|Thursday, April 9, 2015|
|Sports news and notes, 4/9|
Alcorn State has named a search committee for its women’s and men’s basketball coaches. Both Tonya Edwards’ and Luther Riley’s contracts were not renewed. The committee will screen and interview candidates and submit a list to Athletics Director Derek Horne who will make the final decision. The nine members are LaKesha Batty, Jason Cable, Tracy Cook, Nedra Edmond, Dorianne Johnson, Peter Malik, Charles McClelland, James Stubbs and LlJuna Weir.
• Fred Whitted, an HBCU historian and author of the Black College Sports Encyclopedia, has finished another project he’d been working on for some time, "Shaw University: Decade of Champions, And, Beyond.” The 158-page booklet is on the history of Shaw athletics, from basketball to football to baseball and much, much more. It is dedicated to the late LeCounte Conaway, a Shaw alumnus and former sports information director. LeCounte, also my good friend, died in his sleep in 2011.
• Andy Seigal, former Boynton Beach High head football coach, has joined Savannah State as offensive coordinator. Former NFL wide receiver Lyle Leong is the new receivers coach.
• Maryland Eastern Shore outfielder Stephen Bull recently signed a spring training contract with the Camden RiverSharks of the independent Atlantic League. Bull finished his collegiate career as No. 2 in single season hits (68) and third in career hits (189). The Atlantic League is comprised of eight teams in New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut and Texas. Over 600 players have advanced to the majors in the past 13 years.
• Several HBCU players were invited to this week’s Portsmouth Invitational, a prestigious four-day 12-game tourney that showcases in front of NBA scouts. N.C. Central senior guard Nimrod Hilliard, and Maryland Eastern Shore’s Mike Myers and Issac Smith are participating.
|Thursday, March 26, 2015|
|What we are talking about, 3/26|
The long-awaited East End Connector Project has begun. The $142-million, 3.9-mile project will provide a freeway connection between I-85 and I-40, the Triangle Expressway and U.S. 1 in southern Wake County. Construction is not expected to snarl traffic, but we will see. Projected completion date is 2019.
• Identity theft. With so many tax returns being stolen through identity theft, the IRS will start sending out letters to taxpayers whose tax returns have been stopped due to suspicious activity. If you receive Letter 5071C, contact idverify.irs.gov. Warning: The letter will arrive by mail, so if you get any phone calls or emails on the subject, hang up!
• Reversal of fortune. N.C. Mutual Life Insurance Co. reported a $358,000 profit at its recent policyholders meeting. That may not sound like much to bigwig insurance companies, but considering the company lost $2.3 million the previous year, it’s a whole lot better.
• Best of the best. Forbes magazine recently named three Triangle companies in the top 50 of its list of America’s Best Employers. They are Quintiles at No. 30, SAS at No. 31 and UNC Health Care at No. 50. Sixteen North Carolina companies in all were in the top 500.
• Who needs emissions? Beginning April 1, the DMV will no longer require emissions inspections for newer vehicles that are three years and younger with less than 70,000 miles. The vehicle’s age is determined by its model year. However, all vehicles are still required to pass the annual safety inspection before your registration can be renewed.
• Long overdue. Homeowners who were wrongfully foreclosed on by SunTrust Bank should start receiving claim forms this week. Over 2,200 residents are owed $2 million from SunTrust. To find out if you’re eligible, call 866-590-8532.
|Friday, March 20, 2015|
|Sports news, notes & rumors, 3/20|
Times they are a-tough for HBCUs. Stillman College announced this week that it was cancelling all spring sports matchups against non-conference teams. Here is the official statement from the school:
Like most private institutions around the country, Stillman Athletics acknowledges the financial challenges facing the college at this time and has embarked upon cost-saving measures. These measures included the cancelation of non-conference events and do not jeopardize the post season eligibility of the Tigers and Lady Tigers.
A full list of cancellations will be released on StillmanAthletics.com by the end of this week as we work with the schools involved and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference office.
• Coaching vacancies. If what is being reported is true, and Kermit Blount and Adrian Jones are the two finalists for the Johnson C. Smith football job, it puts an interesting twist on old school versus new. Blount has been around since Father Time, and many thought that football had passed him by. But it’s easy to forget how successful he was at Winston-Salem State before its failed try at Division I. Plus, with age and limited offers coming his way, JCSU can probably get him for a bargain price.
Jones, on the other hand, is part of the up-and-coming generation. As an assistant under N.C. Central coach Jerry Mack, he’s still young enough to not only relate to today’s players but can still beat most of them on the field. And, as a first head-coaching opportunity, he won’t be commanding too high a salary, either. It will be interesting to see what Athletics Director Steve Joyner Sr. will do. But what’s taking so long?
Two names were brought to my attention this week for the Shaw men’s basketball vacancy. Greg Jackson, sources say, has been inching to get back into coaching and back to the Triangle, although he’s not for want of money. Jackson reportedly had two years left on his contract at $260,000 when he was fired. Now I would be quite happy to just to sit and watch the games instead, but coaches are a different breed.
The second name mentioned, and this one is a shocking surprise, is former Shaw coach Joel Hopkins. Hopkins hasn’t coached since he left Shaw after the 2003 season. He did lead the Bears to their first-ever CIAA championship in 2002. Whether true or not, I for one would like to see him back. With him and Dave Robbins gone, the CIAA just isn’t as interesting as it used to be.
And finally, here we go again. Already folks are asking about rumors of LeVelle Moton leaving – AGAIN! This time, UNC Charlotte is reportedly interested. If Moton leaves N.C. Central, it will prove once again that money can’t buy an employee’s happiness. NCCU Chancellor Debra Saunders-White jumped through hoops to get him to remain an Eagle, and then he leaves after a year! Go figure.
|Tuesday, March 17, 2015|
|Sports news and notes, 3/17|
Postseason is in play tonight for Division I HBCUs.
Hampton men will take on Manhattan tonight at 6:40 on TruTV in one of the NCAA tournament’s play-in games. The Pirates are the only team in the tourney with a losing record. The winner goes on to meet Kentucky. Thanks a lot.
N.C. Central men, although disappointed not to be in the Big Dance, are at Miami tonight at 7 in the first round of the NIT. Game will be televised on ESPN2.
Maryland Eastern Shore earned its first postseason bid in school history and will travel to High Point University Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the CollegeInsider.com tournament. Hawks fans can watch the game on the CIT website.
Norfolk State got to extend its season with a CIT invite. The Spartans are making their fourth straight postseason appearance. NSU travels to Eastern Kentucky tonight at 7. The game can also be viewed on CIT website.
|Thursday, March 12, 2015|
|What people are talking about, 3/12|
The N.C. Senate unanimously passed on Tuesday a bill that provides additional protections for sexual assault victims against their attackers. Sponsored by Sen. Stan Bingham (R-Davidson), Bill 60 would allow a victim to obtain a protective order and keep it for as along as the attacker is alive. Now, that’s something we can clap our hands at.
•WalletHub has named Durham the 15th best-run city in America. The study rates cities that are efficiently spending taxpayer dollars on, among other things, education, police and parks and recreation. The Bull City is No. 23 in education, No. 32 for police and No. 46 for P&R.
• Mo’ money, mo’ money. Time Warner Cable announced this week that beginning on May 5, it will go all-digital. That means all TVs, VCRs and DVD recorders that cable lines are plugged directly into will need a Digital Adapter box. If you already have a set-top box, you won’t need another adapter. Oh yeah, the adapter will be free until June 30. Then TWC will charge $2.75 per month. The rich just keep getting richer.
• Where is Pharrell? According to CareerBliss, these are the 10 happiest jobs:
1. School principal
2. Executive chef
3. Loan officer
4. Automation engineer
5. Research assistant
6. Oracle database administrator
7. Website developer
8. Business development executive
9. Senior software engineer
10. Systems developer
|Sunday, March 8, 2015|
|Sports news & notes, 3/8|
Bowie State men’s basketball coach Darrell Brooks was so sure his team had earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II playoffs that that was all he talked about at the CIAA Tournament’s postgame press conference after the Bulldogs lost to eventual champion Livingstone. BSU was ranked No. 6 in the Atlantic Region at the time and could only hope the Blue Bears won the title, which would only help their cause.
And it did. LC won and BSU moved up to No. 5. But it wasn’t high enough; only LC received a playoff berth.
I can only imagine the disappointed looks on the coaches and players faces as the region’s bracket was filled in Sunday night.
And, as suspected, Livingstone women dropped from No. 1 to out of the rankings after the NCAA took into account their 18-game forfeits/nullifications. Another sad ending to a good season. (Read more in my column this week.)
The MEAC Tournament kicks off Monday with the women at 11 a.m. between Norfolk State and Delaware State. South Carolina State vs. Howard at 1:30 p.m., and Bethune-Cookman vs. Florida A&M at 4 p.m. Hampton is the No. 1 seed and Savannah State No. 2.
On the men’s side, Delaware State vs. SSU at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, followed by Hampton vs. Morgan State at 9 p.m. N.C. Central men are the No. 1 seed. Norfolk State is No. 2. All preliminary games will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.
Former Norfolk State center Brandon Goode has signed a professional contract to play for BK Barsy Atyrau in Kazakhstan. Goode graduated from the Spartans in 2014, and averaged 11.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks as a senior. He ranks second all-time at NSU in blocks. The 7-footer was drafted by the Delaware 87ers of the NBA Development League last November. Goode is now the fourth Spartan currently playing overseas: Michael Deloach and Pendarvis Williams (Italy) and Malcolm Hawkins (Lithuania). Former NSU great Kyle O’Quinn is with the NBA’s Orlando Magic.
|Saturday, February 28, 2015|
|CIAA Tournament – Day Five|
Everybody must be at the CIAA Fan Fest. Well, at least they have monitors at Charlotte Convention Center.
