Saturday, January 25, 2020

Green's five takeaways from St. John's 79-66 win at DePaul

Photo Credit: Geno Green

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

With both teams desperate for a win in league play, the St. John’s Red Storm (13-8, 2-6 Big East) plowed through the DePaul Blue Demons (13-7, 1-6 Big East), 79-66 thanks to timely three-point shooting from LJ Figueroa and Mustapha Heron. The hot shooting leads off my five takeaways from Wintrust Arena.

1) All Figueroa, all the time:

After being held to nine points in 22 minutes, in the first meeting against DePaul on Jan. 11, LJ Figueroa responded with authority as the junior finished with career-highs in points (28) and three-point makes (seven).

The most significant make came with 5:07 left in regulation as DePaul put together one final surge, but Figueroa would silence the crowd with a lethal three-point make from the baseline.

The Blue Demons would only make one field goal after the make and missed 15 of their last 17 attempts, while the Red Storm made their final five from the field.

2) Heron struck from long range:

Mustapha Heron provided the perfect complement to Figueroa as 13 of his 20 points came in the second half and went 4-of-9 from long range.

Known for their ability to get steals as the top team in the nation in that category, three-point shooting happened to be the difference as they went 13-of-32 (40.6 percent).

3) DePaul’s free-throw woes:

One of the biggest factors in DePaul’s struggles in Big East play has been its woeful free-throw shooting. Saturday’s result proved to be no better as the Blue Demons went 22-of-34 with Butz going 3-of-9.

Free throws continue to be a major achilles heel for the Blue Demons and will be almost impossible to win games down the stretch if that doesn’t get fixed.

4) Moore to the rescue:

In need of a change of pace on offense in the second half, Charlie Moore delivered as he started to attack the basket with ease and had a personal 6-0 run to pull DePaul to 56-52 with 7:21 left.

Despite Moore’s best efforts, the outburst would not be enough as the junior finished with a game-high 20 points, on 9-of-10 from the free-throw mark in defeat.

5) From a lock to the bubble:

Despite an impressive slate of non-conference wins against teams such as, Iowa, Texas Tech and Minnesota, DePaul has regressed back to its losing ways in Big East play.

The Blue Demons will have to claw back from a 1-6 start, but face an uphill climb with four of their next five games away from Wintrust Arena. The start of the stretch presents a trip to Seton Hall, who is riding a nine-game winning streak and has arguably the best player in the Big East in Myles Powell.

Each game for the Blue Demons now serves as its own tournament game, but has the roster capable of making magic happen.

Time will tell if it is too little, too late.

Friday, January 24, 2020

No. 23 Colorado 78, Washington State 56: Buffaloes dominate the Cougars in the second half

Photo Credit: David Zalubowski- Associated Press

By: Adam Chalifoux
Twitter: @FantasticMrFOUX

BOULDER, CO— The No. 23 Colorado Buffaloes (15-4, 4-2 Pac-12) got off to a slow start, but ultimately dominated the Washington State Cougars (12-8, 3-4 Pac-12) Thursday night at the CU Events Center. After a few key adjustments, The Buffaloes outscored the Cougars 40-23 in the second half to win the game 78-56.

The NCAA announced 15 finalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award on Wednesday. One of the men on that list was Colorado’s Tyler Bey. When the starters were announced, however, Bey’s name was not called as he sat on the bench with heavily taped fingers on his right hand.

Without their best defensive player and most sought after NBA prospect, the Buffaloes looked to defend their homecourt versus a dangerous Cougars team fresh off wins over Oregon and Oregon State. The Cougars rising star, CJ Elleby came in hot after going for 25 points and 14 rebounds against Oregon to earn the Cougars’ first Pac-12 player of the week award since Klay Thompson took home the honor in 2009.

Early on, Elleby picked up where he left off as the Cougars showed their claws defensively forcing 10 first-half turnovers and plenty of open looks from deep in transition. The Cougars hit four of their first seven from deep until Boyle made his adjustments, holding them to four-of-10 in the half. Elleby led the Cougars with nine at the break. 

The second half, however, belonged to the Buffaloes as they began to make the visitors noticeably uncomfortable by staying out on key shooters and guarding physically inside while avoiding foul trouble.

