Haeger threw a complete game to win a major championship, the gold-medal game of the ISF Junior World Championship.  She is a two-time collegiate champion and brings versatility to any roster, with adept ability both in the circle and at the plate.  Lauren is the only player in NCAA history to collect 70 wins and slam 70 homers.

 

In addition to Haeger’s invitation, Ally Carda (UCLA) and Janie Takeda (Oregon) were both invited.  Carda and Takeda were the selected 8th and 9th respectively in the 2015 NPF draft by the Charge, but spent to the 2015 Summer playing for Team USA.

Former Dunbar Wildcats Coach Robert Hughes Honored by the City of Fort Worth

By Cedric Bailey

 

Fort Worth City Council Woman Gyna Bivens attended an event honoring Robert Hughes in 2014. A resident in the community asked the question about honoring former I.M.Terrell/ Dunbar Wildcat Coach Robert Hughes with a street in his honor. Bivens remembered that another former Fort Worth had a street named in her honor and that she was retired and still living. So she went to work and was able to get the votes to get Cass Street changed to Robert Hughes Drive.
 

Many of Coach Hughes family members such as his children, brothers and sister witnessed this historic day on the past Saturday morning. On Saturday, October 17, the City of Fort Worth will recognize former Fort Worth ISD Coach Robert Hughes, Sr., with the naming of a street in his honor.

By city ordinance that portion of Cass Street, between Ramey and Fitzhugh, will now be known as Robert Hughes Street. This street is immediately adjacent to the eastern side of the Dunbar High School Campus. The Board of Education First Vice President Christene C. Moss, Councilwoman Bivens, along with Mr. Walter Dansby, Judge Lisa Woodard, Constable Michael Campbell, State Representive Nicole Collier and other dignitaries and guests, were on hand to personally congratulate Coach Hughes.

 From 1973 to 2005 Coach Hughes coached at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and prior to that he coached at I.M. Terrell High School. When Coach Hughes eventually retired he did so as the all-time winningest high school basketball coach with 1,333 wins. His son, Robert Hughes, Jr. is the current coach at Dunbar High School.

Samorah Whitten’s Dream Comes True

By Cedric Bailey

 

Fort Worth Texas, can you imagine at the age of 5 and getting ready to celebrate your 6th birthday, and your parents ask you the question, “What do you want for your birthday”? And instead of a birthday party at Chucky Cheese you inform your parents that you want to help start a shoe drive for elementary students, who couldn’t afford new shoes. So, Samorah’s parents, Ashley and Courtney Whitten, planned a birthday party and asked everyone to bring a pair of shoes as a gift. The response was so wonderful, that at least 50 kids were blessed with a new pair of shoes. That was in 2014. Meanwhile in 2015, Samorah had another birthday celebration that included her family and church.  Once again she had another birthday party and the church participated and once again 50 more kids were blessed with a brand new pair of shoes.

This past weekend Ashley and Samorah took the shoe drive to the community by spending sometime at her grandparents family business, “Off the Bone BBQ” at 5144 Mansfield Hwy, in Forest Hill, TX. The store invited the Big Game Christian Sports Network, a.k.a. BGCsports to host a live radio broadcast & tailgate party for the college football fans and Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt and Fort Worth Dunbar Wildcats fans. Dunbar Coach Todd Lawson, joined BGCsports show host & sports analyst, Charles Boyd to talk sports and asked the customers for their support. This event was held from 11am to 1pm on the “Off The Bone” parking lot, and helped to raise $500 for Samorah’s 2016 shoe drive.

 On January 28, this year she will celebrate her 8th birthday with the funds to assist another 50 kids in receiving new shoes. If you would like to support the next shoe drive, then contact the Whitten’s at (682) 559-5644 or stop by “Off the Bone BBQ” in Fort Worth.

TEXAS RANGERS BASEBALL HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE JUAN IGOR GONZALEZ

The Journey Back Home©

By

Rosanna Briscoe

 

On July 11, 2015 The Texas Rangers Baseball organization will induct two new members, Juan Igor Gonzalez and Jeff Russell into the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame.   Let’s take a moment and focus on Juan and his return to the ballpark in Arlington now known as Globe Life Park.

 

Juan joined the Texas Rangers baseball club as a minor league player in 1986.  He made his major league debut in 1989 with the Rangers as a right fielder and continued through the 1999 season with the Rangers.  Juan briefly returned to the Rangers in 2002 through the 2003 season.  He also played with the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, and the Kansas City Royals.  Juan’s last MLB appearance was in May of 2005 with the Cleveland Indians. The bulk of Juan’s career was experienced as a Texas Ranger and so it is fitting that he receive this honor.

 

 

This induction is long overdue, Juan was a major contributor to the Rangers, and his numbers speak for themselves. Something else that is very evident, Juan has the numbers to win his way to Cooperstown.  Allegations of steroid use should not put a stain on his reputation. Whatever happened to “innocent till proven guilty”?  I think there may be some question as to whether a man can be “blacklisted” because he lacks a smooth tongue or media savvy. 