There was no one to sing the black national anthem, Lift Ev'ry Voice. Disappointing.
The Trojans are coming out hot again. Lead 6-1.
News of the day: Former Virginia Union basketball great Ben Wallace's son has signed with the Panthers to play football.
Lincoln coach Jessica Kern is sporting a baby blue dress that looks like it was made to her body. Girlfriend is wearing that dress. The guys are drooling.
DeAnna Waters leads the Trojans with eight points. VSU leads 18-11 with 10:20 left. Make that 21-11 after Cana Marriott hits a beautiful 3-pointer that seem to take 10 seconds to go in.
Zephrah Pam has been called for a technical, which is her second personal foul. Trojans lead 23-14 with 8 minutes left.
Jessica Lyons goes in for a layup to give VSU a 30-14 lead. The Trojans are playing some game and some tourney. Lyons nails a 3 for a 33-14. VSU is on fire! They look like Shaw.
Decent crowd now. Big Trojans contingent here. VSU leads 37-18. Trojans putting on a clinic.
Halftime: VSU 39, LU 21.
Coach James Hill is limping off the court. Hill said he's having hip surgery after the season. Said Bowie State coach Darrell Brooks had hip replacements on both sides and it was the best thing he ever did. Brooks no longer limps when he walks, and he STILL looks good.
Trojans shot 54.2%, including 50% from 3-pt range and a perfect 8 of 8 at the charity stripe. Lincoln shot just 27.3% and 18.2% from 3-pt range. Marriott is the only player in double figures with 12 points.
Dashae Jones comes out of the gate and nails a trey. 44-21 Trojans lead. Jones hits another one. VSU leads 49-21. I've seen big comebacks but I just dont' see this one. Not being the No. 1 seed or nationally ranked took some of the pressure off. Everybody was talking about Shaw and Livingstone. Well Look who's still standing.
Lincoln has scored six straight and trail by 24 with 13:17 left. That's a big lead. Jones hit a 3 from about 25 feet. Has 11 points - 9 on 3-pointers.
Mr. CIAA has on a fur coat and suit. Man that's nice.
This will be Hill's first championship in 9 seasons at VSU. He got the monkey off his back yesterday by beating Shaw for the first time in five tries. He was 0-4 in the tourney before.
Grammy-Award winner Tank is here sporting a Virginia State t-shirt.
Countdown is on. 5:44 left in game and VSU leads 60-39. Pam has been ejected after getting her second technical foul. She leaves with 0 points.
Marriott is taken out of the game. Scored 12 points in first half. Lyons is out too. Tiffanie Adair is taken out. Dashae Jones is taken out. She broke Lincoln's back with 3 3-pointers at the beginning of the half.
Game over: 73-49. The 2015 CIAA champions are the Virginia State Trojans. This is why I don't gamble.
Adair is the game's most valuable player. Bowie State wins the John B. McLendon Sportsmanship Award.
Four Trojans finished in double figures, led by Jessica Lyons' 16 points. Amani Clark was the high scorer for the Lions with 11.
Unlike in years past, where the women had to wait until after the men to cut down the nets, they are being allowed to do so since the men's game doesn't start until 7 p.m.
MEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP - WSSU VS. LIVINGSTONE
Dwight Williams just threw down a left-handed slam dunk over WSSU's Javan Wells that should make ESPN top 10. And he was fouled. Bad free throw. Didn't hit the rim. Game is tied at 4 all.
Good crowd but not nearly what it used to be.
Blue Bears just ran off six straight points in about 10 seconds. Lead 14-8. Time out Rams
20 minutes left. Hey, a girl's gotta eat you know.
Blue Bears led by 10 at the half that's now down to six after Rams come out and score first four points. But Eric Mayo stops that with a layup to make it 48-40. Rams have upped their intensity and are attacking more offensively. But BBs inside game is just dominating. Hakeem Jackson gives LC a 10-pt lead with 17:56 left.
Mayo hits a 3-ball and its 53-40. Mayo again. 55-40.
Mrs. Clara Gaines, widow of Big House Gaines is in the house. Jay Ellis of BET is in the house. I'm more impressed by Mrs. Gaines, though.
Donta Harper throws one down to pull the Rams to 8, but Mayo says anything you can do, I can do and dunks one home. Back to 10.
The Blue Bears are holding on to a nine-point lead before Eric Dubose hits a 3 for a 70-58 lead with 9:55 left. Ty Newman adds his 3-ball to keep it at 13.
It's a bittersweet time right now. Game is about 7 minutes from being over. One thing about the CIAA – no food or media parking aside – is the chance to network and fellowship with colleagues you don't see often. That's almost as fun as the games.
And here come the Rams. WSSU has trimmed the league to 6 and have the ball back with 7 minutes left.
Rams miss both FTs. And Hakeem Jackson makes them pay with a dunk - a 4-point turnaround. Donta Harper hits a jumper and we're back to 6. Dubose nails a trey and just like that it's an 11 point lead but Terrell Leach counters with a 3 and it's back to 8. Get the fire extinguisher, the BBs are on fire. Mayo hit a 3 and its 85-74 with 4:49 left.
Mayo hits 2 FTs and has 22 points in the game. Harper is trying to keep the Rams close. LC leads 87-76 with 4 minutes left. Another 3, this one by Daryl Traynham.
Looks like the BB are going to repeat with a 10-pt lead with 1:20 left. Well, I got one right. I picked Livingstone and Shaw. Good tourney.
LC has hit the century mark. 100-89 with 55 seconds left.
Game over. Blue Bears with 106-91. Back-to-back champions.
|Friday, February 27, 2015|
|CIAA Tournament - Day Four|
It's a beautiful day for basketball in Charlotte. Sun is shining at the snow is melting.
Since the women's games have been the most competitive and exciting to watch, I expect the same today. Oh yeah, according to several of my male colleagues, Livingstone coach Anita Howard and assistant coach Latasha Shipman-Ganus, and Lincoln coach Jessica Kern are "H-O-T." And I don't mean in a menopausal way like myself. Now, let's get it on.
Both teams are feeling each other out, plus they are evenly matched. As Howard said on Tuesday, Lincoln is one of the few CIAA teams that matches up well with them. We shall soon find out. BBs have early 4-2 lead, now it's tied after Teira Pendleton's jumper.
Amber Curtis goes all the way for a uncontested layup. Here we go with players going down the court without anybody trying to take a charge. Blue Bears trying to use their size advantage with 6-4 Wende Foster but Lions defending well. Game tied after Curtis makes jumper.
Either both teams are playing good defense or they are cold from the field, whichever way you want to see, but game is tied 10-10 with 11:33 left in first half.
Now Lincoln is going inside. De'jah Taylor muscles in a layup for a 12-10 Lions lead. LenNee Kimbell gives LU its biggest lead of 4 but Aliyah Grinage cuts that to 2.
Lions starting to exert themselves a little, and hitting. Alaysia Washington nails a 3 to give LU its biggest lead of 21-14 with 8:29 left.
Some fan was slinging a cow bell during the game. Just warned to cut it out. Go milk a cow instead. Actually, those are my words.
Lucas makes Lions lead 9 and they have the ball again but can't capitalize. LU has taken Blue Bears out of their game. LC looks disjointed and confused. But it's early.
Sophie Lepzem finally gets LC on the scoreboard after what seemed like 10 minutes. Game still just 23-16. Wow, somebody actually took a charge. That's getting rarer and rarer. BBs are stone cold from the field. Lions could have a double-digit lead if they were shooting better.
Lepzem breaks the drought for LC. Lions lead 24-18. Labrea Walker makes a steal and a layup, now its down to 4. Lincoln may regret not taking better advantage of BB's early cold shooting.
LC has squandered the last 30 seconds and given Lincoln opportunities to extend lead. Livingstone had trimmed the lead to 4 but gave up 6 straight points for Lions to lead 32-22 at halftime.
Lions shot 33.3% from the field, BBs 27.3%. Both were dismal from 3-point range at 20% each. No player scored in double figures.
Livingstone comes out and scores first 5 points to close to 5. But Lions come right back with 5 of their own for a 37-27 lead.
I'm reading an email someone sent quoting one of Muhummad Ali's famous sayings: "I should be a postage stamp, because that's the only way I'll ever get licked. I'm beautiful. I'm fast. I'm so mean I make medicine sick. I can't possibly be beat."
A technical has been called on Amber Curtis, her second foul. Foster is at the line. Misses both FTs. Lincoln leads 39-31 with 15:11 left. But Curtis nails a 3 to pull LC to 5.
And here we go. Walker hits a long jumper and its 39-36, but the Lions are hitting the boards. Curtis just picked up her 3rd foul with 14:02 left. Teammate Carrie Blunt also has 3.
And just like the Lincoln score 4 straight. Back up to 8. Lions not backing down or getting rattled.
Here comes LC again. Precious Roberts layup and BBs are down by 3 with 11:15 left. Taylor hits a turnaround jumper to put LU up by 5.
Livingstone had cut it to 1 off a Curtis jumper, but Lions came right back with a bucket. 47-44 with 7:44 left.