Center Evan Battey was a catalyst on both ends, shutting down the inside while muscling in for points on the other end; when the defense collapsed he found the open man on the outside. Battey had one of his most impressive games of the season with 12 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and once again playing the role of emotional leader.

“When Evan plays within himself and on balance offensively he is a great passer and he is a willing passer,” said CU coach Tad Boyle, “and that's what makes Evan so fun to play with.”

The Buffaloes found a balanced attack and moved the ball with ease against the exasperated Cougars in the final twenty minutes finishing with 19 assists on their 26 field goals. 

Lucas Siewart led Colorado in scoring, going three for five from beyond the arch and finishing with a game-high 16 points. McKinley Wright stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds. Wright’s seventh points-assists double-double set a school record for the Buffaloes, passing Jay Humphries’ 36-year-old mark.

While Colorado’s offense was impressive, it was its defense that won them the game as they clamped down to finish the game on a 12-3 run in the final four minutes and 40 seconds. Boyle said assignment defense was a focal point for the Buffaloes halftime adjustments.

“We just talked about personnel,” said Boyle. “It was 38-33 at half, just off the top of my head it should have been 38-22… 11 points, Elleby bangs a three, (Issac) Bonton bangs a three... We talked about taking those threes away from those guys.”

Elleby shot four-of-seven in the first half and was limited to two of five in the second half; Bonton meanwhile went from two-of-six to an icy two-for-ten. After struggling on the glass against Arizona Saturday, the Buffaloes dominated the boards 45-28 after focusing on those details all week in practice despite not having Bey, their leading rebounder.

“Hopefully Saturday we’ll have him back and I expect to,” said Boyle.

Colorado hosts Washington (12-8, 2-5 Pac-12) Saturday night at 7 PM MT, FS1, while the Cougars travel west to Salt Lake City where they will on the Utah Utes (11-7, 2-4 Pac-12). 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Genotology for Jan. 21

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Welcome to another edition of Genotology as Baylor is the new No. 1 overall seed in the latest installment.

Last Four In:

NC State

First Four Out:

Virginia Tech

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Notre Dame 78, Georgia Tech 74: Irish prevail in a nail biter in the ATL

Photo Credit: Curtis Compton- Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

By: Jon Opiela
Twitter: @jonopiela24

ATLANTA–  For the third consecutive time, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-6, 2-4 ACC) knocked off the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (8-9, 3-4 ACC). In a tightly contested matchup, Notre Dame prevailed by a score of 78-74. With the win, the Irish improve to 2-10 all-time on the road against Georgia Tech.

“It’s amazing to think that’s only the second time [here]. But God, we’ve lost at the buzzer, we’ve lost… it’s just been great games,” said Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey. “They’re so physical and they’re really good. We held our own on the backboard, even with our small lineup. We went small and that helped us offensively.”

“We finished at the Carrier Dome and made great plays. NC State, we couldn’t finish. Louisville on Saturday – heartbreaking. We come back, we’re up four and we couldn’t finish,” reflected Brey on the recent four-game stretch for Notre Dame. “I thought it was really important I’m watching the game unfold, ‘we really need to finish this one.’”

In a low-scoring first half, the Irish worked a seven-point advantage before the Jackets came storming back with a 7-0 run to tie the score at 24.  

A last second layup from Prentiss Hubb gave Notre Dame a two-point lead going into the halftime break. Coming off the bench, Dane Goodwin led all scorers with 10 points at the break. Michael Devoe led Georgia Tech with eight points and six rebounds in the first half. Devoe entered the contest fifth in scoring in the Atlantic Coast Conference, averaging 16.1 points per game.

“I challenged [Goodwin] because he’s been really good at home, but he’s not been very good on the road. So today at shootaround, I said, ‘Did you pack your game? Did you pack it? Because you haven’t packed it yet,” stated Brey. “He did today. He’s a fearless guy.”

John Mooney struggled to get anything going offensively in the first half. The nation’s leading rebounder hauled in seven rebounds but went 0-of-6 from the field.

After the break, both offenses began clicking on all cylinders, pouring in points at will. In a stretch of basketball, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame combined to go 12-of-12 from the field before someone missed a shot. 

