Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Defense Lead A-State to 69-55 Win at Miss. St.


Article by Arkansas State

STARKVILLE, Miss.Sean Gardner scored 22 points and the A-State defense held Mississippi State to a 32.3 shooting percentage from the field as the Arkansas State men’s basketball squad defeated the Bulldogs 69-55 at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Miss., Wednesday night for its first win over a Southeastern Conference program since the 2004-05 season.
The win improves Arkansas State to 3-4 overall on the young season and was the first win over a SEC team since its home victory over Ole Miss 70-68 on Dec. 1, 2004.  It was A-State’s first win on the road against a team from the SEC since a 74-69 at Ole Miss on Nov. 24, 2003 and the Red Wolves’ first win over Mississippi State since the 1955-56 season.
Gardner scored 14 of his 22 points in the second half and hit four three-pointers to help seal the victory for the Red Wolves.  He finished 8-14 from the field and hit 5-10 from beyond the arc, while Cameron Golden (15) and Nouhoum Bocoum (13) also ended the game in double figures.  Bocoum grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and PJ Hardwick dished out a game-high seven of the team’s 13 assists. 
A-State held the Bulldogs (5-4) to 21-65 from the field, including a 3-17 (17.6 percent) mark from three-point range.  The Red Wolves finished with 39 rebounds to MSU’s 33 and the A-State starters outscored the Bulldogs’ by a count of 65-15.  Roquez Johnson led Mississippi State with 20 points off the bench, as the Bulldogs outscored A-State’s bench 40-4.
“We’re getting better and it’s just a good win for us to come into an SEC team’s place,” A-State head coach John Brady said.  “We really executed well for the most part and I thought Cameron Golden and Sean Gardner made some big baskets for us.  Nohoum Bocoum is playing better also and we held our own on the boards.  I’m really proud of our players and how they were able to play tonight.”
A-State raced out to a 12-point advantage (46-34) after a Gardner’s second shot from three-point territory early in the second half, but the Bulldogs cut the deficit to eight 46-38 on a Johnson jumper.  However, Gardner connected on a three-pointer the next possession to put the Red Wolves up by 11.  Mississippi State was able to get within seven on an I.J. Ready three-pointer at 51-44, but the Bulldogs never got closer.
Two free throws by Bocoum and a Golden layup after a steal extended A-State’s lead back to 11 at 55-44 with just under eight minutes remaining.  Gardner’s final three of the evening put A-State up 60-48 a minute later, but Mississippi State was able to get within single digits at 64-55 with just under three minutes left in the contest.  However, the Bulldogs wouldn’t score again and Hardwick connected on five free throws to set the final score of 69-55.
“We’re just learning how to play with each other and we have a lot of offensive weapons, it just happened to be my night,” Gardner said.  “My teammates helped me get open because they draw a lot of attention to themselves so it allows them to skip it to me for a wide-open shot.”
A-State opened the game on a 12-4 run with Golden and Bocoum providing all 12 points, but an 11-0 Mississippi State run put the score at 15-12 early.  The Red Wolves battled back to take a 22-21 edge on a Gardner three-pointer with 8:40 remaining in the first period and wouldn’t surrender the advantage the rest of the half.  A-State finished the half on a 16-6 run and took a 35-27 lead into the locker room.
The Red Wolves shot an even 50 percent (14-28) in the half and outrebounded the Bulldogs 21-18.  A-State also hit four three-pointers to Mississippi State’s one.  Golden led the Red Wolves at the half with 11 points and was 3-5 from beyond the arc.
Arkansas State returns to action Saturday, Dec. 20 in its final home non-conference game of the season against Marshall.  The contest is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