Now it's the BBs turn to hit the boards. Getting big offensive rebounds to keep them in the game. But still having trouble with shots. Had a chance to cut it to 1 but Lions get the rebound and basket for five point lead. Then go a make a stupid foul to put LC on the line. WHY DO PLAYERS FOUL WHEN THEY ARE AHEAD?
Curtis goes the distance and we have a 1-pt game with 5:24 left. BBs have chance to take first lead of second half but miss 3-pointer. TO Lincoln.
It's going to come down to free throws now with 3:36 left and LU up by 5. Here we go again, another foul by Lincoln stop the clock and put BB on line
Curtis pulls LC to within 1 with 2:41 left. But Lepzum puts in a nice turnaround jumper at the basket and we're back to 3 pts. with 2:16 left. Yes, the ladies know how to play the game.
LC shoots an air ball and Lincoln gets the ball back. Zephrah Pam fouls out for LU. Foster makes one FT and the second is called off for lane violation. You got to be kidding. Lincoln leads 55-53 with 1:23 left.
Roberts steals the ball and goes in for layup. We are tied up with 1 minute remaining. Game has lived up to billing. LU misses 3-pointer, LC gets rebound and Foster is fouled. BB have not led in the second half. Misses 1st FT. Misses both Wow!
Foster getting a pep talk from Kyra Crosby on the sideline. Foster has 4 points and 10 rebounds.
Amani Clark goes in for layup and Lions lead 57-55 with 20.7 seconds left.
What a block by De'jah Taylor and kept the ball in bounds for Lincoln. No, officials say it was a held ball and LC gets the ball back with 6 seconds left. But Curtis loses the ball on the dribble and the Lions win! The Lions win! This is their first ever trip to CIAA championship tomorrow at 4 p.m. Zephrah Pam is Food Lion MVP. WHAT A GAME!
To show just how even the teams were, both had 51 rebounds each; shot about 30% for the game, 20% from 3-pt range and 59% from FTs. Amani Clark was the only Lincoln in double figures with 11 points, while Curtis was the game's high scorer with 15 points. Zephrah Pam had 10 big rebounds for Lincoln.
"Three to four years ago, nobody believed in Lincoln," Taylor said. "We're enjoying the moment."
Kern said "We owe Shaw one. Didn't show up last time." Lincoln split with Virginia State. Women's game at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
And, by the way, Livingstone's wins have been restored; the BBs are 26-2 and still No. 1 in the Atlantic Region, so they are almost assured a playoff spot.
GAME TWO - SHAW VS. VIRGINIA STATE
The Trojans have a 23-12 early lead with 6:22 left. Crowd is still buzzing over the first game. Women's semifinals need to be televised also. Jessica Lyons nails a 3 to put Trojans up 26-12. VSU has never beaten Shaw in Charlotte, but then again, no other team has either in the past four years.
Trojans are keeping up the scoring pressure, lead 29-13 but Verdine Warner sneaks in a layup to drop the lead to 14. Miesha Adams hits one and its back to 16.
Are you sitting down? Trojans lead Shaw 35-16 at the half. But I've seen too many Bears comebacks, and there are two halves in every game.
Trojans shot 45.2% from the field, compared to Shaw 18.8%. The Bears missed all six 3-pointers and made just half of their free throws. VSU made 55.6% of its 3s and all of its free throws.
Trojans are ahead 37-20 with 17:29 left. Make that 41-20 with 16:03 left. Of course, Jacques Curtis is not calling a time out. He only calls those with he's AHEAD by 21 with 3 seconds left.
No comeback by the Bears so far. Trojans lead 50-32 with 10 minutes left. Are we going to have a Lincoln vs. Virginia State final? See, that's why I don't gamble. And Jacques has yet to call a time out.
Folks, we are going to have a new women's champion in five years. Trojans lead 58-34 with 7:25 left. Dashae Jones has a game-high 17 points. Now its 62-35.
Game over: 69-47 Trojans win. Jacques and James Hill having a good conversation at the handshake potion.
MEN'S SEMIFINAL - LIVINGSTONE VS. BOWIE STATE
This is the championship game right here. It's a shame these 2 teams have to meet in a semifinal. Thought there would be more Livingstone people here, but it's early. Halftime will be different I'm sure.
Blue Bears take a quick 10-5 lead off a layup by Eric Mayo with 15:12.
Food Lion is giving out $100 gift cards to fans. As high as groceries are, that's worth mugging somebody for theirs.
Daryl Traynham gives BBs an early 19-7 lead with 12:07 left. Time out.
Any one who has rolls in her middle (and we know what rolls I'm talking about) should not be allowed to wear midriffs. Dang!
Traynham muscles in a layup and a FT to give BBs their biggest lead of 15, but Bowie's Justin Beck is fouled after a made basket. Margin down to 12 with 9:13 left.
Heard all this noise from up top and there are people at the upper level. We usually call them the cheap seats but there are no cheap tickets for the C-I.
Tom Joyner is here. His show was broadcast today.
Juwan Cole makes a pretty left-handed hook to give BBs their biggest lead of 40-23. LC came to play tonight.
Hip-hop artist MC Lyte is giving a preview of upcoming concert. I'm familiar with 2 songs. She was a hit.
LC shot 47.4% from the field. Eric Dubose and Ty Newman have 10 points each.
And here comes the Bulldogs, scoring the first 4 points to cut it to 8. Mayo however gets a rebound and putback for a 10-pt lead.
Mayo hits his second straight bucket and it's back to 12. Now for long, though. BSU on 4-0 run to trim it to 8.
Now the crowd is starting to filter in getting ready for Winston-Salem State vs. Fayetteville around 9:15.
The BBs keep holding off BSU's runs. 61-51 with 10:36 left. Cameron Knox knocks down a 3 to pull BSU to within 6 for the second time in the second half.
Knox just hit another pretty 3 and is fouled by Mayo, which is his fourth. Lane violation. Go figure. LC's lead is down to 3. BB only have 8 pts in second half so far with 7:50 left. Robert Flint says enough of this and nails a 3. Back to 6.
Coca-Cola just presented a $70,000 check in honor of 70 yrs with the conference. Should have been $700,000. Yes, I'm cynical. ACC would have gotten $700,000.
Just like that a 67-58 lead with 6:26 left. LC holding tight to that lead. BBs on those offense boards. Just had 4 shots to get a bucket and back to 9-pt lead with 4:25 left. Reminded me of Shaw against Smith Tuesday night. Dubose hits 2 FTs to put it back to an 11-pt margin. Crunch time for BSU.
When things are going good, they're going good. Hakeem Jackson hits a turnaround jumper as the shot clock expires to put LC up by 13, but Julian Livingston comes down and hits a 3. Back to 10 with 2:47 left.
Virginia Union great Ben Wallace is in the house. Wallace was inducted into today's John B. McLendon CIAA Hall of Fame.
Unless my eyes are fooling me, Bill Lide is here. Lide is former N.C. Central AD and SIAC commissioner and all-around hated man.
Looks like we have the first finalist for tomorrow's championship game. BBs are up by 15 with 1:40 left.
Coach Darrell Brooks is emptying the bench for the seniors. Final score: 83-65.
|Thursday, February 26, 2015|
|CIAA Tournament - Day Three|
So-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o glad we didn't get those projected 8-10 inches of snow. Mostly slush and nasty stuff. And it was extra nice to be able to sleep in and not look like Mom's Mabley in the morning.
The first of four men's quarterfinals today is Fayetteville State vs. Virginia State. Not too bad a crowd for a first game in these weather conditions.
And we're exchanging 3-pointers here. Both teams are scorching on offense. Anthony Shelton gives FSU an 18-17 lead with 13:40 left.
Broncos are on fire. Torian Showers' 3 gives FSU its biggest lead of 23-18. Then Devin Thompson made it even wider with a pretty putback that has FSU up 25-18. TO by Trojans. Bet Lonnie Blow Jr. is not happy, but FSU is playing lights out right now. Thompson also was fouled so its 26-18. Showers muscles in for a short jumper. 28-18.
Mike Thiep hits 2 and now it's 30-18. VSU can't hit and can't get a rebound. Reminds me of Shaw men last night. They put on some rebounding show against JCSU. Joshua Dawson nails another 3 and its 33-18 with 9:01 left in first half.
Back to Shaw, the rebounding margin was 47-16!! Koron Reed had 16 rebounds by himself so he tied the team total of Smith.
Alphonso Leary stops the bleeding with a shot layup, but he had to work overtime for it.
Showers rains down another 3. Has 9 points already. 36-20. Trojans fans are in shock. Dawson just goes in for a layup. Where's the defense? 38-20 before Xavier Parham stops the streak.
How bad is it for VSU? The Trojans were called for a technical for having 6 players on the court!! Broncos are not slowing down. Lead 44-29 with 3:40 left in half.
Thiep on the putback after no block out by VSU for 48-31 lead. Broncos are playing some defense. Have about 5 blocks in the half already. That's why the tourney is called the second season.
And just as the buzzer sounds, Thompson hits a 3 to end the half at 51-33. Fifty-one points! Trojans played no defense, but FSU didn't let them. What a half.
The stats tell it all. Broncos shot 69% from the field, including 81.8% from 3-pt range. FSU had 7 blocks and out-rebounded VSU 19-12. Dawson and Thompson had 12 points apiece.
FSU is showing no sign of cooling off. Lead by 21 with 16:55 left. Don't think Trojans can come back from this. They are just as shocked as everybody else.
One of the TV cameramen has a sense of humor. Started dancing with one of the Vikings fans.
Trojans just don't have it today. Can't get anything to drop in, while FSU can't miss. Lead 62-38 with 14 minutes left. Reminds me of that Georgetown vs. Villanova NCAA championship in the 1980s. The Hoyas were a huge favorite but Villanova shot like 70 percent for the game or something.
One of the TV cameramen has a sense of humor. Started dancing with one of the Vikings fans.
Trojans just don't have it today. Can't get anything to drop in, while FSU can't miss. Lead 62-38 with 14 minutes left. Reminds me of that Georgetown vs. Villanova NCAA championship in the 1980s. The Hoyas were a huge favorite but Villanova shot like 70 percent for the game or something.
Dawson leads FSU with 17 points. Broncos ahead 68-43 with 12 minutes left. Nope, no coming back from this. VSU can't even get a layup.
These "cheerleaders" are too much. It's all about shaking and jiggly, nothing with cheering. If one shakes, the other one has to shake more. If one squad flings their hair/weave, the other one has to fling their horse hair. I wish it would come a loose. Just nasty. I wouldn't bring any of my nieces or nephews to a game.. How raunchy can you get.
Well, we're going to have our first big upset on the men's side. Shaw defeating Smith was kind of an upset, but this one trumps that big time. Six minutes left and FSU leads 78-60.
See, this is why I don't gamble. I would have bet the farm VSU was going to win today. Chowan vs. Bowie State are next. Could be interesting since the Hawks have already played a game.
The Broncos shot 63.5% for the game and 71.4% from 3-pt range int he 93-72 win. Dawson finished with 20 points but it was 7-0-foot center Mike Thiep's defense that was the talk of the press conference. Thiep had 8 blocks and almost three times as many altered shots. Kearse ended his career with 20 points.
GAME TWO - BOWIE STATE VS. CHOWAN
Decent crowd here at TWC. Bulldogs have an early 16-10 lead. Bet BSU took note of the Trojans' loss.
Bulldogs are taking VSU to heart. Lead Chowan 39-26. Andre Jackson has 7 points for BSU.
Fast first half. Trevis Buckhanon puts in bucket as time expires to pull Chowan to within 12 at 41-29.
Nope, the officials reviewed the play and waived the basket off. Score still the same. Neither team has a player in double figures but the Bulldogs shot 58.3% from the field and a perfect 8 of 8 at the charity stripe.
Bowie is pouring it on now with 12:12 left in game lead 55-36. So our first two men's games are blowouts. The third game is at 7 p.m. when Lincoln and Livingstone meet. That should be a closer on. Either way, I'm going to hit the vendors till then.
GAME THREE - LINCOLN VS. LIVINGSTONE
Hopefully we'll have a better game after the first two duds, unless you're FSU and BSU fans of course.
Livingstone has an early 5-4 lead as both teams are still feeling each other out. Of course, Virgina State and Fayetteville were tied at 18 before the Broncos scored 15 straight points in the rout. So early close scores mean nothing.
Coors Light people just presented a check for $10,000. $10,000 from a beer company is like me giving $10. That much is drank at a keg party on a college campus. PUh-lease, I bet they give the ACC more. And divide that up into 12 schools.
OK, the game is still close with an 11-all tie. We'll see how long it goes. Back and forth they go. Lions have a 15-14 lead with 12 minutes left.
Radio legend Donnie Simpson is doing the former Soul Train scramble board with a contestant.
Pace is picking up. Ty Newman just slammed home a dunk to give BB their biggest lead 23-17 with 8:27 left.
But the Lions come right back and trim it to 1, helped by Kyle Aiken's 3-ptr. At least the officials are calling any ticky-tack fouls – SO FAR!
LC starting to muscle the ball inside. Austin Harris gets a layup and is fouled. Joshua Davis got an elbow to the nose and is being helped off the court. Don't think he knows his name right now. Harris makes the FT, BB lead 31-22.
Newman gives LC its biggest lead of 10 points with 2 minutes left. Blue Bears extending their defense to half court, LC forced to call a timeout.
There are 28 seconds left in the first half. Why is LC calling a TO? Why do teams do that? Darresse Johnson nails a 3 as time expired to give BB a 42-28 halftime lead.
Just heard some sad news from Tiffani Sykes, one of my friends and colleagues. NBA legend Earl Lloyd has died. Lloyd, a West Virginia State graduate, was the first black man to play to in the NBA. West Virginia State is an HBCU for those of you clueless and once a member of the CIAA.
Meanwhile, Lincoln's Tony Efese has been ejected. Efese got his 4th foul and was called for a technical, which is another personal foul. He's hitting the showers about now. Blue Bears have commanding 54-37 lead with 13 minutes left.
Man, the women's games have been so much better. A colleague sitting next to me said since former Virginia Union coach Dave Robbins has been gone, so has the defense in the league. "It's just run up and down and see who can out-score who," he said. Don't know if I agree with that but I do agree with Robbins absence. He raised the bar for all coaches with that zone defense and since he's been gone, the bar has been lowered. With the women, Shaw is still dominate and keeping the other teams on their toes.
We have a game again. Lions have clawed back to within 10 with 10 minutes left. Big crowd tonight at Arena. See a lot of red for you-know-who.
Lions can't crack the single-digit deficit. LC leads by 11 with 6:36 left.
Spoke too soon. Quaman Burton just nailed a 3 to pull to within 9 with 6:27 left. After an LC FT, Hakeem Jackson throws down a dunk for a 10-point lead. Eric Dubose takes it all the way for a 12 point lead. I'm starting to see what my colleague was saying. Nobody got in front of him to take the charge. How you let a player go coast to coast barely touched.
Newman fouls out but it's moot now. BB up by 15 with 1:10 left. We have our 3rd team in semifinal. One more to go.
Dubose led the BB with 20 points, while Jordan Watson was the high man for Lincoln with 14.
GAME FOUR - SHAW VS. WSSU
A moment of silence for Mr. LLoyd.
Two major questions: Will the Rams be rusty with a bye? And do the Bears have anything left after last night's dominating performance over Smith?
Joe Reid is picking up where he left off last night. Back to back buckets give Shaw a short 2-pt lead before WSSU ties the game at 9.
What would the tourney be without Mr. CIAA? I missed the orange suit he debuted. Now he has on a creme-colored outfit.
Rams hold a slim 17-14 lead with 8 minutes left in first half.
Just like last night, Shaw is getting into foul trouble. John Savoy just picked up his third and then got called for a technical which is also a personal so now he has four fouls with 6:40 left in the first half. The Rams are playing some defense. Full court press is bothering Shaw. WSSU leads 27-15.
Also, last night Shaw hardly missed a FT. Tonight, they are missing.
Larry Richardson makes a 3-pt play to pull Bears to within 6. Could be closer but both teams are turning the ball over like they would rather be someplace else. Ugly, ugly game.
Halftime: WSSU 29, Shaw 24. Harper is the only player in double figures at 13.
Shaw scores the first basket in the second half to trim to 3 on Richardson dunk. WSSU's WyKevin Bazemore commits his 3rd foul. Shaw has the ball. Another turnover. Bears had 14 in first half.
Shaw trying to do too much inside. Koron Reed is trying to put the Bears on his back but he needs help. Lot of senseless turnovers. Terrell Leach puts Rams up by 10 with 13 left. The way Shaw is playing the lead may be insurmountable. WSSU's full-court pressure defense has been the difference. And to make matters worse for Shaw, Reed picks up his 4th foul with 13 minutes remaining.
Reid muscles in a layup to pull Shaw to within 5 but Jordan Davis gives Rams back a 7-pt lead.
Every time you think Shaw is getting out of it, they come up with a big play. Jamar Cooper's 3-pt play put them to within 4 but Davis comes right back and makes it a 6-pt lead with 8:42 left.
Reed fouls out with 7 minutes left. He was the bread and butter for Shaw.
We're sitting here reminiscing about how the players aren't as good as before. Colleague John Dell remarked "You forget how good (former Shaw player) Ronald Murray was." Murray was the CIAA and national player of the year. There hasn't been a player that could shine his shoes since then.
Shaw keeps hanging around. AliBaba Odd nails a trey to pull Shaw to within 5 but WSSU is shooting 2 technical fouls and no one knows why. Makes 1 for 6 pt. lead but Richardson hits a jumper and is fouled. Can pull Shaw to 3 after the TO. 3:45 left and it's 11:45 p.m. Good thing Friday's first game is 1 p.m.
Richardson makes FT but Harper hits basket and it's a 59-54 game. Odd is at the line. Hits 1.Misses 2 but Shaw gets ball back. Can't capitalize but WSSU turns the ball over. Reid turnaround jumper pulls Shaw to 2 with 1:53 left. FINALLY, we have a close game.
Bazemore fouls out with 8 points. Shaw has ball with chance to tie or go ahead.
Cooper ties the ball off a Richardson miss. 1 minute left. Marquez Jones is fouled and at the line. Makes 1. Makes 2. Rams lead. Cooper just tried a bad shot from top of key. Should have gotten the ball inside. Don't need a 3. 20.5 seconds left.
Javan Wells is at the line. Hits . Hits 2. Rams lead by four. Richardson goes in for layup. 12.2 seconds.
Wells back at the line. Makes 1. Misses 2. Richardson's shot rims out to tie the game. WSSU wins. What a game.
Joe Reid is having a hard time. The senior is crying as he's walking off the floor.
Rams take on Fayetteville tomorrow and Livingstone and Bowie. That one is really the championship game.
|Wednesday, February 25, 2015|
|CIAA Tournament - Day Two|
The day has gotten off to two good starts: no snow outside when I walked out of the hotel and fast Internet service at the Arena. Never could get on yesterday.
Elizabeth City State and Virginia State women are opening up the 10 a.m. game. Will be interesting to see if the Vikings have the advantage after playing a game and the Trojans had a bye.
Sitting with my colleague Lut Williams of the Black College Sports Page. We are the only black print media here. Trojans hold an 18-16 lead with 8:24 left in first half. Tiffanie Adair has 11 of the Trojans' 20 points so far. Breona Jones, the CIAA rookie of the year, has 7 for the Vikings.
The Trojans aren't playing like they are rusty. Lead 31-21 with 1:26 left in half. Adair is just having her way right now. And a nice little crowd of VSU fans are here with their orange on.
Halftime: VSU 32, ECSU 23. Adair has 13 points, the only player in double figures. Trojans outrebounded Vikings 24-14, while ECSU had 4 blocks.
The Trojans are starting to put it on. Lead 42-27 with 15 minutes left. Too bad the winner of this game gets Shaw if the Bears knock off Winston-Salem State next.
The Vikings haven't shown any signs of a rally coming. VSU is not giving up an inch, although Adair has been held scoreless in the second so far. Trojans lead 45-32 with 10:37 left.
Uh oh, went away too soon. The Vikings have cut the lead to 4 with 3:50 left. Here comes Adair with a big bucket to get back some of the monetum, but Alliyah Floyd nails a 3 to make it back to 4 with 3 minutes left. Jadda Jefferies had 13 points for ECSU. Jessica Lyons hits 2 FTs to give VSU a 6-pt lead.
Five points lead wth 1:26 left. These games are going awfully fast. Something tells me the officials were given a talking to. Don't be calling no ticky-tack fouls.
A steal and Jones layup pulls ECSU to three points, but Dashae Jones hits a big bucket with 50 seconds left for a 55-50 lead. Lyons fouls out.
Jefferies hits 2 FTs. 55-52 with 23.5 left. Deshae is fouled. Misses first FT. Makes 2. 56-52 VSU lead.
Breona is fouled. Why do players foul when they're ahead in the game? Jones makes 1 for a 3-pt game.
Adair is at FT line. Makes 1, makes 2. 58-53 will win the game.
Adair was the game's high scorer with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
GAME TWO - SHAW VS. WSSU
The Bears had little trouble with the Rams during the regular season. Can WSSU reverse course?
WSSU's Kesheria McNeil make a 3-pt play to give Rams an early 8-4 lead. Umeka Benson hits for Shaw, but Jasmine Carter nails a 3 for 11-6 lead.
Kaula Jacks has back to back buckets to trim WSSU's lead to 1. 14:10 left in first half.
Bears starting to make one of their patented runs. on a 6-0 run and lead 18-13 with 10:49 left.
The Rams are not wilting however, Briana Wilder hits a trey to tie the game at 18 all after 5-0 run.
Shaw has outscored WSSU 15 to 4 to take an 11-pt lead with 2 minutes left in half.
The Bears are going for the throat. Scored 8 straight to lead 41-24 with 35.3 seconds left.
Halftime: 44-24. Interestingly, no player is in double figures. Shaw shot 50% from the field and 90.5% from free-throw line.
WSSU got it down to 15 but Shaw scored a basket, and the Bears are pouring it on. Lead 51-29 with 16:27 left. Somehow we don't think WSSU has that big a comeback in it. If everything holds true to form, Shaw vs. VSU in Friday's semifnals. The women are off Thursday; it's all men.
Shaw hasn't let up: 56-32 with 13:03 left.
Had to leave this game and finish our paper to get ready for the 4:30 pm matchup everybody is talking about: Livingstone vs. J.C. Smith women.
In the meantime, there was another game between Lincoln and Virginia Union. The Lions won 59-51. Zephrah Pam was the game's high scorer with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Lincoln plays the winner Smith and LC in Friday's semifinals. So you know what that means. Shaw and the Blue Bears could meet in the championship game. And yes, that's the game I want to see – and I'm not alone – nor am I ashamed to say it.
GAME FOUR - LIVINGSTONE VS. J.C. SMITH
Oh baby, are we ready like Freddy. Sing it Marvin: "Let's get it on! I-I-I-I beg you, let's get it on!"
Amber Curtis breaks almost a 4 minute scoring drought by both teams with a 3. Not bad crowd considering what's coming.
Talking to a colleague who asked if I heard the rumor that Livingstone trashed Smith's dressing room after losing to the Golden Bulls two weeks ago. Nope, hadn't heard that one, but it wouldn't surprise me. JCSU leads 4-3. Media TO.
LC coach Anita Howard is sure styling in a leather outfit. Getting some attention, too. Someone just said to me "She's too cute to coach," which is kind of sexist if you think about it. No one ever says Bowie State men's coach Darrel Brooks is too cute to coach and he sho' 'nuf be styling at the C-I!
Kyra Crosby is here. She's sitting on the BB's bench. Golden Bulls lead 14-10. No players has more than 4 points.
Game was halted as LC freshman Alexis Fowler was carted off the court in an air cast on her left leg. Didn't see what happened but must have been a bad fall. Fowler was crying as she left the court. Hope everything is OK. Smith leads 16-14 with 4:55 in 1st half.
Golden Bulls have upped their lead 24-18 with 1:07 left. Despite low score, every physical game. Teams don't like each other. Anika Jones leads all players with 7 points.
Halftime: Blue Bears score 4 straight points to trail 24-22 at the half. Should be a wild and wacky second half.
Neither team shot well in first half. Blue Bears were a paltry 16.7 percent; JCSU at 27.3%.
LC has missed several upclose layups. And another LC player is down. Freshman forward Aliyah Grinage is down and being helped off the court. Holding her left knee.
Labrea Walker nails a 3 and we are all tied up folks with 13:14 left. And Golden Bulls just missed a sure layup, but LC returns the favor. That's the thing about women, they will miss a layup. JCSU's Ashley Porter puts Golden Bulls back ahead.
Who says women don't get physical? It's heating up in here. LC can't buy a layup. Just missed 3 putbacks that rimmed out. Carrie Blunt finally gets one in and we're tied at 31 with 10:43 left. Somebody is going to be crying after this one.
LC's Precious Roberts just got her 4th foul with 10:04 left. Cierra York ties it again. Porter is battling those boards. Gives JCSU back the lead.
Curtis just made a nice move to the basket. Gets the layup and is fouled. Game is tied. Makes fT. LC leads by 1 with 7:36 left.
LaKendra Wilkerson hits 2 FTs to give JCSU back the lead. Taylor Daniels gives BBs back the lead. Smith is playing some tight defense. Neither team can hit a layup. they both look tired. Wende Foster at FT line: Makes 1 of 2. LC leads 39-37 with 5:22 left and gets a steal.
Roberts makes a pretty move to the baskets. Gives LC a 4-pt lead with 4:45 left. Kaylah Gholson swoops one in for Smith.
Anika Jones hits one FT. But Curtis comes back with short jumper. LC leads 43-40 with 2:46 left. TO Smith.
Foster's layup gives LC its biggest lead of the second half 45-40. Golden Bulls commits a foul. LC at line. But York misses 1 and 1. But she makes this one. Misses 2nd but LC gets rebound with 1 minute left.
JCSU's Shaniqua Phifer nails a 3 to cut the lead to 46-43 with 43.9 seconds left.
York is back at the line. Hits 1. Hits 2. 48-43 LC with 30 seconds left. Walker at the line Hits FT. Makes 2 with 19.5 left and 50-43 lead.
Looks like LC is going to win this one. Takes on Lincoln on Friday. Game over 50-43. What a game! The men have a tough act to follow
There will be 2 female coaches and 2 male coaches in Friday's semifinals.
MEN'S TOURNEY - ST. AUG'S VS. CHOWAN
Fans are spent after that great game. They are quiet. However, the show must go on.
Freshman Quincy January has 2 alley-oop dunks but the Falcons trail 23-22 with 5:17 left in the game.
The Bears have a 3-pt lead with 1:15 left in the first half. Starting to snow in Charlotte. I may be leaving soon. Will be keeping an eye out.
Still a good crowd despite the weather, although I suspect many don't know what's going on outside. That's the thing about being in the arena all day. The world could end and we wouldn't know it.
The game is tied at 37 with 16:37 left. CU's Mark Buright is the high scorer with 14 points. No Falcons player is in double figures.
Kyree Bethel hits a 3-pointer to pull Chowan to within 1 with 12:06 left. Teammate Carlos Arroyo gives the Hawks back the lead on another trey. Arroyo hits a second one and after 3 straight 3-pointers, CU leads 48-43. Arroyo has 15 pts. TO Falcons.
Arroyo hits his 8th straight point to put CU up 50-43 with 10:06 left.
Anthony Gaskins temporarily stops the bleeding with a steal and layup. Hawks lead 52-46 with 8:28 left.
Gaskins hits a 3 to cut CU's lead in half by 3. Gaskins had 2 big back-to-back 3-pointers against ECSU last night to help Falcons solidify win. 5:47 left. Time out.
Raheem Jolliffe calmly puts down 3 FTs to pull SAU to within 4 with 4:37 left. After some near misses by both teams, Jolliffe hits a trey to pull SAU to within 1. 2:30 left. Another nailbiter on the way.
Hawks add 2 FTs to go up by 3. Get a critical steal with under 2 minutes remaining. TO Hawks.
