STARKVILLE — North Carolina is still North Carolina. After exchanging leads in a pressure-packed NIT contest on Saturday, the North Carolina Tar Heels escaped Humphrey Coliseum by edging the Mississippi State Bulldogs 76-74. Larry Drew made the winning basket for North Carolina with 2.8 seconds remaining with a high-banked kisser off the glass.
STARKVILLE — For two Mississippi State players, Saturday wasn’t the way to end a career. Seniors Barry Stewart and Jarvis Varnado ended their Mississippi State careers in disappointment Saturday as the Bulldogs were edged 76-74 by North Carolina in the second round of the NIT. But as MSU coach Rick Stansbury pointed out, every senior in America has their career come to a disappointing end accept the ones who hoist the NCAA, NIT and CIT championship trophies.
STARKVILLE — Growing up is part of the college experience. From meeting new people, being exposed to different ideas, and acquiring a liberating sense of freedom, attending a college or a university often helps young men and women set the course for the rest of their lives. But imagine going through that maturation process without family members nearby. For the past four years, Rima Kalonda, Armelie Lumanu, and Chanel Mokango have armed themselves with cell phones and hours worth of calling cards and have done their best to share their journey with their family.
Dan Burt and Jeff Osterman know all about the intricacies of recruiting women’s basketball players. But recruiting players in the United States is one thing. Building relationships with players from foreign countries is even more challenging. That’s why Burt, an assistant coach at Duquesne University, and Osterman, associate head coach at the University of South Florida, are ideal men to offer perspective on what it is like to recruit players from foreign lands.
STARKVILLE — Dee Bost is looking forward to Mississippi State’s game against North Carolina in the second round of the NIT. The sophomore point guard, of Concord, N.C., believes he has something to prove when Mississippi State (24-11) hosts North Carolina (17-16) at Humphrey Coliseum at 11 a.m. Saturday. The 6-foot-2 Bost was the Class 3A Player of the Year in North Carolina and he wants to play well against the Tar Heels because of what he perceived to be a lack of attention from North Carolina coach Roy Williams and his staff when he was being recruited.
STARKVILLE — As Mississippi State coach John Cohen sees it, there’s nothing that compares to league play in the Southeastern Conference. Coming off a mid-week rout of Mississippi Valley State, the Bulldogs begin SEC play today at Florida. Cohen is steadfast in his belief that there are no off weekends in the SEC and he’s hopeful last weekend’s games against UCLA, Oklahoma and Texas A&M Corpus Christi in the Whataburger Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas, have given the Bulldogs ample warmup for the three-game series against the Gators.
Rick Insell isn’t coy. He knows his team’s strengths and that his team will try to press opponents on one end and light them up with a 3-point barrage on the other. Oh, senior forward Alysha Clark, the nation’s leading scorer, probably will score a few points, too. Now that everyone knows his team’s strategy for its game at 1:30 p.m. Sunday against seventh-seeded Mississippi State (19-12) in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the Middle Tennessee State coach won’t change a thing.
Alysha Clark realized early on she wasn’t going to have the size to be a dominant post player. As someone who came to basketball at a relatively late age, Clark also understood she needed to master the “little things” if she was going to have success in the paint. Those realizations and a fierce work ethic have helped make the 5-foot-10 Clark one of the nation’s best players.
The South Lamar High School softball team overcame injuries last season to make it to the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class A state championship series. South Lamar coach Tony Seals hopes the Lady Stallions (1-2) can overcome injuries and make it back to the state championship series.
STARKVILLE — A day after lamenting a call that wasn’t made in his team’s loss to Kentucky Win the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game, Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury is apparently over the officiating mis-sight that he believes cost his team a chance to go to the NCAA tournament. After beating Jackson State 81-67 in Tuesday’s NIT opener at Humphrey Coliseum, Stansbury declined to comment if he’d been in contact with the SEC regarding a possible review of the call.
STARKVILLE — In a workman-like performance Tuesday night, the Mississippi State men’s basketball team won its first-round National Invitational Tournament game by beating Jackson State 81-67. Two days after learning they’d be playing in the NIT instead of the more prestigious NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs didn’t shoot particularly well (40.7 percent). They shot just 27.6 percent from 3-point range. The Bulldogs were also out-rebounded by three. Mississippi conntered the shooting and rebounding by coming up with 12 steals.
STARKVILLE — Just one day before opening the National Invitational Tournament against Jackson State, Rick Stansbury was still feeling the effects from his Mississippi State men’s basketball team’s overtime loss to the University of Kentucky.
STARKVILLE — The sigh heard in the Templeton Athletic Academic Center at 6:44 p.m. Monday filled the room. It’s not that the Mississippi State women’s basketball team doubted it would be one of the 64 schools to see its name on ESPN, but the suspense made things interesting.
STARKVILLE — Greg Carter doesn’t rant and rave on the sidelines. The Starkville High School boys basketball coach prefers to stay in his seat and watch as the Yellow Jackets execute the game plan. But Carter by no means is tied to his seat. In fact, the veteran coach is quick to get out of his seat and to correct something when he sees a mistake.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. –– Mississippi State’s hopes of making the NCAA Tournament were dashed Sunday afternoon, suffering its second heartbreaking loss of the season to the Kentucky Wildcats. An automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament slipped through Mississippi State’s grasp as it lost a late lead in regulation and endured a 75-74 overtime loss in the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game at Bridgestone Arena.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In the end of Mississippi State’s statement run at the Southeastern Conference Tournament, the Bulldogs were shut out of the NCAA Tournament for not doing enough during the course of the season. Throw out the added high-RPI win against Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament semifinals Saturday. Throw out a win against NCAA qualifier Florida in the tournament Friday. Nevermind pushing No. 1 seed Kentucky to the limit in a 75-74 overtime loss in the title game Sunday.
Sharon Fanning-Otis is more anxious than nervous today. The veteran Mississippi State women’s basketball coach feels confident her team will be one of 64 announced at 6 p.m. today (ESPN) when the 64-team NCAA tournament field is announced. But Fanning-Otis has been coaching long enough to know nothing is guaranteed. And while people have told Fanning-Otis the Lady Bulldogs likely will be anywhere from a No. 7 seed to a No. 10 seed, she is eager to find out who her team will play and where it will go.
Mark White believed. The East Mississippi Community College men’s basketball team had completed its preseason preparations for the 2009-10 season and the Lions were ready to discuss their goals. The list was packed with title chances. As White examined an itinerary that included winning a MACJC North Division title, a state and a regional title and then a national championship, he knew the Lions had it in them to accomplish each one.
JACKSON — Edward Townsel rediscovered his shooting touch Saturday afternoon to help the Starkville High School boys basketball team claim the Mississippi High School Activities Association Grand Slam Championship. After being held to four points Friday in the semifinals against West Bolivar, the senior guard scored a game-high 25 points to lead Starkville past Jackson Callaway 61-45 at Mississippi Coliseum.
JACKSON — Rashad Perkins and Edward Townsel helped deliver on a promise Saturday afternoon. The seniors were instrumental in helping the Starkville High School boys basketball team beat Jackson Callaway 61-45 in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Grand Slam Championship.
2. Heritage Academy hires Tom Velek as head boys soccer coach HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS