Bucs fans travel from all over for first postseason home game

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Sunday was the first chance Bucs fans had to see a playoff game at Raymond James Stadium since 2008, and they came out in droves.

Jeff and Angie Faulk are season ticket holders. They drive to Tampa from Cape Coral every home game.

“The fans are outstanding, the other team is crazy,” Faulk said. “We got the goat, and the Gronk.”

They joined thousands of fans Sunday who were just as energetic outside Raymond James Stadium as they were inside.

Some households were divided. James Croi, a Bucs fan, came to the game with his wife’s cousin, an Eagles fan.”

“We have little inside jokes here and there,” James Martinez said.

Croi recently moved back to Tampa after living in Denver the last 15 years, and the Wild Card game is his first game back.

“I’m hoping we take it all the way,” Croi said. “Lightning did it so why not so let’s do it here.”

The Bucs won 31-15 and will advance for another home game next weekend.

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Bulls vs. Celtics – Game Recap – January 15, 2022

BOSTON — — Robert Williams hit a pair of free throws with 9.7 seconds left and the Boston Celtics scored the final eight points to edge the Chicago Bulls 114-112 on Saturday night.

Williams, who tied it at 112 with two foul shots with 31 seconds to go, finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Boston rallied after trailing 112-106 with 1:57 to play.

Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Jaylen Brown scored 19 points and Dennis Schroder had 16 points and eight assists for Boston.

Nikola Vucevic had 27 points for Chicago and rookie Ayo Dosunmu scored a career-high 21 points and added 10 assists. DeMar DeRozan, who missed a shot at the buzzer that could have tied it for the Bulls, scored 23.

Chicago was coming off a 138-96 loss at home to Golden State on Friday night and lost for the fourth time in five games. The Bulls couldn’t hold off the Celtics down the stretch despite numerous mistakes by Boston, which led 54-49 at halftime and 84-83 after a tight third quarter.

The Celtics faltered down the stretch with several mistakes, including a bad pass by Tatum, a traveling call on Brown and an offensive foul committed by Tatum. But Chicago couldn’t quite close out the Celtics, who still had a chance after Brown hit from the corner to pull the Celtics within 112-110 with 1:06 left.

Malcolm Hill missed a shot for Chicago and Williams drew a foul at the other end, tying it with a pair of free throws with 31 seconds left to play.

DeRozan missed from the lane with 11 seconds left and Boston got the rebound. Williams drew foul on Vucevic and went to the line with 9.7 seconds left, sinking both to put the Celtics back up.


Bulls: G Zach LaVine did not travel with the club after injuring his left knee early in Friday night’s game. An MRI on Saturday did not reveal any significant structural damage and LaVine will be reevaluated early next week, the Bulls said. Although there was no timetable for his return, the Bulls said LaVine was not expected to miss significant time. LaVine tore the ACL in the same knee while playing for Minnesota in February 2017. … The Bulls were also without G Lonzo Ball (left knee soreness). G Alex Caruso remained in COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Celtics: Tatum scored 13 in first quarter. … G Marcus Smart (health and safety protocols) missed his third straight game. … The Celtics improved to 1-1 against Chicago this season and snapped a three-game slide against the Bulls.


Bulls: At Memphis on Monday afternoon.

Celtics: Host New Orleans on Monday afternoon.


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Warriors vs. Bulls – Game Recap – January 14, 2022

CHICAGO — — Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points, Stephen Curry added 19 and the Golden State Warriors rolled to their most lopsided win of the season, dominating the Chicago Bulls 138-96 on Friday night.

Rookie Jonathan Kuminga finished with 25 points and Jordan Poole scored 22.

The Warriors broke out of their rut in a huge way, pulling away early after dropping four of five. It was just the sort of breather they needed coming off a lopsided loss at defending champion Milwaukee the previous night.

The Bulls lost star Zach LaVine to a left knee injury in the opening minutes. They got booed off the court trailing 78-47 at halftime and wound up with their worst loss this season.

Wiggins scored 20 in the first half and shot 8 of 11 in the game. Curry shook off a slow start in a total turnaround for the Warriors after they trailed 77-38 at halftime in Milwaukee on Thursday.

Poole nailed five 3-pointers, and the Warriors made it look easy even though they were missing Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and 14 rebounds for Chicago. Coby White added 20 points, and DeMar DeRozan scored 17.

But the Bulls lost for the third time in four games after winning nine straight to match their best streak since the end of the end of the 2010-11 regular season.

Things took an alarming turn for them when LaVine — who tore the ACL in his left knee playing for Minnesota in February 2017 — walked gingerly toward the locker room with 8:28 left in the first quarter. The All-Star and Olympic gold medalist never went to the ground.

From there, things didn’t get any better for the Bulls.

After hanging with Kevin Durant and the Nets into the third quarter before Brooklyn blew them out two nights earlier, they were never really in this one.

The Warriors led 37-28 through the first quarter despite just two points from Curry, then outscored Chicago 41-19 in the second. The 78 points were the most in a half for Golden State this season and the most allowed by the Bulls.

Curry scored the first six points in an 11-0 run that Wiggins finished with a driving bank shot, making it 54-33 with about 7 minutes left in the half.


Warriors: The Warriors rested Thompson as planned after he played 20 minutes at Milwaukee in his third game back. They plan to “bump him up a little bit” when they visit Minnesota on Sunday, coach Steve Kerr said. The five-time All-Star missed 2 1/2 years because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament and an Achilles tendon injury. … Kerr is “hopeful” Green (left calf tightness) returns Tuesday when the Warriors host Detroit. Green missed his third consecutive game and Kerr said it makes more sense to have him continue rehabbing in the Bay Area rather than join the team at Minnesota.

Bulls: G Alex Caruso was not planning to travel with the team to Boston and Memphis. He missed his 11th game in a row, the past five because of COVID-19 after being sidelined with a sprained left foot. … The Bulls signed F Malcolm Hill to a 10-day hardship contract. Hill played at Illinois from 2013-14 to 2016-17 and grew up near St. Louis in Belleville, Ill.


Warriors: Visit Minnesota on Sunday.

Bulls: Visit Boston on Saturday.


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MBB Game Notes: Bulldogs Travel To Face Bulldogs

Georgia Bulldogs
Coach: Tom Crean
46-59 in 4th season at UGA
402-290 in 22nd season overall
No. Name PPG RPG
3 Kario Oquendo 12.9 4.1
(6-4; 215; Soph.; Titusville, Fla.)
10 Aaron Cook 10.7 2.6
(6-2; 185; Grad.; St. Louis, Mo.)
11 Jaxon Etter 5.1 3.1
(6-4; 205; Jr.; Woodstock, Ga.)
20 Noah Baumann 8.2 3.3
(6-6; 210; Sr.; Phoenix, Ariz.)
23 Braelen Bridges 12.6 5.9
(6-11; 240; Sr.; Atlanta, Ga.)

Mississippi State Logo
Mississippi State
Coach: Ben Howland
126-86 in 7th season at MSU
527-292 in 26th season overall
No. Name PPG RPG
1 Iverson Molinar 16.8 3.4
(6-3; 190; Jr.; Panama City, Panama)
3 Shakeel Moore 10.7 3.1
(6-1; 185; Soph.; Greensboro, N.C.)
4 Cameron Mathews 4.0 4.9
(6-7; 225; Soph.; Olive Branch, Miss.)
10 Garrison Brooks 11.3 6.9
(6-9; 230; Grad.; LaFayette, Ala.)
13 D.J. Jeffries 11.0 5.1
(6-7; 215; Jr.; Olive Branch, Miss.)



Points Per Game 71.0 74.5
Opp. Point Per Game 74.3 63.4
Scoring Margin -3.3 +11.1
Field Goal Pct. .445 .473
Opp. Field Goal Pct. .456 .417
3-Point Pct. .321 .345
3-Pointers Per Game 6.7 6.3
Opp. 3-Point Pct. .343 .343
Free Throw Pct. .727 .741
Free Throws Per Game 15.1 14.5
Rebounds Per Game 34.7 38.6
Opp. Rebound Per Game 34.0 28.5
Rebound Margin +0.7 +10.1
Assists Per Game 14.3 14.4
Turnovers Per Game 13.7 12.0
Assist-to-Turnover Ratio 1.04 1.20
Turnover Margin -2.9 +0.7
Steals Per Game 5.3 8.2
Blocks Per Game 2.9 3.9


The Starting 5…

  • In SEC games, UGA has made a league-leading 60.4 percent of its combined FG and FT attempts.
  • Through games of 1/2 Aaron Cook ranked No. 5 nationally in assist average (6.6) and No. 8 in total assists (93).
  • Braelen Bridges leads UGA with 11 double-figure outputs…and has two more games with nine points.
  • Jaxon Etter has drawn 13 offensive fouls this year…and 21 in UGA’s last 26 games dating back to last season.
  • UGA’s seven first-year transfers combined to score 4,782 points at their previous schools.


The Opening Tip

The SEC’s Bulldogs of the Eastern and Western variety will face off Wednesday when Georgia ventures to Starkville to take on Mississippi State at Humphrey Coliseum.

Georgia has been the SEC’s most efficient scoring team in conference play.

Of the Bulldogs’ 144 shots from the field and the line in SEC games, 87 have found the bottom of the net. That 60.4 percentage is the league’s best by a relatively significant amount…Auburn is second best at 56.4.

In stats for SEC games only, Georgia is the only team that ranks among the top-3 in all three shooting percentages – No. 1 in free throws (.892), No. 2 in field goals (.505) and No. 3 in 3-pointers (.405).

Georgia is currently 5-10 on the season, 0-2 in SEC play, and looking to snap a four-game losing skid. Two of those setbacks have been painful, last-second decisions.

The Bulldogs lost to ETSU, 86-84, on Dec. 22 when a potential game-winning 3-pointer in the closing seconds was off the mark.

Last Tuesday, Georgia battled back from an 18-point, first-half-deficit to Texas A&M and grabbed a one-point lead on a Kario Oqueno 3-point play with 5.5 seconds remaining before the Aggies sunk a game-winner with 1.2 left on the clock.

Prior to the A&M game, head coach Tom Crean stated: “I like the spirit. I like the energy. We just need something to go right for us. These kids are working so hard, so hard…I like the way they’re working.”