CU can't capitalize on steal and Falcons get ball. Gaskins is fouled and makes 1 Ft, but SAU gets rebound. Can tie the game or go ahead. Falcons call TO with 1:02 left.
Gaskins had flashbacks of last night's 2 long 3-pointers. Just tried one as clock winding down, which was a really bad shot. Now Falcons forced to foul being down by 2 with 38.9 seconds left.
Hawks miss both FTs. Falcons still down by 2. Gaskins misses another 3-pointer, this one wide open. CU gets rebound and Bethel is fouled. Misses 1. That's 3 straight misses. Makes 2. Falcons down by 3 with 16.1 seconds left.
Gaskins misses another 3, but Jolliffe gets the rebound and tries a long way. Also misses. Chowan hits 2 FTs this time and is up by 5 with 5.5 seconds left. Impossible for Falcons to come back.
Men's games begin at 1 p.m. Some of us might be watching on Aspire Network if the weather is bad. All games are televised.
Bethel is now Chowan's all-time leader in 3-pointers.
Arroyo led all players with 18 points; Gaskins hit 17 for the Falcons but was 2 of 13 from 3-point range. This is Chowan's second trip to the semifinal since joining the CIAA – what 6 years ago was it?
SHAW VS. J.C SMITH
Smith swept the Bears in the regular season, although one of the games was a close one. Shaw has a 13-10 lead early on with Joe Reid leading the way with 6 points.
The Bears are fired up. Lead Smith 18-13 with 8:33 left in 1st half. Quite surprised at how big this crowd is with all the snow falling down. Guess they figured they're not going to work tomorrow so they might as well hang out. Cooper's 2 FTs give Bears their biggest lead of 20-13. Alibaba Odd (I love that name) hits his second straight basket to give SU a 9-pt lead.
Golden Bulls have awakened. On a 7-0 streak to trail by just 2.
Halftime: Shaw 26, JCSU 25. Looks like another barn-burner coming. But how many folks will see it The Arena is emptying out pretty fast as people head home.
Shaw is hitting the boards early in the second half. Bodies are banging all over the place. Koron Reed's sweet jumper from inside the key gives Bears a 31-26 lead.
The Bears are not the best free throw shooters but they shot 85.7% in the first half and are 2 of 2 in the second so far. Lead 35-30.
Shaw is controlling the tempo and having its way right now. Have the Golden Bulls on the defensive. And is still hitting its free throws. Jamar Cooper gives Bears biggest lead 39-30 with 15:31 left.
Richardson just picked up his third foul with 14 minutes left. Shaw cannot afford to lose him.
Reed gives Bears a 10-pt lead of 44-34 with 12 minutes left. Smith looks confused but Raston Brown sneaks in a layup - back to eight. But Reed comes up big again. Shaw is getting him the ball in the middle and Shaw can't stop him.
Just can't harp enough on how well Bears are hitting FTs. 48-38 with 10:15 left.
Shaw is just owning the boards right now. They are scrambling for everything, every loose ball, every missed shot. They are playing much more inspired ball than the 'home team" Golden Bulls. Lead up to 52-38 with 9 minutes left. Smith looks like the life has gone out of it.
Shaw's Davion Mize just picked up his 4th foul with 7:42 left. DeAaron Ward just threw down a slam dunk off a Reed miss. Smith can't keep Bears off the boards. But Shaw is getting into foul trouble. Joe Reid now has 3 with 7:12 left.
Time is getting crucial. Shaw leads 56-41 and Smith has gone stone cold. I don't think Shaw has missed a FT in second half. Reid hits 2 more and now it's a 17 pt lead. And the masses start to leave.
Cooper nails a 3 as the shot clock winds down. That's how it's been going. Shaw up 63-44 with 5 minutes left. Cooper just did it again. Shaw is in a semi-stall and Cooper just hits it. Bears up 66-44. Who would have thunk it? Unless a major rally happens, both home teams are out of the tourney on the first night. Not very hospitable of the other teams.
John Savoy just missed a FT. First of the second half. Koron Reed has 15 points and 16 rebounds. Joe Reid has 16 points while Cooper has 12.
An intentional foul was called on a Smith player. Cooper didn't take too kindly to the elbow and had to be restrained. The flagrant was called on Robert Davis III of Smith and technical on Cooper. 2:10 left and I'm ready to go home.
Game over. Shaw wins 76-54. Best performance by Bears since their January win over Bowie State
|Tuesday, February 24, 2015|
|CIAA Tournament - Day One|
It’s snowing in Charlotte. It is so pretty. There were maybe five people here when the first game started between Fayetteville State and Elizabeth City State. With 5 minutes left in the first half, there are maybe 50 now. And the game is what you would expect The Vikings lead 26-17. Ugh! At least it’s not too cold in TWC Arena; normally I need to bring out the fur.
But the Broncos made a brief comeback. Trail just 32-24 at the half. ECSU went cold from the perimeter and that allowed FSU to come back.
Talked to one of the CIAA women’s coaches about the Livingstone situation. He said he does fault coach Anita Howard in that when she first got word that Kyra Crosby “might” be ineligible, she should have pulled Crosby from the lineup right them. Then they wouldn’t have had to forfeit all those games. “But she got greedy,” this person said. “She got used to winning and didn’t want to change things.” We’ll see how the Blue Bears respond later tonight.
I also asked this coach why the Fayetteville State women were so disappointing. He said a bunch of transfers coaches were counting on didn’t qualify.
Broncos have trimmed the lead to six with 7 minutes left. But Vikings rebuild the lead to 11 with less than 3 minutes left in game.
FSU is back again. Trial by 6 with a minute left. Make that four after center Deja Middleton puts in a layup. 52 seconds left.
Looks like a win for the Vikings who are up by 6 with 10.5 seconds left. Game over ECSU wins 61-52.
GAME TWO - WINSTON-SALEM STATE VS. CHOWAN
Winston-Salem State came out blazing with a 12-0 lead but Chowan has scored last 11 points – eight by Alisha Mobley.
Hawks take their first lead with 8:20 left, but Rams get it right back. However, Mobley's 2 FTs give CU lead again. Mobley has 10 of CU's 17 pts.
WSSU's Jeri Craine went down briefly, but gets up and hobbles off the court. 6:06 left.
The teams are playing ping-pong. Four lead changes in the past minute. Rams lead by 2 with 3:l14 left in first half.
This has turned into quite an entertaining game. All tied at 27 with 41.3 left in half. Halftime: 27-27.
HEY, now this is my kind of music: James Brown, Sam and Dave – the REAL stuff. Awwwh!
Kesheria McNeil led the Rams with 11 points, while Mobley had 14. There were 10 lead changes and 5 ties.
And here we go. Conference office issues a statement that it was monitoring the snow condition
Rams score first six points of the half for a 33-27 lead. CU's Rachel Gostomski ends the streak with a 3-pointer.
WSSU playing spirited ball. Has the lead back to 6. Getting production from entire team. Taylar Wells nails a big 3 to give WSSU an 8-pt lead with 14:20 left. Jasmine Carter adds a trey.
There may be 5 media people here, but I have only seen one, other than yours truly. And we couldn't get a parking pass or meal vouchers? For shame, CIAA!!
WSSU has its biggest lead of 11 points with 10:31 left but Mobley gives the Hawks a lift with a putback. Rams have hit 3s on 3 of last 4 possessions.
Chowan has hit 4 straight points to trail by 7.
OH yeah, back to my friend the coach, asked him about Bowie State women's coach Renard Smith getting fired/suspended, whichever story they are telling. He said Smith seemingly had lost interest in the team. He would "just sit in his chair every game and do nothing. Like he could care less." Alumni and students started noticing and finally, according to the coach, the president said "He got to go." Never a dull moment, eh?
Rams lead 54-45 with 7 minutes remaining. Carter makes it a 9-pt margin before Gostomski nails another 3 to cut it to 8 with 6:04 left
McNeil is golden at the FT line. Her last 6 pts have come from the charity stripe. Rams lead by 10 with 5:38 left.
Rams just missed their first FT of second half. Jatzmin Johnson fouled out with 4: 07 left. Just missed a 2nd FT. Probably getting tried. And a third, but lead by 15 with 2:50 left. Would have to collapse to lose this game but that's just what happened last year.
Don't know if I'd call this an upset, OK I will since I thought the Hawks were playing much better. But that's why tourneys are made, as do-overs. Hawks can't even make an uncontested layup. Play just went to the basket and missed. That's the type of half it's been for CU.
Jordan Payne limps off the court with 56.5 seconds left. For their victory, the Rams get to take on Shaw tomorrow at 12:10. Thanks a lot.
GAME THREE - LIVINGSTONE VS. BOWIE STATE
Didn't get to this game and with good reason. Blue Bears led 55-24 at the half and won 91-73. But looking at the bracket, LC and Shaw could meet in the championship. What a doozy that would be. But first things first. More games to play. St. Aug's vs. Virginia Union coming up next.
This is what LC coach Anita Howard had to say in the postgame interview: "I do like to play my bench, and we plan on being here Saturday at 4 p.m. so it was good to get everybody playing time. With all that's happened in the past few days, the girls are super excited to play in the CIAA, and it showed in the first half....The girls had some stuff taken from them that they worked hard for, and numbers being what they are, we're going to play as champions."
Blue Bears take on Johnson C. Smith Wed. at 4:30 pm. Golden Bulls game them their only "loss." Should be a good one.