Midway through the second half, frustrations began to boil over and multiple occasions, a few Notre Dame and Georgia Tech players needed to be separated. Georgia Tech began to take control of the game, building leads to as many as six points before Notre Dame would continue to claw back.

In a back and forth contest, the Yellow Jackets and Irish battled down to the closing seconds. TJ Gibbs and Hubb led Notre Dame down the stretch. The duo combined for 30 points in the final nine minutes of the contest. Hubb finished with a career-high 25 points– his fifth 20-plus point performance this season. Gibbs finished with 17 points, including knocking down a pair of triples in the contest.

“We feed off each other’s energy,” stated Gibbs. “Me and [Hubb], when we’re playing together in tandem and everything is flowing, I think that we can be very dangerous in the ACC and the NCAA.”

A strong second half from Mooney propelled him to his eleventh consecutive double-double, tying Luke Harangody’s program record at Notre Dame.

“I don’t really care about the personal stuff. I really don’t. I’m just glad we got the win. The double-doubles come from my teammates – especially on the offensive end when I’m scoring the ball, it’s because of our movement. It’s because we have shooters on the wing and it opens up stuff down low,” Mooney said. “Same with some of the rebounds. Juwan Durham will contest and it just leaves it kind of wide-open for me. It’s a team game and I’m just really glad that we got the win.”

Looking Ahead:

Next Wednesday, Notre Dame will host Syracuse in South Bend. Earlier this month, Notre Dame knocked off Syracuse, 88-87 in the Carrier Dome. Georgia Tech will cap off their two-game homestand against Virginia on Saturday. 

Monday, January 6, 2020

Genotology for Jan. 6

Photo Credit: Geno Green

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Another season of Genotology has arrived and will be released primarily on Mondays throughout the college basketball season.

More editions of Genotology will be posted as we get closer to the month of March.

Here are my first set of projections this season:

Last Four In:


First Four Out:

Northern Iowa

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Green's five takeaways from Marquette's 71-60 win over No. 10 Villanova

Photo Credit: Aaron Gash- AP Photo

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

The Marquette Golden Eagles (11-3, 1-1 Big East) came into Saturday’s game in need of a bounce back after Wednesday’s 92-75 loss to Creighton and got what they needed in a 71-60 win over the No. 10 Villanova Wildcats (10-3, 1-1 Big East). Here are my five takeaways from Fiserv Forum for CSO.

1) Zero to hero: 

After being held scoreless at Creighton on New Year’s Day, Koby McEwen brushed the dirt off his shoulders as the perfect complement to Markus Howard with 22 points in 36 minutes.

While McEwen excelled on offense, the biggest play of the game came on the defensive end as the junior came up with a heads up play to call timeout on the floor after a steal with 5:12 left in regulation to keep Marquette in control at 58-45. McEwen emphasized toughness on both sides of the ball, while Villanova coach Jay Wright agreed with the outcome and the inability to put stops together.

“We know Villanova is a great program and preaches toughness,” McEwen said. “We had to be the tougher team today. I think that’s one of the things we preached preparing for this game. We came in and executed and did those things in order to come out with the win.”

“He’s got a great toughness to him and can shot three’s,” Wright said. “You have to guard him at all three levels. He is a physical kid and was really good today.”

2) Defensive grit:

Known more their flash on offense, the sizzle came on defense as the Marquette Golden Eagles held the Wildcats to 9-of-38 (24 percent) from long range. The highlight came in the second half as Villanova struggled to get into a rhythm from the perimeter and went 3-of-20 in the final 20 minutes.

Wright gave credit to Marquette’s scrappy defense for taking Villanova out of sync in the early stages.

“We didn’t handle that well. To get behind to a good shooting team like Marquette, you will be in trouble,” Wright said.

3) The Markus Howard show:

In need of a better start in its Big East home opener, Division I leading scorer Markus Howard provided the dose with 12 of the first 20 MU points on the way to a game-high 29 for the Golden Eagles.

While Villanova appeared to have a solution to stop the senior in the early stages of the second half from the field, Howard contributed from the free-throw line, where he made his final six points of the game.

4) Gillespie’s struggles:

Fresh off a 24-point outing in the league opener against Xavier on Dec. 30, 2019, Collin Gillespie looked like a shell of himself as Marquette’s defense refused to let the junior out of sight.