Following the contest Crean offered: “There are so many things that I don’t care about. What I do care about is how much better we get every day, and not allowing distractions and disappointments and discouragement and all those kind of things to enter into us… They are getting better. It would be hard to say some guys aren’t getting better. We certainly don’t have record the last few weeks to show for it, but we are improving and we’ll get there.”

Keeping An Eye On… Entering Today’s Game:

Aaron Cook is…
• 3 outings from 150 games played in his career
• 14 steals from 200 for his career

Series History With State

Georgia currently leads the all-time series with Mississippi State, 58-57; however, State owns a 33-18 edge in games played in Starkville.

Last season on Dec. 30 in Athens, Mississippi State ended Georgia’s 7-0 start to the season with an 83-73 decision in both teams’ SEC opener.

P.J. Horne led four double-digit scorers for the Bulldogs, pouring in a career-high 21 points by hitting 7-of-13 shots from the field – including 5-of-10 3-pointers – and 3-of-4 free throws.

Mississippi State broke the game open midway through the first half, using a 13-2 run to build a 28-12 lead at the 9:23 mark.

In the most recent matchup in Starkville on Jan. 18, 2020, State shot 61.7 percent from the field – the best effort of last season against Georgia – en route to a 91-59 win.

Scouting The Western Dogs

Mississippi State enters Wednesday’s game at 10-4 overall and 1-1 in SEC play.

The Bulldogs wrapped up non-conference play 9-3 before defeating Arkansas, 81-68, in their league opener. State’s next outing at Missouri was postponed, and the Bulldogs fell Ole Miss last Saturday.

Iverson Molinar leads an balanced offensive attack for Mississippi State featuring five double-digit scorers. Molinar’s 16.8 ppg average is followed by Tolu Smith at 14.2 ppg, Garrison Brooks at 11.3 ppg, D.J. Jeffries at 11.0 ppg and Shakeel More at 10.7 ppg.

Smith has only played in five games to date. He missed the first five contests due to injury. Smith played in three contests before a toe injury kept him out of action for four more outings. After scoring a game-high 18 points versus the Razorbacks, Smith was a DNP against Ole Miss for non-disciplinary reasons.

Last Time Out

Kario Oquendo’s 22 points lead a quartet of double-figure scorers in a 92-77 setback at No. 13/16 Kentucky last Saturday.

Oquendo also led Georgia with seven rebounds, while Aaron Cook added 17 points, Noah Baumann contributed 14 and Braelen Bridges finished with 10.

Georgia led for 14:05 of a back-and-forth first half that featured no less than five ties and 10 lead changes. Kentucky expanded a three-point, 40-37 advantage at the intermission to 12 points with 15:26 remaining and never allowed the Bulldogs closer than eight points thereafter.

State Stops Dogs’ Streak

Last season’s loss to Mississippi State snapped Georgia’s seven-game winning streak to open the campaign, the Bulldogs’ best start since opening their 1982-83 Final Four campaign at 9-0.

Adding Georgia’s victory over Ole Miss in the 2020 SEC Tournament gave the Bulldogs an eight-game winning streak overall before the loss to State.

That was Georgia’s longest stretch of success game wise since securing nine consecutive Ws during the 2010-11 campaign. Calendar-wise, the Bulldogs’ winning streak spanned 294 days and was the second-longest in Georgia’s 116 seasons.

The program’s best streak both for number of victories and calendar span are the same – a 16-game stretch covering 399 days dating between the 1912-13 and 1913-14 seasons.

Dogs Making Buckets

Georgia has connected on 50.5 percent of its shots from the field in two SEC outings this season.

That makes the Bulldogs one of just nine teams in the six major basketball college basketball conferences converting more than its field goal attempts in league games entering this week.

Joining Georgia and Texas A&M from the SEC are North Carolina and Miami from the ACC, Baylor and Oklahoma from the Big 12, UConn from the Big East and Arizona and Southern Cal from the PAC 12. No Big Ten teams are doing so.

Bulldogs Atop SEC Stats

Several Georgia players are prominent names among the SEC’s statistical leaders for conference games only.

Kario Oquendo is No. 2 in scoring (21.5 ppg), No. 3 in FG percentage (.615) and No. 3 in FT percentage (.909).

Noah Baumann is No. 12 in scoring (16.5 ppg), No. 2 in 3FGs per game (4.0), No. 3 in 3FG percentage (.533) and No. 6 in FG percentage (.550).

Aaron Cook leads the league in FT percentage (1.000), No. 3 in assists (5.5 apg), No. 6 in assist-to-TO ratio (1.57).

Georgia Returns To the Road

Georgia will be playing its second-consecutive road game but just its third of the season. Prior to the Kentucky game, the Bulldogs’ last outing outside of Stegeman Coliseum was 46 days earlier on Nov. 23 – the Tuesday before Thanksgiving – in the Roman Legends Classic at the Prudential Center in Newark. After that, the Bulldogs hosted an eight-game homestand.

Bulldogs Battle Through

Georgia dressed only 10 players for its first two SEC outings and has done so three times this season.

The Bulldogs’ 15-player roster was cut by two due to season-ending injuries to P.J. Horne in the preseason and Jailyn Ingram against Jacksonville on Dec. 7.

All told, seven of 13 “currently active” Bulldogs have a combined 17 DNPs, and Georgia has had its full complement of players for six of 15 outings.

From there, additional DNPs include:

• T. Baker vs. Virginia and Northwestern (illness);

• N. Baumann vs. Northwestern (illness);

• A. Cook vs. Memphis (illness);

• J. Etter vs. Gardner-Webb (injury);

• C. McDowell vs. Texas A&M and Kentucky (illness);

• J. Ned vs. Virginia, Northwestern (illness) and George Mason, Western Carolina, ETSU, Gardner-Webb, Texas A&M and Kentucky (injury);

• D. Ridgnal vs. Texas A&M and Kentucky (illness).

Bulldogs Switch Lineups

Georgia has mixed and matched eight player to create six different starting lineups this season.

The Bulldogs have used the starting five of Noah Baumann, Braelen Bridges, Aaron Cook, Jaxon Etter and Kario Oquendo in their last four contests. That’s the most any quintet has been utilized by UGA.

Only Bridges and Oquendo have gotten the nod for every contest, although Cook and Jailyn Ingram have started every game they’ve played. Cook missed the Memphis game due to an illness, and Ingram suffered a season-ending injury in the ninth contest versus Jacksonville.

Kario Likes The Bright Lights

Kario Oquendo has a history of producing big games against the best opposition.

Last season, he averaged 13.5 points while shooting 55.4 percent from the field for the Florida SouthWestern College.

In Buccaneers’ four contests against ranked opponents, those stats jumped to 22.0 points and 63.6 percent.

The trend of big nights continued this season. Against No. 19 Memphis and No. 13/16 Kentucky, Oquendo is averaging in 23.0 ppg and shooting 59.3 percent (16-of-27) from the floor.

In six outings versus ranked foes as a collegian, Oquendo is averaging 22.3 points and connecting on 62.2 (51-of-82) of his field goal attempts.

B.B. Is Consistent, Efficient

Braelen Bridges is not only Georgia’s leading scorer, he’s also the Bulldogs’ most consistent point producer and among the nation’s most efficient.

Bridges has posted double-digit scoring outputs in a team-best 11 of Georgia’s 15 games, and he has notched nine points in two of the other four outings.

The graduate transfer senior Atlanta native is shooting a sizzling 64.3 percent from the field, connecting on 72 of his 112 field goal attempts.

Bridges’ effort almost puts him in elite company in the SEC and nationally. To be ranked among statistical leaders in FG percentage, a player has to make a minimum of five shots per game.

With 72 field goals made, Bridges falls three shy of that standard…or he would lead the SEC and rank No. 8 in the nation entering this week.

Cook Among Assist Leaders

Through last weekend’s games, Aaron Cook ranked No. 5 nationally in assist average (6.6 apg) and No. 8 in total assists (93).

Cook’s assist average is on pace to be the second-best ever by a Bulldog. In fact, he has a nice cushion between the current No. 2 in Georgia history – 6.3 apg by Pertha Robinson in 1994-95.

Noah Continues Scoring Trend

In five seasons of college basketball, Noah Baumann has established a trend of scoring most of his points from behind the 3-point arc…and doing so in a highly efficient manner.

Through 15 games, 76.3 percent (29 of 38) of Baumann’s made field goals have been 3-pointers, and he’s shooting the same percentage from 3-point range as on 2-point attempts (.475).

Career-wise, 72.0 percent (175 of 243) of Baumann’s made FGs are 3-pointers, and he is converting on a considerably better clip from outside the arc (.441) than inside that stripe (.372).

Etter Accepting Charges

Defensively, Jaxon Etter is like Visa…as in “everywhere you want (him) to be.”

UGA’s second-favorite walk-on student-athlete took three charges against Western Carolina, the second game this season he’s done so…the other outing being versus Ga. Tech.

Etter now has a team-high 13 charges. The trend began last season when he drew eight in the final 11 games, giving him 21 in UGA’s last 26 contests.

Baumann Hits the Boards

With injuries to P.J. Horne and Jailyn Ingram, Noah Baumann has shifted to playing the traditional ‘4’ spot for Georgia.

In his first outing doing so, Baumann grabbed 11 rebounds against Western Carolina. That was more than double his previous career-most of five in seven different outings including this year’s season opener against FIU.

Joked Tom Crean: “I don’t know if he’s done that since grade school. Somewhere out West, he might have had 11 boards in a CYO game in the eighth grade.”

Dogs Look To Regroup…Again

Georgia lost Jailyn Ingram to a knee injury during the Jacksonville game on Dec. 7. The “super senior” from Madison, Ga., and Morgan County High School was the Bulldogs’ leading rebounder (6.0 rpg) and third-leading scorer (10.7 ppg). Ingram went down in a non-contact situation while trying to save a ball along the baseline with 14:21 left in the contest.

Following an MRI on Dec. 8, Tom Crean confirmed the prognosis on Dec. 9 with a Tweet stating: “Unfortunately, Jailyn Ingram will have to have surgery to repair his ACL in his right knee. It’s heartbreaking because Jailyn has been emerging in so many areas and has been a model of consistency day in and day out. He’s an incredible young man… Jailyn has brought a spirit and seriousness to us. He is a guy that is in the gym most mornings before we would lift weights at 8:45 and was stabilizing for a young team. We plan to appeal for the waiver to get another year since he’s under the 30% games played. Pray for him.”

Ingram’s injury was UGA’s second season-ending setback. On Oct. 20, Crean announced P.J. Horne, one of just two Bulldogs to start every game last season, would miss the campaign.