GAME FOUR - ST. AUG'S VS. VIRGINA UNION
Panthers jump out to a 6-0 lead and now it's 11-2. Do or die for Falcons coach Rachel Bullard.
VUU still leads 19-10 with 9:31 left. Lady Walker has 7 points for Panthers. Love that name. Reminds me of Lady Day. You do know who that is, right?
Ashle Freeman is going off. Has 14 points after back-to-back 3-pointers. 3:30 left in first half and VUU leads 35-25.
Halftime: VUU 40, SAU 28. 15 more minutes.
VUU's Freeman and Walker had 30 of the Panthers 40 first-half points. VUU shot 53.3% from the field and 75% from 3-point range.
The Panthers lead 54-43 with 12:07 left.
Falcons are making a run. Have outscored VUU 7-4 to trim the lad to 7 with 10:12 left. Porscha Walton makes it a 5-point lead. Time out. Sydney Howard's 3 gives VUU an 8-pt lead with 8:24 remaining.
Folks we have a game. Panthers lead by 2and could have tied it but missed a layup. Freeman fouled out with 5 minutes left and VUU has no offense. We are tied after a Terri Jacobs layup with 2:05 left. And it was a bad foul by Freeman.
Panthers make 2 FTs to retake the lead. VUU just got a steal and had a layup rim out. Falcons FT makes it a 1-point lead with 1:19 left.
Falcons take their first lead of the game with 54.6 seconds left. Who will score for VUU? But ShaHadah Barrett is fouled and is at line. Misses first. Makes second and we are tied at 71 with 45 seconds left. Turnover Falcons. VUU gets ball with 32.6 seconds left. Two seconds behind shot clock and game clock.
Trylanda Jennings is fouled with 10.1 seconds. Makes first. Misses but VUU gets the rebound with 8.1 seconds. Taylor White makes first FT. Makes 2nd. 74-71. timeout Falcons.
Game over. Falcons had a good look for a game-tying 3-point but just off the mark. Shame somebody had to lose.
Freeman and Walker combined for 47 of total 74 points. Regime McCombs led SAU wih 20.
GAME FIVE - ECSU VS. ST. AUG'S
As expected, the game is an even affair early on. Falcons lead 10-9. The one could go down to the wire, too.
SAU is hanging on to a 21-16 lead in a low-scoring affair with 5:06 left. Surprised so many people are still here, but it has stopped snowing. Of course, UNC and NC State are playing tonight, but who cares, right?
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Glenn Patterson have closed the Falcons lead to 2. I think fans are still trying to recover from that last women's game. Everybody is kind of blase. But that'll change in the second half.
Quincy January hits a putback as time expires to give Falcons a 31-25 halftime lead. Oops, negate that! Officials went to the monitor and waved the basket off. 29-25.
Since we didn't get any halftime stats, we'll move on to the second half.
January slams home an alley-oop dunk to give Falcons a 33-25 lead. No player is in double figures.
Falcons keep letting Vikings hang around. ECSU down by only 5 with 14:41 left. Did they not learn anything from watching the girls game?
Darrell Ward's layup pulls ECSU to within 3. But Ward fouls and puts SAU into one-and-one with 14 minutes left. Going to be a long game.
January just commits his fourth foul with 13:48 left. Falcons can ill-afford to lose him. Vikings down by 1.
Falcons get the lead back up to 5 with 10:50 left. Make that 8 after a 3-pointer by Anthony Gaskins.
It's 10 minutes left and the score is 43-37. Virginia Union and SAU women had almost that many at halftime. Game is slower than molasses.
Vikings have scored four straight to pull to within 3 with 6:44 left. But Gaskins hits a long 3-pointer as the shot clock winds down. Then ECSU Jermaine Brown fouls out with 6:16 left.
Gaskins just hits another long one as he's falling on his back with the clock winding down. Falcons lead 51-42 with 5:28 left.
Vikings had a chance to cut into Falcons 6-pt lead but blew chance. 1:08 left in game, thankfully.
Falcons win. Maurice Hines named Food Lion MVP. One game to go.
Gaskins led all scorers with 14 pts. Both team shot just 30% from the field. Falcons take on Chowan Wed. at 6:40 p.m.
GAME 6 – SHAW VS. VIRGINA UNION
This should be another close contest and another slow one. 11-9 Shaw leads with 10 minutes already gone. Maybe it's the waiting that takes players out of their rhythm. But with the way the Bears have been playing, I don't think coach Cleo Hill Jr. cares one way or the other how slow the game is if it means a win.
Panthers coach Tony Sheals was the coach at St. Aug's last season. Sheals applied for the VUU job after just one season with the Falcons. Word got out and of course former president Dianne Boardley Suber wasn't thriller. Sheals was released. He ended up getting the VUU job, primarily because the school had released his name to the media and Athletics Director Joe Taylor probably figured he owed it to him. Shaw leads 22-16 with 5 minutes left in first half.
Halftime: Shaw 27, VUU 21.
Bears come out and hit first two baskets to take their biggest lead of 10 points. Quick timeout by Panthers. Shaw makes it a 12-pt lead before Karo Adjekughele converts an old-fashioned 3-pt. play.
Larry Richardson has 11 pts for Shaw. Joe Reid puts the Bears up by 11. The winner of this game will play JC Smith tomorrow night at 8:50 p.m.
John Savoy just took out a front row of chairs but he appears to be OK. Still in the game. Panthers have cut lead to 5 with 14:13 left.
Richardson comes out of a TO and nails a 3. Every time VUU tries to chip award into the lead, Shaw comes right back. But Joe Reid just picked up his fourth foul with 11:11 left in game.
Vikings on another rally. Avery Jirmnson's layup pulls ECUS to 4 with 10:37 left.
Richardson gives Shaw a 6-pt lead. Has 18 for the game. Bears getting into foul trouble.
Jamar Cooper gives Bears back a 10-pt. lead with 7:06 left. But here come the Vikings again with 4 straight points.
Looks like the Bears are going to win this one. Lead 66-54 with 1:48 left, but keep fouling. Why do teams foul when they are ahead? Have never understood it. Richardson has 24 points.
Reed foul out with 10 points. A minute left and Shaw up by 11.
Game over: 77-70 Shaw wins. The final 2 minutes took 15 in dog years.
|Monday, February 23, 2015|
|Get read, get set; tourney time|
And so it begins tomorrow in a long, long day of games. But at least most should be entertaining.
Fayetteville State and Elizabeth City State women open up the tourney at 10 a.m., followed by Winston-Salem State vs. Chowan at 12:10, which won’t start at that time, trust me; then Bowie State and Livingstone, 2:20 p.m. and Virginia Union vs. St. Aug’s, 4:30 p.m. Something tells me the Blue Bears are going to make a statement.
Yes, LC got bumped down again after the gavel finally came down from the conference and NCAA that 18 games had to be nullified. Now, only ONE CIAA women’s team is probably going to advance to the DII playoffs. And LC was ranked No. 1 in the Atlantic Region. What a shame for women’s basketball.
The men open Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. with Elizabeth City State vs. St. Aug’s and Shaw vs. Virginia Union at 8:50.
Then we start all over again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
Reminder: the women’s championship game will be broadcast live Saturday at 4 p.m. on Aspire. The men’s championship will be shown tape delayed on ESPNU but no one has said what time yet. So good to see the women’s game go live.
Awards announced at the CIAA tip-off luncheon: Bowie State’s Darrell Brooks was named men’s coach of the year; Lincoln’s Jessica Kern earned the women’s honor. Chowan men’s basketball had the highest GPA, while the Falcons wins the award again.
|Wednesday, February 18, 2015|
Kyra Crosby has issued a statement regarding Livingstone and her alleged ineligibility. She is asking for reinstatement. Also, the Blue Bears' wins also have been reinstated until official due process. Livingstone is ranked No. 1 in the Atlantic Region by the NCAA. Read Crosby's letter here.
|Saturday, February 14, 2015|
|Livingstone plays ineligible player|
It's official! Livingstone has been penalized for playing Georgia State transfer Kyra Crosby who was deemed ineligible. Read President Jimmy Jenkins' letter here.
|Thursday, February 12, 2015|
|What people are talking about – 2/12|
Gov. Pat McCrory has nominated Dr. Linda Morrison Combs of Winston-Salem State as the next State Controller. Combs was first appointed to the position last May. “Dr. Combs has done an exceptional job as steward of North Carolina taxpayer dollars,” McCrory said. “Our fiscal health is strong and stable in large part to her leadership and oversight, and I look forward to the continuation of her great work.”
McCrory also made two District Court judge appointments: Steve Messick in the 15A Judicial District and Richard Holloway in the 25th District.
• According to the National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consume Spending Survey, the average person will spend $142.31 on Valentine’s Day. That’s up from $133.91 last year. The hype is on.
• Don’t answer the phone if the area code is 876. The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers that calls from this area code have been liked to the latest phone scam where victims are told they have won the Jamaican lottery. (Now, if you’ve never played the Jamaican lottery, chances are you haven’t won.) The hook is when the victim is asked to pay a several thousand dollars in taxes and fees before collecting winnings. (The lottery automatically takes out taxes BEFORE you get your money.) Call 1-877-FTC-HELP to complain.
• And in the Be Very Afraid department, eight seats are up for election on the UNC Board of Governors. Deadline for nominations is Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. Republicans must be salivating.
|Williams dishes out advice|
At St. Aug’s football signing day last Wednesday, Athletics Director George Williams gave a passionate speech to members of the football team. He told them about a white track coach who, after receiving an award at a ceremony, thanked Williams. Coach wondered why the man was thanking him since they were rivals.