Begic Earns Honorable Mention AVCA All-America Honors


Article by UALR Sports Information
LITTLE ROCK – Senior outside hitter Edina Begic has been named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division I Honorable Mention All-America team, the association announced on Wednesday. Begic picks up the honor after being named to the AVCA All-Southwest Region team last week.
The honor marks the second straight season Begic has garnered Honorable Mention All-America status from the AVCA. She became the first player in program history to earn the distinction as a junior in 2013.
Begic wrapped up one of the most decorated careers in UALR history by winning her third straight Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year award and leading the Trojans to 2014 Sun Belt Regular Season and Tournament championships. UALR became the first school to ever compile a perfect 20-0 record in SBC play during the 2014 season. The team’s 25-match win streak that spanned from Sept. 12-Dec. 5 was the longest in the nation and the longest of any UALR team, regardless of sport, in the athletic department’s history.
Begic helped the Trojans top No. 16 seed Kansas in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in Topeka, Kan., on Dec. 5. The five-set win was the UALR volleyball program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament victory.
Begic picked up eight SBC Offensive Player of the Week honors during the 2014 season, breaking her own record of seven set during the 2013 campaign. She joined teammates Sonja Milanovic and Edina Selimovic on the All-SBC First Team.
Begic finishes her UALR career as the greatest hitter in program history. Her 2,189 kills rank first on UALR’s career list and are fourth-most all-time in the Sun Belt and second-most in the rally-scoring era. Begic also finished as the NCAA Division I active career kills leader.

A-State Football Signs Six Midyear JUCO Transfers



Article by Arkansas State Photo by Hannah Dolle
JONESBORO, Ark. – Arkansas State head football coach Blake Anderson announced Wednesday that six junior college standouts, including four defensive and two offensive players from four different states, have all signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Red Wolves.
The midyear signees include offensive linemen Joseph Bacchus (Itawamba CC) and Brandon Berg (Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College), defensive backs Cody Brown (Independence CC) and Allen Sentimore (East Mississippi CC), and defensive linemen Waylon Roberson (New Mexico Military Institute) and Jake Swalley (Highland CC).  All six players will have two years of eligibility remaining at A-State and will be able to practice with the team during its spring camp.
The 6-5, 285-pound Bacchus earned second team All-Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) recognition in 2014 as a sophomore, helping lead Itawamba (Miss.) Community College to 3,214 yards total offense for a 351.1 average per game.  Rated a three-star recruit by 247Sports.com, which also ranks him as the No. 5 junior college guard in the nation, Bacchus was also recruited by schools such as Georgia Southern, Southern Miss, Louisiana-Lafayette and Southern Mississippi.  Before starting his collegiate career, he played at Southaven (Miss.) High School.
Berg, who stands 6-2 and weighs 275 pounds, was a two-year starter at center for NEO A&M College, earning honorable mention All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference (SWJCFC) honors as a freshman in 2013 before receiving first-team accolades in 2014.  He was a three-year varsity starter at Tulsa (Okla.) Union High School, where he also played rugby.
Brown spent the last two seasons at Independence (Kan.) Community College as a safety, earning All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) honors both years.  His sophomore campaign saw him register 39 tackles (32 solo), 1.5 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, two interceptions and nine pass break-ups.  He was responsible for two touchdowns, including one on a fumble return and the other on an interception return.  He ranked 20th in the nation in pass break-ups and his 32 solo stops ranked 20th in the conference.
A four-year varsity letterman at Bellville High School, where he was an all-district choice and also a three-sport letterman, Brown is rated as a three-star recruit by 247 Sports and Rivals.com.  He is listed as the No. 14 junior college safety in the nation by 247Sports and was also recruited by schools such as Memphis, Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss and North Texas.
A 6-2, 340-pound defensive lineman transferring from New Mexico Military Institute, Roberson was named second team All-Western States Football League (WSFL) as a sophomore after recording 37 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and one blocked kick.  A former first team All-District 2-5A choice at Midland Lee High School in Midland, Texas, Roberson posted a season-high six tackles and five more in six contests this past season for NMMI.
Sentimore helped lead East Mississippi Community College to a 12-0 record and NJCAA national championship as a sophomore in 2014, earning MACJC All-State/North Division First Team recognition after recording a team-high seven interceptions that tied the fifth most in the nation.  Additionally, the 6-0, 180-pound defensive back from Laurel, Miss., recorded 43 tackles (37 solo), one tackle for loss, one forced fumble and eight pass break-ups.
The 6-2, 285-pound Swalley will come to A-State after helping lead Highland (Kan.) Community College to a 6-5 record in 2014 when he was named an honorable mention All-KJCCC pick.  He registered 25 tackles, four sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one pass break-up and one block for Highland this past season.  Swalley is listed as a three-star recruit by 247Sports.com, which also lists him as the No. 14 junior college defensive tackle in the nation.  He was a Class 6A All-State selection at Blue Valley Northwest (Kan.) High School.