Tweeted Crean: “It’s with genuine sadness that I let you know that P.J. Horne will miss this season after undergoing surgery on his right knee this past weekend. In practice, he bumped knees in a scrimmage, lost footing and went down awkwardly. This is such a major blow to us because P.J. was playing so well and showing great leadership as our leading returning player, but more so because he is such a great person and one of the finest people I’ve ever coached.”

Jabri’s Contributions Soar

It’s probably glossed over too much that this fall is the first time Jabri Abdur-Rahim has played extended minutes in nearly two years. He suffered a foot injury during his senior season at Blair Academy and only played in two games and only appeared in eight games last season at Virginia.

Jabri, who was ranked as one of the nation’s top-40 prospects in the Class of 2020, showed signs of returning to form in three early-December outings.

Abdur-Rahim exploded for a career-high 20 points against Wofford and followed that with a 15 and 10-point showings versus No. 18 Memphis and Jacksonville, respectively. Equally impressive as the totals was the efficiency in which he scored.

In those three games, Abdur-Rahim scored more points, connected on more shots and upped his shooting percentages by massive amounts over his 14 previous career outings.


Abdur-Rahim’s Increases
Stat 1st 14 Next 3 Diff.
Total Points 32 45 +13
Scoring Average 2.3 15.0 12.7
FGs Made 9 13 +4
FG Percentage .214 .650 +.436
3FGs Made 3 9 +6
3FG Percentage .125 .600 +.475

Crean Captures Win No. 400

Tom Crean secured his 400th career victory with Georgia’s upset of No. 18 Memphis on December 1.

Prior to arriving in Athens, Crean compiled 366 W’s in his first 18 campaigns as a collegiate head coach. He earned the first 190 in nine seasons at Marquette from 1998-2008 and added 166 more at Indiana between 2008-17 before arriving in Athens and securing the final 44 of his 400.

Tom Crean‘s Milestone Wins

No. 1 – Nov. 20, 1999 – Marquette defeats Chicago State, 62-43, in Tom Crean‘s first game as a collegiate head coach.

No. 100 – March 6, 2004 – A three-point play with .8 of a second left lifts Marquette over No. 25 Louisville, 81-80.

No. 200 – Dec. 8, 2009 – Indiana knocks off Pittsburgh, 74-64, in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

No. 250 – Nov. 20, 2012 – A day after beating Georgia, 66-53, in the first round, IU tops Georgetown, 82-72, to win the Progressive Legends Classic.

No. 300 – Dec. 20, 2014 – Indiana tops No. 23 Butler, 82-73, as Yogi Ferrell became IU’s 48th 1,000-point scorer.

No. 400 – Dec. 1, 2021 – Kario Oquendo’s 24-point outburst paces UGA in an 82-79 upset of No. 18 Memphis.

Wright Stellar In Upset

Freshman Christian Wright started at point guard against No. 18 Memphis for Aaron Cook, who was out of action due to an illness. That task was taller considering the Tigers entered the game forcing an average of 18.0 turnovers per game.

While Wright’s career-high totals of 17 points, six boards and 38 minutes tallies drew significant attention, his turnover tally – a meager one TO – was the most significant digit in his linescore. And he did so logging the most PT of any Bulldog in any game this season to date.

Also of note, Wright drew seven fouls, including two on the offensive end, and converted on 6-of-7 free throw attempts.

The SportsCenter “Top-Quen”

Kario Oquendo has emphatically made his way in the top-10 plays on ESPN’s SportsCenter twice this season.

On Nov. 16, Oquendo came in at No. 3 on SportsCenter’s top-10 plays after his third highlight reel effort against S.C. State. He stole the ball at midcourt and windmilled home an uncontested dunk.

A posterized effort on Nov. 23 was tabbed No. 6. Oquendo, who’s 6-4, gathered a steal in Northwestern’s lane and drove the length of the floor before a thunderous dunk over a 6-9 Wildcat.

If you want to rate Oquendo’s SportsCenter dunks, you can find the S.C. State slam at gado.gs/kariosctop1116 and the Northwestern effort at gado.gs/kariosc1123.

Cook Tops Millennium Mark

Aaron Cook blew past the 1,000-point career scoring mark on Nov. 16 against South Carolina State.

The “super senior” was eight points shy of entering the game and inched past the milestone with 2:21 left in the first half. He finished with 22 points, three off his career high versus Indiana State on Jan. 24, 2018.

Cook scored 845 points at Southern Illinois from 2016-20 and added 127 points during Gonzaga’s en route to their NCAA runner-up finish last season.

Cook was presented the game ball from the S.C. State game in a ceremony prior to the George Mason game that featured his mother, Regina, and brother, Anthony.

Dalen, Kario Draw Attention

Kario Oquendo and Dalen Ridgnal are among the top JUCO transfers expected to make the biggest marks this season.

On August 25, bustingbrackets.com ranked the top-25 junior college players moving to the “high-major” level. Ridgnal was tabbed No. 2 on that ledger, while Oquendo was ranked No. 23.

On Nov. 1, college basketball guru Jon Rothstein tabbed his top-10 “JUCOs to watch,” an unranked list that also included Ridgnal.