Marquette’s suffocating defense held the junior to a season-low six points, on 2-of-9 from the field and fouled out with 33 seconds left in regulation.

“Our scout team and coach did an unbelievable job of preparing us within 48 hours coming back from Creighton,” McEwen said. “We locked into the game plan and executed defensively.”

5) Resume-building win:

While Marquette has come up with noteworthy wins against USC, Purdue and Kansas State in non-conference play, Saturday’s victory over Villanova provided a win that could go a long way in Marquette’s NCAA tournament resume’ come March.

Despite the win, there are no easy outs in any Big East game and Marquette center Theo John knows Tuesday’s game at home against Providence cannot be taken lightly.

“There’s not a bad team in this conference. We can celebrate now, but with Providence at 2-0, we have to lock in and be ready for Tuesday’s game,” John said. 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Schaible: Top-ranked LSU took things to another level in a throttling of Oklahoma

Photo Credit: Jason Getz- USA TODAY Sports

By: Brian Schaible
Twitter: @SBNationReports

At Thursday’s media day, LSU players were not shy about dishing the proverbial “bulletin board” material for Oklahoma to think about. It was a level of huberance that you rarely hear in such a setting. 

By the time the Oklahoma media session began, head coach Lincoln Riley was well aware of blatant disrespect and acknowledged that he was “angry” about it.

Okay, Boomer Sooner.

Oklahoma entered the College Football Playoff Semifinal with all the aspirations of shocking the world.

Well, it was certainly shocking. LSU ended up winning 63-28 and it could have been much worse.

Joe Burrow accounted for eight touchdowns. Seven through the air and one on a fourth down sneak for a three-yard score.

“To be honest, it wasn’t my sharpest game,” said Burrow. 

“This guy (Justin Jefferson) was bailing me out on a couple of throws that I missed. Guys like Terrace and Ja’Marr were bailing me out on misreads and being late with the football. I’m excited to get back to practice and tune those things up. That’s the kind of team we have. Someone doesn’t have their best game, the other guys step up.”

Earlier on Saturday, it was revealed that Carley McCord, along with four others was killed in a plane crash. She is the daughter in-law of LSU Offensive Coordinator Steve Ensminger and was a credentialed media member for tonight’s Peach Bowl.

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron spoke about McCord after the game.

“She interviewed me and (his wife) Kelly,” Orgeron said. “We saw her all the time. Saw her at the state championship. We watched it and watched her work from early morning until late at night. An outstanding you lady with a bright future. It’s a shame it happened.”

Orgeron was asked if it was a difficult decision for Ensminger to work the game.

“I was the one that had to tell coach, I told him what happened,” Orgeron said. “He said we’re going to get through this. And, obviously, he was distraught, but he called a great game today. So just goes to show you the integrity and the grit and character of the men on our football team.”

There’s about four pages of records that were broken today. Between total team offense, Peach Bowl historical feats, College Football Playoff games, there is few left standing after LSU’s assault on the record books. But to Burrow, there’s still more to accomplish.

“January 13th is the record we’re worried about,” Burrow said.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

No. 15 Notre Dame 33, Iowa State 9: Amidst changes, Irish storm past Cyclones with ease

Photo Credit: Jenna VanHoose- The New Notre Dame Network

By: Jon Opiela
Twitter: @jonopiela24

ORLANDO, Fla.— An overcast and rainy afternoon in the sunshine state did not bring down the glow of the No. 15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-2). The Irish headed south and blew past the Iowa State Cyclones (7-6, 5-4 Big 12) in the Camping World Bowl, 33-9.

Notre Dame began dealing with personnel changes as Chip Long was let go as offensive coordinator. Earlier this week, Brian Kelly announced that quarterbacks coach Tom Rees would be calling the plays in the Camping World Bowl.

With all eyes on the offense, the Notre Dame defense managed to shine in the early going and maintained the strong efforts throughout the afternoon.

“All three phases were outstanding today. I thought the defensive performance, when you hold an offense that put 40 points on a team that’s playing in the playoffs in Oklahoma, to no touchdowns, you know, you can’t hide from that,” said Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. “A team that is a prolific offense, to not score a touchdown today, they had plenty of time to prepare.”