BEARS FILL NEEDS WITH EIGHT MID-YEAR TRANSFERS


 Article posted by Arkansas Journal.
 CONWAY, Ark. _ The University of Central Arkansas football coaching staff filled some needs Wednesday by adding eight mid-year transfers to the Bears' roster.

    The  newcomers include three wide receivers, two tight ends, two defensive linemen and one linebacker. The Bears lost seniors at all of those positions, including All-Southland Conference players Dezmin Lewis at receiver, T.J. Randall at noseguard and Blake Childress at linebacker.

    "We signed some guys that will definitely be able to come in and fill some holes and be impact players for us,' said UCA head coach Steve Campbell. "We lost some outstanding wide receivers, and the tight end position was hit hard by graduation. And we were able to fill both those spots with players that we feel are going to come in and be outstanding players in our program.

    "We added some much-need size on the defensive line and some play-making ability there. We're very pleased with that.'

    The newcomers include: wide receiver Jacquez McMillian from Goshen, Ala., and Itawamba Community College; wide receiver Brady Moore from Marysville, Kan., and Butler Community College; tight end Zach Gougler from Galena, Kan., and Fort Scott Community College; tight end Scott Matiaha from Thomas, Okla., and Northeastern Oklahoma Community College; linebacker Raphael Garner from Thomasville (Ala.) High School; defensive lineman Rostell King from Piper, Kan., and Highland Community College; defensive lineman Javian Williams from Coffeyville Community College, and wide receiver Brandon Cox from Conway High School and Arkansas State.

    "It will be great to have these guys in the off-season program and to get a spring training under their belts,' said Campbell,  "so they'll be ready to roll on Sept. 3 when we open up at Samford.'

• JACQUEZ McMILLIAN      
6-4, 200, WR, ITAWAMBA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, MISS.
     GOSHEN HIGH SCHOOL, ALA
.
-  JC Gridiron #17 ranked receiver
-  247 Sports 3-star receiver
-  14th ranked receiver in junior college
-  Rivals 3-star receiver
    ITAWAMBA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, MISS.
- 48 catches for 818 yards, 8 touchdowns in two seasons

• BRADY MOORE      
6-6, 225, WR, BUTLER COMMUNITY COLLEGE, KANSAS.
     MARYSVILLE HIGH SCHOOL, KAN.

- Team captain
-  2011-12 All-League receiver
-  2011-12 All-State receiver
-  national underclassmen Top 100 wide receiver
- Elite 15 National wide receiver
-  Tom Lemmings Prep Report Top Player in the Nation
- 200-meter school record holder (21.8)
-  100-meter regional track champion (10.5)
 - Rivals 2-star
     BUTLER COMMUNITY COLLEGE.
- 30 catches for 800 yards, 6 touchdowns

• ZACH GOUGLER
6-4, 255, TE, FORT SCOTT COMMUNITY COLLEGE, KANSAS.
     GALENA HIGH SCHOOL, KAN.