Cook Among Most Experienced

Aaron Cook arrived in Athens having already participated in 133 games. Cook logged action in 103 contests in four seasons at Southern Illinois and played in 30 contests last season at Gonzaga.

As a point of reference for Georgia’s record for career games played is 133 contests by Marcus Thornton from 2011-15. Thornton’s tally covers five seasons, including a redshirt season when he logged nine GPs.

Cook’s was the third-most experienced player game wise in D-I entering this season.


D-I’s career GPs Leaders
Rk. Player, School Games
1. Jordan Bohannon, Iowa 142
2. Chevez Goodwin, USC 138
3. Aaron Cook, Georgia 133

Garrison Brooks, Miss. St. 133

Jalen Coleman-Lands, Kansas 133

Justin Kier, Arizona 133

Experience Has Traveled

The phrase “defense travels” is a well-known in the sports world.

The slogan “experience has traveled” may become a more appropriate for the 2021-22 Georgia Bulldogs.

Georgia’s lineup is anchored by five D-I transfers, sixth-year “super seniors” Aaron Cook and Jailyn Ingram, graduate transfer seniors Noah Baumann and Braelen Bridges and sophomore Jabri Abdur-Rahim.

That quintet has accounted more than 60 percent of Georgia’s points and assists and the majority of its production in every stat.


D-I transfer contributions
Stat Team D-I Ts Pct.
Minutes 3000 1671 55.7
Scoring 1065 651 61.1
Rebounds 470 270 57.4
Assists 214 145 66.8
Blocks 43 24 55.8
Steals 79 41 51.9

Welcoming A Slew Of Scoring

Of the 10 newcomers on the Bulldogs’ roster seven are transfers – five D-I players (Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Noah Baumann, Braelen Bridges, Aaron Cook and Jailyn Ingram) and a pair from the junior college ranks (Kario Oquendo and Dalen Ridgnal).

Those players arrived in Athens having already scored 4,782 points at their previous schools, the largest addition of scoring by any D-I program this season as outlined below.

In their previous stops, the D-I quintet of the group also logged 8813 minutes in 404 games played, while grabbing 1283 rebounds, dishing 643 assists, swatting 116 blocks and collecting 304 steals.


Top Scoring Influx’s In D-I hoops
Rk. School Players Points
1. Georgia 7 4782
2. Duquesne 5 4695
3. Florida 5 4144
4. Arkansas 6 4125
5. Penn State 7 5183
6. Washington St. 4 3785
7. SMU 4 3733
8. Kentucky 4 3538
9. Utah 6 3175
10. Arizona St. 3 3132

On The Flip Side…

While Georgia welcomed a huge influx of college scoring from its newcomers, the Bulldogs returned a minuscule portion of their scoring from last season.

Minus P.J. Horne, the four returning Bulldogs accounted for only 1110 of Georgia’s 2014 points a year ago, or 5.5 percent. Walk-on Jaxon Etter is the top returning point producer with 47 points.

“B” Is For Basketball Player

You may notice on Georgia’s roster that the Bulldogs have gone away from listing traditional positions – guard, forward and center. All 15 players are now simply listed as “B” for “Basketball Player.”

Tom Crean is a proponent for “position-less basketball.”

“That’s what they are,” Crean said. “It’s not valid to call them centers and power forwards and things like that as much with the way that we’re trying to play. They’re being trained as basketball players, every day… in the sense of how we train with the ball handling, the driving, the shooting – all those type of things. That’s big to me.”

Putting Up Points Under Crean

Georgia has certainly been keeping scoreboard operators busy since Tom Crean arrived in Athens in 2018.

The Bulldogs reached the 90-point plateau 15 times in 90 games during Crean’s first three seasons. That’s a relatively healthy 16.7 percent of the team’s total contests.

By comparison, Georgia scored 90 or more points just 15 times in 387 games before Crean’s arrival, or .038 percent of the outings in a span that dates back a dozen seasons to the 2006-07 campaign.

The big numbers by the Bulldogs aren’t just a single-game thing.

In three seasons under Crean, the Bulldogs have averaged two of their top-5 scoring outputs of the 2000s.


Top Scoring Averages In 2000s
Rk. Season Points Games Avg.
1. 2002-03 2138 27 79.2
2. 2020-21 1944 25 77.8
3. 2001-02 2444 32 76.4
4. 2019-20 2428 32 75.9
5. 2006-07 2477 33 75.1

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SIUE at EIU WBB Game Postponed

CHARLESTON, ILL — Due to health and safety protocols within the SIUE program, EIU’s women’s basketball game with SIUE, scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed. The rescheduled date is currently set for Monday, January 31 with a 6 pm tip time at First Mid Court at Lantz Arena. 
Tickets purchased for the women’s against SIUE will be honored for the rescheduled date of Monday, January 31.  

Thursday night’s EIU men’s game against SIUE is still set to be played with an 8 pm tip as the game will be broadcast on ESPNU as part of the OVC’s television package.  

EIU’s next women’s game is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 15 when the Panthers will travel to Austin Peay.

All schedule updates will be announced on EIUPanthers.com as well as EIU’s official Twitter and Facebook pages.

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Bears Begin Three Game Road Trip On Thursday

Bears Begin Three Game Road Trip On Thursday

Rob Edwards/klcfotos

The Bears take on Utah tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. on Pac-12 Network.