Williams said the coach told a story about a track meet they were both competing at during Williams’ early years as coach. Every time St. Aug’s won an event – which were many – the officials would disqualify them. Finally, a frustrated Williams asked why were his runners being disqualified. He was told it was because the team wasn’t wearing uniforms with St. Augustine’s written on them.
The college couldn’t afford track uniforms so they were shirts that said “Physical Education.” But, get this, instead of just disqualifying them from the start, they waited until they won.
Williams said the coach told him that that was when he realized that it’s not what’s on the outside but the inside that counts. And that same sentiment was what Williams wanted to convey to the players.
“Look at yourselves; you are here, so make the best of what you got,” he said. “People are going to see what’s in that uniform. You represent St. Aug’s. This year is our year. We have five home games, and help is on the way. What are you going to do with it?”
|Friday, February 6, 2015|
|St. Aug's FB Signing Day|
For one horrifying moment, I thought I was in the wrong gymnasium. That a college president would actually want to meet me AND shake my hand instead of trying to set me on fire was a new experience.
But there was St. Augustine’s interim president Everett B. Ward, standing patiently by as I interviewed one of the Falcons’ new recruits Wednesday on National Signing Day. “It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Ward said. PLEASURE?! “If there is every anything I can do for you, don’t hesitate to call.”
But the entire Falcons football staff was gracious on Wednesday. Maybe it was because The Tribune was the only outside media to show up.
It is a new day at SAU. Permanent football coach Michael Morand is as polite and open as they come. With the interim tag off, Morand could delight in calling the 2015 squad “his team.”
“Tonight is special to me because it is my first recruiting class,” he said. “We met our needs on the offensive line (how many coaches say that) and expect you guys to step up.” “You guys” meant most of the returnees who were in attendance at the Martin Luther King Center on campus. Morand still has to complete his staff, however. He said he needs a defensive coordinator, a defensive line coach and is in the process of hiring another assistant soon.
Morand introduced 14 recruits of mostly freshmen, including Southern Durham OL Eric Allen and defensive end Montreal Cherry. Two newcomers he particularly mentioned that would compete for the starting job were Virginia Military Institute OL Jaron Rice at left tackle and Shepherd University quarterback Darryl Johnson, who also attended Delaware State. Johnson is listed at 5-foot-11, but I’m 5-foot-7 and he isn’t too much taller than I am.
Johnson said he’s out to prove critics wrong. “They say I’m too short and I’m out to prove them wrong.”
Ward, in his enthusiastic voice, asked the players that even if they lost every other game, “Who must you beat?” They chimed back “EVERYBODY!” Uh no, he meant S-H-A-W!
And speaking of…
The Bears release eight signee names, with more expected. Obviously times are tight as all eight are high-schoolers. Two – fullback James Taylor and kicker/punter Leonardo Orozco – are from Southern, and one – WR Raymond Green – from Hillside. All positions except for one are on offense. That’s not going to cut it if the Bears expect to get back to championship contention.
|Thursday, February 5, 2015|
|HBCU Football Signees - updated 2/11|
• For a look at the MEAC's recruitment list, visit http://www.meacsports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=20800&ATCLID=209875566.
• N.C. A&T coach Rod Broadway has picked some good ones since taking over at the Aggies. Read about them at http://www.ncataggies.com//ViewArticle.dbml?SPID=74503&DB_OEM_ID=24500&ATCLID=209877308.
• For a look at the SIAC recruits, visit here.
• For a look at the SWAC recruits, visit here.
|Thursday, January 29, 2015|
|What people are talking about, 1/30|
In a conversation sure to cause much debate, Forbes magazine ranks Raleigh No. 2 in economic opportunity for blacks. The criteria are based on three factors: homeownership, entrepreneurship and income. Atlanta is No. 1. Charlotte is tied for Baltimore, Maryland at No. 4.
• Hate standing in line at the DMV? You’ll now have longer to wait. Raleigh is one of three cities to participate in a pilot program to expand agency hours. The DMV office at 1100 New Bern Avenue is now open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
• Employment is getting more dangerous. North Carolina had 44 work-related deaths last year. That’s 21 more than in 2013. Construction accounted for 19 of the 44 fatalities. “These deaths are tragic,” Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said in a statement. “The average age was 43, must too young to become a workplace statistic.”
• Where are Republicans? Former Republican state Rep. Stephen LaRoque of Kinston pleaded guilty this week to stealing $150,000 from East Carolina Development Company, a federally-funded nonprofit founded to help small rural businesses. How greedy. This is one reason why the wealth gap is growing: the rich keep stealing from the poor.
|Wednesday, January 28, 2015|
|Sports news and notes, 1/28|
Norfolk State senior linebacker Lynden Trail had a solo tackle and almost a sack in last weekend’s prestigious Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Trail, the first Spartan to participate in the bowl, displayed versatility by lining up at defensive end, outside linebacker and inside linebacker, and special teams. He will participate in the NFL Scouting Combine Feb. 17-23 in Indianapolis.
• 1,000 club. Prairie View guard Montrael Scott joined the 1000-point club Saturday after scoring 18 points against Mississippi Valley State. Scott is the first player under head coach Byron Rimm to reach the milestone. The Dallas native is averaging a team-leading 15.1 points per game.
• HBCU proud. Several HBCU alumni will be on showcase in Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between New England and Seattle:
• WR Brian Tyms, Florida A&M
• QB Tarvaris Jackson, Alabama State
• WR Ricardo Lockette, Ft. Valley State
• OG Nate Isles, N.C. A&T is on the practice squad. Whether he travels is a team decision.
• TE Rashawn Allen, Southern, also on the practice squad
• Aggie Pride. Former N.C. A&T basketball coach Gene Littles is one of 10 new members to be inducted into the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame. The ceremony is May 15 at the Raleigh Convention Center. Littles is High Point College’s (now University) all-time leading scorer with 2,398 points. He began a coaching career after playing professionally for six seasons. He led the Aggies to back-to-back MEAC titles in 1978 and ’79. Visit ncsportshalloffame.org for more information.
|Friday, January 23, 2015|
|Sports news and notes, 1/23|
It may not be national television, but the Jan. 17 matchup between N.C. A&T State and Hampton women on ESPN3 was the perfect matchup for TV. The game was close throughout and showcased two of the best HBCU women’s teams in the country. Hampton is not about to give up its five-time title without a fight.
And speaking of broadcasts, Aspire Network is televising 12 CIAA games this season. Last Saturday’s Lincoln at Bowie State game was TV at its best. The most inspiring aspect of the schedule is the CIAA women’s championship game will be broadcast live. ‘Bout time. Also back is “Inside the Game,” featuring Stan Lewter at 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays. The only sports highlight show for HBCUs has gotten so much better. I remember when somebody named Buster Brown was the host on BET. Embarrassing!
• Football schedules are being released. Elizabeth City State will host Winston-Salem State in the 18th annual Down East Viking Football Classic Sept. 26 at 4 p.m. Eastern North Carolina fans should be in for a treat.
Norfolk State has a tough non-conference schedule under new coach Latrell Scott. The Spartans open against Rutgers Set. 5; travel crosstown to rival Old Dominion the following week; and finish the three-week stretch at Marshall.
• Alabama A&M recently signed five junior college transfers on National Junior College Signing Day. De’Angelo Ballard is a quarterback from Southwest Mississippi CC who has 4.5 speed. Offensive tackle Derrick Isaac of Pearl River CC is 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds. Defensive end Ryan Ducksworth finished in the top 20 in sacks in 2013 for Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Defensive back Jamal Veazey of Holmes CC recorded 80 tackles, two interceptions, two fumble recovers and four pass breakups last season. Defensive lineman Demerrius Williams of Mississippi Delta CC also plays baseball and basketball.
|Thursday, January 15, 2015|
|What people are talking about – 1/15|
Gov. Pat McCrory and Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane announced a deal to sell the Dorothea Dix property to the Raleigh. Under the terms, the state will keep using the buildings that house the Department of Health and Human Services. The 307 acres’ purchase price is $52 million. Approval is still pending by the N.C. Council of State and the Raleigh City Council.
Those insurance companies are at it again. This time they are requesting a rate increase for mobile home policies from as low as 0.8 percent to a whopping 20.5 percent effective Aug. 1. Written public comments are being accepted now through Feb. 9 at: NCDOI, Attn: Bob Mack, Property & Casualty Division, 1201 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1201; or emailed to email@example.com.
|Friday, January 9, 2015|
|News and notes, 1/9|
Associate Justice Bob Hunter Jr. got a new job for the new year. Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Hunter to the N.C. Court of Appeals after his term on the N.C. Supreme Court ended Dec. 31. He fills the vacancy created by Judge Sam J. Ervin IV who became an associate justice of the N.C. Supreme Court.
Also appointed was V.A. “Woofer” Davidian of Wake County as a District Court judge. Davidian fills the vacancy created by Judge Jennifer Knox who is now the new Wake County Clerk of Superior Court.
• Mo’ money. The toll rate for the Triangle Expressway increased Jan. 1 to 14 cents one way for Quick Pass customers and 22 cents for bill-by-mail folks. That may not sound like much but do it enough times and you’ll feel a difference in the pocketbook.
• Silent killer. Colder weather and space heaters bring radon warnings. Radon is odorless and colorless gas that is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Visit www.ncradon.org to order a free test kit. Always, better safe than sorry.