- 3-time All-CNC Conference player at wide receiver and linebacker.
- 3-time All-State tight end and linebacker.
- selected for Kansas Shrine Bowl
-  Kansas Preps All-Class linebacker
     FORT SCOTT COMMUNITY COLLEGE.
- All-Conference tight end 2013-14
-  16 receptions for 250 yards
-  averaged 15.6 yard per catch
-  noted as a blocking tight end

• SCOTT MATIAHA
6-4, 250, TE, NORTHEASTERN OKLAHOMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, OKLAHOMA.
     THOMAS HIGH SCHOOL, OKLA.

- Top 100 players in Oklahoma
-  Mr. Football in Oklahoma in 2012
    NORTHEASTERN OKLAHOMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE.
- 1st-team All-American NJCAA
-  1st-team All-Conference tight end
-  25 catches for 500 yards, averaged 20 yards a reception, 2 touchdowns

• RAPHAEL GARNER      
6-3, 235, LB, THOMASVILLE HIGH SCHOOL, ALA..
     THOMASVILLE HIGH SCHOOL, ALA
.
- 3.4 GPA Honors student
- ASWA All-State team
- 126 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 INT's, 1 fumble recovery as senior
- 210 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 2 INTs for his career

• ROSTELL KING          
6-3, 300, DL, HIGHLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE, KANSAS.
     PIPER HIGH SCHOOL, KAN.

-  2nd-team All-Jayhawk defensive lineman
- 65 tackles, 12 TFLs, 3 sacks, 1 INT for a touchdown
- state champion wrestler 270 lbs.
- All-American Greco-Roman wrestler
- 2-time state qualifing wrestler
- school-record holder for most pins.
     HIGHLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE.
- 35 tackles, 12 TFLs, 5 sacks

• JAVIAN WILLIAMS  
6-3, 370, DL, COFFEYVILLE COMMUNITY COLLEGE, KANSAS.
     COFFEYVILLE COMMUNITY COLLEGE.

- 25 tackles at defensive line position
- 6 tackles for loss, 2 sacks
- 2nd -team All-Jayhawk Conference defensive tackle

• BRANDON COX      
5-9, 180, WR, ARKANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY, CONWAY HIGH SCHOOL.
     CONWAY HIGH SCHOOL.

- 2-year All-State wide receiver for the Wampus Cats
- 2 -year All-Conference wide receiver
- school-record receiving yards at Conway High School
     ARKANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY
- 30 receptions for 300 yards

SCHNARS NAMED AVCA ALL-AMERICAN HONORABLE MENTION


Article posted by Arkansas Journal
Conway – The American Volleyball Coaches' Association has released its All-America teams. Junior Heather Schnars, who was named the Southland Conference's Player of the Year, became the first Central Arkansas player to be recognized for the prestigious award, earning honorable mention.

Schnars, from Downey, California, became eligible for the AVCA All-America team when she was named to the AVCA All-South Region team earlier this month. She ranked second in the SLC with 425 kills and an average of 4.21 kills per set. The outside hitter, who was named to the SLC All-Tournament team following the Sugar Bears' run to the SLC Championship match,  also ranked in the top-10 in the league in hitting percentage (.300) and service aces per set (0.36). Nationally, she ranked 32nd in points per set (4.79), 33rd in kills per set, and 39th in total kills while earning SLC Offensive Player of the Week honors four times.

"We played a very difficult out of conference schedule, which included seven schools that advanced to the NCAA Tournament," said Central Arkansas head coach David McFatrich. "Heather was rock solid in those matches. She hit an amazing .300 on the year, and was even better in SLC play. We're very grateful our program is put in a position for academic and athletic success, and will work hard so others might follow in Heather's footsteps."

McFatrich continued, saying, "We don't view this as a 'Heather' award, or even a volleyball award. Instead, we view this as a University of Central Arkansas honor, and I couldn't be happier for our great university today."