Cal Takes On Utah On Pac-12 Network

BERKELEY – The Cal women’s basketball team begins a three-game road trip on Thursday, starting with a contest against Utah at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The Bears and Utes are slated for a 6:00 p.m. PT start time. Krista Blunk and Amanda Smith will handle the play-by-play duties. Fans can also follow the action live via live stats at Statbroadcast.com.
Cal (9-4, 0-2) is coming off an 88-53 loss at home to Oregon last Sunday. It marked the first time this season the Bears have lost back-to-back contests. Utah (8-3, 0-0 Pac-12) opens conference play on Thursday night after having its last four contests postponed. Utah is averaging 85.4 points per game, third-most in the nation and tops in the Pac-12.


Date/Time: Jan. 13, 2022 – 6:00 p.m. PT    

Opponent: Utah Utes (8-3, 0-0 Pac-12)

Site: Jon M. Huntsman Center (Salt Lake City, Utah)

TV:  Pac-12 Bay Area

Talent: Krista Blunk and Amanda Smith

Live Stats: Statbroadcast.com



• Thursday the Golden Bears travel to Salt Lake City for the first of three road games starting with a matchup against Utah. The Bears enter Thursday’s contest with a 9-4 overall record and are 0-2 in Pac-12 play.


• Cal went 0-1 last week, falling to Oregon 88-53 at Haas Pavilion. It is the first time this season the Bears have lost back-to-back games. Cal entered Sunday’s contest 2-0 in games following a loss. 


• As a team, the Bears are averaging 71.6 points per game which is 76th best in the nation. Cal’s scoring margin of +6.0 is 129th in the nation. The Bears are shooting 41.6 percent as a team which ranks 10th in the Pac-12.


• Cal is 2-2 on the road this year, with wins over USF and UC San Diego. Their two losses came at the hands of Arkansas and Washington State. On the road, the Bears are averaging 60.8 points per game and shooting 36.8 percent from the field. Jayda Curry doesn’t mind life on the road, she is averaging 21.7 points per game away from Haas Pavilion.


• The 9-4 start is the best start under third year head coach Charmin Smith through 13 games. It is tied for the 15th best start in program history. The Bears have opened the year 9-4 1six times and 10-3 or better 15 times. Cal’s best start was 13-0 in 2016-17.


• A win on Thursday would see the Bears improve to 10-4 for the first time since 2018-19. Cal has started 10-4 or better 18 times in program history, they have made the postseason 15 of those seasons.


• The Bears on Thursdays: Cal is 1-0 this season and 3-0 under Charmin Smith on Thursdays. Cal defeated Fresno State 73-72 earlier this year. The other two wins came in Smith’s first season, defeating San Diego State Nov. 21 74-48 and Arizona State in the first round of the Pac-12 Championship 71-67 on Mar. 5. 


Series Versus Utah

Thursday is the 26th time the Bears and Utes have squared off. The series dates back to the 1978-79 season when Utah defeated the Bears 93-62 in Salt Lake City. All-time the Bears own a 14-11 advantage in the series, however, the Utes have won seven of the last 10 matchups. In Utah, the Bears and Utes are tied 5-5. The last time these two teams squared off in Salt Lake City, Cal defeated Utah 88-74. 


Last Time Out Versus the Utes

A young Bears squad, featuring the collegiate debut of Mia Mastrov battled but lost their 12th game in a row, falling 62-51 at Haas Pavilion on Feb. 5, 2021.

Mastrov played 35 minutes and scored a team-high 20 points in her first taste of Division I basketball. She finished 7-for-19 from the floor and was 4-for-12 from beyond the arc. Michelle Onyiah had 10 points and nine rebounds.


A big second quarter by the Utes gave Utah a 36-26 cushion that the Bears could not overcome.  Utah was led by Kemery Martin’s game-high 21 points.



The Bears continue their three-game road trip with a date against the Buffaloes in Boulder. Cal and Colorado are slated to tip-off at 11:00 a.m. PT and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.


For complete coverage of Cal women’s basketball, please follow the Bears on Twitter (@CalWBball), Instagram (@CalWBball) and Facebook (/CalWBball/).






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Thursday’s Illinois-Northwestern Game Moved to Feb. 21

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Fighting Illini women’s basketball home game vs. Northwestern has been rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 21. The game will tip at 7 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on Big Ten Network.

The contest was originally scheduled for this Thursday, Jan. 13, but has been moved to allow for the rescheduling of Big Ten games that were previously postponed in accordance with the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

All tickets previously issued for the Jan. 13 game date will be valid for the rescheduled game on Feb. 21.

The Fighting Illini, coming off a dominate 68-47 home win over Wisconsin are scheduled to travel to University Park, Pa., for a Sunday afternoon matchup with Penn State. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT and the Bryce Jordan Center.


For more Fighting Illini women’s basketball news, stay tuned to FightingIllini.com and follow @IlliniWBB on social media: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook.

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Michigan basketball’s game vs. Purdue postponed due to COVID protocols

The Michigan men’s basketball team has had another home matchup against a top-10 opponent put on ice due to COVID-19.

A day after Saturday’s rivalry game against No. 10 Michigan State was shelved, the Wolverines announced on Sunday that their next scheduled contest, against No. 3 Purdue on Tuesday, has also been postponed due to COVID protocols within the UM program.