 

Juan received an invitation to enter into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame alongside his friend and former teammate Ivan Pudge Rodriguez in June 2013.  Juan respectfully declined his induction at that time.  

 

 

I recently spoke with sports analyst, Mark McLemore who played with Juan 5 years.  Mark said “People make the assumption that Juan is this big mean guy.  He said “Juan is just the opposite. He was a super funny guy that kept us laughing in the clubhouse.”  Mark added, “he was great at driving in runs.”  Juan would tell me “just get on base and I’ll bring you in.  Juan drove in guys that were not even in the game.”

Mark said “I am super happy for Juan, he deserves this.”

 

Juan wanted to finish his career with the Rangers.  He wanted to play in Texas to be near some of his family and friends.  Juan still cherishes his days of sitting and talking with former President George W. Bush and had the greatest respect for Johnny Oates as well as Tom Scheiffer.  

 

I went to Puerto Rico to interview Juan about his upcoming induction. The journey took me to Vega Baja where I quickly learned that Juan is known by all as “Igor”.  The people’s faces light up when they speak of him.  It’s almost as if he is a mayor, congressman or maybe even a Vega Baja President.  They all had wonderful things to say about Juan and this gave me a real insight into “Igor”.

I continued to the Rodrigo Guigo Otero Center where I met a gentleman named Jose “Willie” Quinones and I eventually found out that my search was over.  Juan was in Texas visiting his seriously ill mother at an Arlington medical facility.  Upon my return to Texas I learned the sad news that Juan’s mother passed away on June 15th.    

 

 

My visit to Vega Baja was the best.  Whether I spoke to family, friends or a handsome man trimming his hedges; I heard of Juan’s participation in the community, and his passion for helping young ball players who hope to enter the big leagues one day.  His passion for the game continues through his work in the community.

 

 

Congratulations to Juan!

 

Rosanna Briscoe©

Globetrotters Legend Marques Haynes Gone at 89

By Cedric Bailey

 

Plano- Many of us grew up watching the Harlem Globetrotters on TV and in person. Marques Haynes was often called the greatest dribbler in basketball history, passed away on this past Friday in Plano, Texas, of natural causes. In two stints with the touring team — from 1947-53 and 1972-79 — Haynes played in more than 1,200 games for a team that combined dazzling skills, theatrical flair and circus antics.

 

While playing at Langston (Oklahoma) University, the acrobatic Haynes caught the attention of Globetrotters owner Abe Saperstein in 1946 after leading Langston to a win over Globies. Haynes remained at the school, but after graduation joined the Globetrotters. He led them to victories against the George Mikan-led Minneapolis Lakers of the NBA in 1948 and 1949. Haynes was more than mere showman on the court, although his dribbling skills were eye-popping displays that often had opponents standing and watching in awe. He led Booker T. Washington High School in his hometown of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, to the unofficial national championship in 1941 and was a scholastic All-American that season. He then starred at Langston, an NAIA school where he was a four-time all-conference selection and team MVP. Haynes led Langston in scoring all four years and the team had a 112-3 record, including a 59-game winning streak. The Globetrotters retired Haynes' No. 20 jersey in 2001, one of only five players to be so honored.

 

The Globetrotters will dedicate their 90th anniversary tour in 2016 to Haynes and will wear a uniform patch in tribute. "Marques was a pioneer, helping pave the way for people of all races to have opportunities to play basketball and for the sport to explode on a global scale," Schneider said. "His unique and groundbreaking style of play set the tone for modern basketball as we know it. Anyone involved with basketball worldwide is indebted to Marques. He was the consummate Globetrotter.

Haynes was also a great businessman, This past Monday I had the opportunity to speak with Art “Bones” Smith who started The Harlem Thrillers. Smith said that Haynes would stop in Ardmore to play some games in the city. During that season it Haynes that asked Smith to join his team and they traveled the country for a couple years. There other team such as The Harlem Magicians  that were founded in 1953 by Lon Varnell with other former Harlem Globetrotters. Frank Luster, also played with the Harlem Globetrotters and the late great Marques Haynes during his day’s with the Harlem Globetrotters. This team would play games against the Boston Celtics and other NBA teams as well.

Hall of Famers and Harlem Globetrotters Meadowlark Lemon said that Marques Haynes was the leader and I don’t think he’s gotten the credit that he deserves,” Lemon said. “If you’re looking at it in positions he was probably the greatest point guard of all time and without a doubt he was the greatest dribbler.” “There’s nobody that can even compare, past or future or present with what Marques did,” Lemon added.

 

Haynes is survived by his loving wife, Joan Taylor Haynes &two daughters, Marsha Pearson Loggins and Marquetta Gregory. A celebration of his life will be held Friday, May 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at New Life Community Church, 25631 Smotherman Rd., Frisco, Texas 75033. Interment will follow at Ridgeview Cemetery in Allen, Texas. The family will receive friends Thursday, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Funeral Home in Allen, Texas.

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