Hays Named AVCA All-America Honorable Mention


Article by Zach Lawson  Photo by Walt Beazley
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For the third-consecutive season, the University of Arkansas volleyball team has collected an AVCA All-America honor with Wednesday’s selection of senior Meredith Hays. Hays has been recognized as an Honorable Mention performer for the second All-America certificate of her Razorback career. She joins Jasmine Norton (2009-12) as the second two-time All-American in program history.
The three-year run of All-Americans is the longest streak in program history. With their latest addition, the Razorbacks have now collected six All-America accolades under head coach Robert Pulliza. Overall, Arkansas Volleyball now has 11 All-America selections spread among nine student-athletes. Hays was previously honored this season as a member of the All-SEC Team and AVCA All-South Region First Team.
The list of Arkansas’ All-Americans also includes Jessica Field (1997), Kim Storey (1998), Sara Kincaid (2003), Roberta Tarnauskaite (2003), Denitza Koleva (2006), Norton (2009, 2012), Roslandy Acosta (2012) and Raymariely Santos (2013). Hays earned her first All-America honor following the 2013 season. 
Hays finished her senior year averaging an SEC-leading 4.34 kills per set, which also ranks 22nd in the NCAA. With 521 kills during the 2014 campaign, she became just the eighth-ever Razorback to reach 500 kills in a single season. Her 4.34 kills per set ranks fifth on the program’s single-season list and stands as the highest by an Arkansas attacker since the 2000 season. Hays is also third in the SEC and 29th in the country with 4.79 points per set.
The Hereford, Texas, native tallied double-digit kills in 29 of 31 matches this season including 10 20-kill performances. She capped the season with a match-high 21 kills at No. 15 Kentucky and completed her 13th double-double of the year with 10 digs. Hays established career highs during the 2014 season with 29 kills against Oral Roberts (Sept. 9) and 18 digs the next match against South Dakota (Sept. 12).
Aside from her attacking prowess, Hays averaged 2.48 digs per set and finished second on the team with 21 aces. She posted a career high with four service aces at Tennessee (Nov. 26). Hays also had seven matches during the course of the season with three or more blocks including a career-best seven blocks against SMU (Sept. 14).

Razorbacks Add Defensive Lineman for 2015


Article by Allie Raymond  File Photo by John Neuman
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema announced Wednesday that junior college defensive lineman Jeremiah Ledbetter (@leddy_55) has signed a National Letter of Intent and will join the Razorbacks in January. A four-star recruit according to Rivals.com, Ledbetter has spent the past two seasons at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.
A first-team All-Jayhawk Conference selectee, Ledbetter completed his sophomore campaign at Hutchinson with 76 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, nine quarterback hurries and two recovered fumbles. Ledbetter concluded his sophomore season as a second-team National Junior College Athletic Association All-American.
A native of Orlando, Florida, Ledbetter finished his senior year of high school at Gainesville (Ga.) High School, the same high school as Arkansas senior linebacker Daunte Carr. Ledbetter then redshirted his freshman year with the Blue Dragons.
Ledbetter selected the Razorbacks over offers from Georgia, Oklahoma State, Florida, South Carolina, Auburn and Miami (Fla.).
“Jeremiah is another fantastic addition to our growing 2015 class,” said Bielema. “He will bring experience and physicality to our defensive line and joins a group of outstanding future Razorbacks that will make an immediate impact with our team. The sky is the limit with Jeremiah and we can’t wait to see what he’ll bring during spring practice on and off the field.”
According to Rivals.com, Arkansas’ 2015 signing class ranks No. 20 in the nation. Ledbetter joins quarterback Ty Storey (@tystorey4), offensive lineman Zach Rogers (@HebronHawks75), defensive end Daytrieon Dean (@_dwoop) and defensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt (@Y3llur) as Arkansas’ early signees that will enroll January.
Arkansas will travel to Houston to take on the Texas Longhorns in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl. The SEC/BIG12 matchup will take place at NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday, Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. and will be nationally televised on ESPN.
Tickets to see Arkansas in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl are available at ARKANSASRAZORBACKS.com and fans can find more information on the game at the Bowl Central page at www.arkrazor.com/bowl.