Per Big Ten rules, at least seven scholarship players and one coach are required for a team to compete. Michigan dipped below that number after medical testing on Friday night, which led to the showdown against the Spartans being postponed roughly eight hours before its scheduled tip-off. According to a release from Michigan, the Wolverines would still fall under the roster minimum for Tuesday’s game against Purdue.

Michigan (7-6, 1-2 Big Ten) has been dealing with COVID-19 issues since returning from a Dec. 30 loss at Central Florida. After flying back to Ann Arbor on Dec. 31, several Wolverines tested positive for COVID, according to sophomore center Hunter Dickinson.

Four players — freshman guard Frankie Collins, sophomore forward Terrance Williams II, senior forward Brandon Johns Jr. and walk-on forward Jaron Faulds — and one staff member all missed Tuesday’s loss at Rutgers due to COVID protocols. Sophomore guard Zeb Jackson also didn’t travel for personal reasons.

As of Friday morning, Michigan had hoped to play Michigan State as planned. At least two of the four players had cleared COVID protocols and were expected to be available Saturday, according to a program spokesperson. But that all changed following Friday night’s round of testing, which produced an undisclosed amount of positive results.

“We’ve been figuring out ways to navigate through what we’ve been dealt with COVID and the COVID protocol,” coach Juwan Howard said of his team’s recent practices with a shorthanded roster. “We’re trying to stay afloat and stay ready.

“I’ll be honest with you, it’s frustrating. But it’s frustrating for us all in the sports world and non-sports world.”

Under the Big Ten’s revised forfeiture policy, the conference reviews every game impacted by COVID and determines whether it can be rescheduled, declared a no contest or deemed a forfeit.

The policy states that a game can be postponed if a team doesn’t have a minimum number of competitors available (seven scholarship players). If a team has a COVID outbreak and the game can’t be made up, it’ll be considered a no contest. The Big Ten also said that a team can play with lower numbers if approved by medical personnel.

Michigan will work with the Big Ten office to find a makeup date for both games, which could be challenging. Purchased tickets to the postponed contests will still be valid “if and when the games are rescheduled,” according to Michigan’s release.

The Wolverines, as of now, are scheduled to return to action on Friday at Illinois. Barring any more schedule changes, Michigan will visit Michigan State (13-2, 4-0) on Jan. 29 and Purdue (13-2, 2-2) on Feb. 5.

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Bryant coach COVID positive misses Wagner game

Bryant was without its head coach for a key men’s basketball clash with Wagner on Thursday. 

Jared Grasso revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19 on his personal Twitter account. He did not travel with the Bulldogs for their Northeast Conference meeting with the Seahawks on Staten Island. 

“Thankfully, my family and I are all doing well,” Grasso said. “I look forward to getting back on the sidelines with our team very soon.”

Grasso said during the preseason his program was 100% vaccinated. That should allow him and any other Bryant players or staff members to avoid an extended absence over the course of the season. The Bulldogs endured a virus pause and were without some key players down the stretch during a 15-7 finish last year. 

Associate head coach Phil Martelli Jr. was expected to take charge for the 7 p.m. tip between the two preseason conference favorites. Wagner and Bryant collected a combined nine first-place votes in the poll, with the Seahawks grabbing the top spot. The Bulldogs were picked second after reaching a first league title game in program history in 2020-21. 

Bryant had a prior nonconference game at Cornell canceled after virus concerns emerged among the Big Red. The Bulldogs held out stars Peter Kiss and Hall Elisias due to health and safety protocols for a previous matchup at Stony Brook on Dec. 11, an 86-78 loss. Both have since returned and helped power Bryant to league victories over Central Connecticut State and Sacred Heart. 

Martelli is the son of longtime Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli. He was among the first hires to Grasso’s staff prior to the 2018-19 season. Martelli was on staff with the Hawks in 2017-18 and previously spent time with Delaware, Niagara, Manhattan and the Blue Devils. 

The Bulldogs enter with a 7-7 overall mark and a perfect 3-0 record in NEC play. That includes a forfeit victory over Fairleigh Dickinson, a result that was awarded by the conference after the Knights reported COVID-19 concerns within their program. Bryant was scheduled to visit on Saturday — its road trip was cut to a single game. 

RI men’s basketball: What to know as Bryant University team opens Northeast Conference play

2021 in review: Bill Koch picks the top 6 college sports stories in Rhode Island last year

URI women delayed again

The University of Rhode Island women will again be forced to wait for their Atlantic 10 debut this season. 

The Rams will not clear COVID-19 health and safety protocols in time to take the floor Sunday at Fordham. It’s their third consecutive postponement to open the league schedule. 

La Salle swaps in for URI and will be in the Bronx for the noontime tip at Rose Hill Gymnasium. The Kingston version of the Rams will try again Wednesday at George Washington.  

URI hasn’t played since a Dec. 19 victory over Boston University to close its nonconference schedule. The Rams played their maximum of 13 games outside the league and would not be eligible to set a date with a tune-up opponent prior to battling the Colonials. Home games with Massachusetts and Dayton have already been reset for Jan. 17 and Feb. 16, respectively. 

[email protected]  

On Twitter: @BillKoch25 

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Game 13: Michigan at Rutgers Open Thread

What’s going on with Zeb this year?

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