HBCU Sports Spotlight
By Uba Okereke
Men’s Basketball: Texas Southern defeats UAPB 50-43, now 6-0
Texas Southern University (TSU) defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff (UAPB) 50-43 to remain the lone undefeated team in conference play. Senior Travele Jones’ 15 points was the key to the Tigers success. This was the second win for TSU against UAPB in the last 5 seasons.
The first half was a defensive struggle for both teams. TSU jumped out to a 5-0 lead before UAPB got the offensive juices flowing and led by 11 with 6:32 remaining. The Tigers fought back to close the deficit to one (19-18) and trailed at halftime 21-18. Texas Southern shot an abysmal 19 percent from the field while the Golden Lions shot a subpar 34 percent.
The second half was a whole different ball game for the Tigers. They increased the defensive intensity and set half-court traps that forced countless UAPB turnovers. TSU battled back offensively and led 30-25 with about 14 minutes to play. They never relinquished the lead for the rest of the game. The Tigers then increased the lead to 10 (44-34) with about 5:25 remaining. They held off UAPB for a seven point win.
Senior Travele Jones led the charge as the only player in double figures. He also had six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Guard Kevin Galloway had nine points, six rebounds and three assists. Twenty-three of the Tigers’ 50 points came from the free-throw line. Texas Southern improves to 6-0 in conference play and avenges a heartbreaking loss to the Golden Lions in the 2010 SWAC Tournament Championship game.
Women’s Basketball: Lady Tigers lose close to UAPB
Texas Southern was defeated by UAPB 65-59 to continue the conference slide at 0-6.
The Lady Tigers were down by 14 early in the second half before senior guard Sierra Highgate hit a game-changing bucket to cut the lead to 41-34. TSU then went on a 10-2 scoring run and finally taking a lead following two free throws at 44-43.
Texas Southern scored in between a UAPB basket to increase the lead to three with over nine minutes to play. Senior center Gabrielle Rosiji added a basket and a free throw to give the Lady Tigers a 51-47 lead. UAPB battled back to tie the game at 53 before NaDosha Strickland put TSU back up by two with 4:17 remaining. The Tigers never scored after the made basket as UAPB went on a 9-0 scoring run to end the game.
The Lady Tigers outscored UAPB 20-0 from the bench and had a 10-4 edge in points off of turnovers. Rosiji ended the night with a double-double (20 points, 16 rebounds). Strickland chipped in with 11 points.
Guard Jasmine Cannon joined the TSU record books as becoming the sixth player with 700 points and 200 assists.
CIAA Declines Offer of NAACP Boycott
The commissioner of the CIAA issued a statement in support of Charlotte, N.C. and those opposed to the NAACP’s demand for the athletic conference and other entities to avoid the city of Charlotte. The city’s NAACP chapter recently met to discuss a potential boycott in lieu of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (CMS) school district’s decision to use Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2011 as a make-up snow day.
Mayor Anthony Foxx says he is strongly opposed with any effort by the NAACP to seek a boycott of major events in Charlotte and disagrees with the depiction of the city as a “racist city.” Foxx responded to comments made by Charlotte NAACP President Kojo Nantambu, who called the city a “racist bastion.”
In addition, Nantambu and other city leaders have battled CMS over its potential plans to close some inner-city school during the 2011-2012 academic year as the city faces budget cuts. Foxx however agrees with Nantambu in that it was a poor decision to use MLK Day as a snow makeup day.
The CIAA is not swayed by the apparent boycott call by the NAACP and plans to hold its annual basketball tournament in Charlotte from Feb. 28-March 5. Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon says that the efforts by the NAACP to boycott Charlotte is a mere mistake.
The CMS said its academic calendar was set last year and the public has many chances to offer suggestions for possible changes.
Alcorn State hires Alabama State Offensive Coordinator as Head Coach
Alabama State offensive coordinator Melvin Spears accepted a head coaching position with Alcorn State University. Spears helped the Hornets generate enough offense to become SWAC East champions this past season.
He was one of three finalists for the job after outgoing coach Earnest Collins left to take the job at Northern Colorado. Former Alcorn offensive lineman Dwayne White and former Alcorn quarterback Fred McNair also were finalists for the job.
Spears, a former Alcorn quarterback in his own right, became a national sensation for his impressive passing game when he called the offensive plays at Grambling State. They went on to win three consecutive Black college championships from 2000-2002 and their most recent SWAC title in 2005. Spears is the second offensive assistant in less than a week to leave the Alabama State program. Running backs coach Vyron Brown took a similar job with Prairie View A&M.
MEAC Announces 2011 Hall of Fame Class
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) announced that the 2011 class will be formally introduced during a brunch on March 11 at the M.C. Benton, Jr. Convention Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The MEAC Hall of Fame is comprised of former student-athletes, coaches, university and/or conference administrators as well as special contributors who have enhanced the legacy of the conference since its birth in 1969. Inductees are chosen by an 11-person committee of administrators from member institutions.
The first Hall of Fame class was inducted on May 29, 1981, during a 10-year anniversary banquet in Greensboro, N.C. Since its inception, the Hall has enshrined 108 people, including the 2011 class.
The 2011 inductees as student-athletes are Earl Holmes (Florida A&M), Stephen Stewart (Coppin State), and Natalie White (Florida A&M). The inductees as a head coach are James Phillips (Morgan State) and Sanya Tyler (Howard).