With the help of a few defensive takeaways, Rees’ offense got going early and jumped out to a 10-0 lead over the Cyclones. Following a forced fumble by Alohi Gilman on a punt, Jonathan Doerer opened the scoring with a 39-yard field goal. On Iowa State’s first drive, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah stopped the quarterback before recovering for the Irish and Ian Book found Chase Claypool for a 24-yard highlight-reel touchdown not long after the mistake.

The Cyclones and Irish traded field goals on consecutive drives to push the score to 13-3. Iowa State’s Connor Assalley split the uprights from 41 yards out before Doerer connected from 51 for the Irish.

On 4th and 1 at the ISU 45, Breece Hall was stuffed by a wall of Notre Dame defenders. Book received an outstanding pass blocking effort from his offensive line, allowing him all afternoon to find Claypool for a 44-yard gain. After a review took the touchdown off the board, Jafar Armstrong snuck in from inside the one-yard line to extend the Notre Dame lead.

Tony Jones Jr. opened Notre Dame’s second half with an 84-yard touchdown run, which is now the longest in Notre Dame bowl game and Camping World Bowl history. Jones’ previous career long was a 43- yard run against Southern California on Oct. 12.

“You saw him today break down the sideline and have the longest run in Notre Dame bowl history as well. So, you know, another record that will probably not be given enough credit to a guy,” said Kelly of Jones. “But he doesn’t really care about that stuff. He was just excited about the ability to, you know, run the ball today effectively. And he ran physical and did what he normally does: Help us win.”

On special teams, the Cyclones would cut off a few points off of the deficit with Assalley’s third field goal of the game— a new Iowa State bowl game record.  Notre Dame quickly responded with a field goal of their own.

Claypool finished the game with 146 receiving yards, a touchdown, and a fumble recovery en route to a Camping World Bowl MVP trophy. With the big game, Claypool finishes his senior season with 1,037 yards and 2,159 yards throughout his collegiate career. 

“It’s not something that I was trying to reach. I mean, it’s a goal I had. It was
definitely a goal I had. So, it’s nice to kind of reach that goal. But, you know, you don’t really play the game for statistics,” stated Claypool on reaching the 1,000-yard plateau. “So, it’s nice, but I’m not going to remember getting to 1,000 yards this game. I’m just going to remember going out with these guys.”

When asked about what they’ll remember most about their final collegiate game, Khalid Kareem and Claypool had plenty to say about the experience. 

“I would just say the fun we had throughout the week,” said Kareem. “the relationships that we've made this whole week, going to Universal Studios, just having fun with the guys -- because at the end of the day, that's what it's all about. I mean, I haven't had fun like this since high school. This is what it felt like, just out there, playing on Friday nights. Like, that's legit what it felt like, so that's what I'm taking away from it.” 

“When you know it's your last year and your last ride with the guys, you kind of do stuff and you're like, ‘Wow, that's the last time ever that I'm going to be able to do that,’ so then you really cherish it. So, every little thing we did, from going to Shake Shack, going to Universal, doing everything,” Claypool said fondly of his final ride. “It was really special because, you know, you're not going to get those moments back. And when you're a senior and it's your last time, you understand that and you realize that so you cherish it a little more.”

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Green's five takeaways from Colorado's 78-76 win over No. 13 Dayton in overtime

Photo Credit: Matt Morton- AP Photo

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

On the second to last Saturday of the decade, the United Center hosted Chicago Legends featuring a classic in the first game as the Colorado Buffaloes (10-2, 1-0 Pac-12), knocked off the No. 13 Dayton Flyers, 78-76 in overtime. D’shawn Schwartz’s game-winning triple kicks off my five takeaways from the United Center for CSO. 

1) The man of the hour:

In need of an option outside of McKinley Wright and Tyler Bey, D’shawn Schwartz delivered in more ways than one with a season-high 20 points in 38 minutes.

The final piece to Schwartz’s 20 points came at the most critical time in overtime as Bey found the open junior on the wing to deliver a three-pointer as time expired, which left most of the Flyer fans at the United Center stunned.

“It felt like I was in a game of NBA2K. It was surreal. I couldn’t describe it. I think it is the biggest shot I have ever hit in my basketball career,” Schwartz said.

2) Buffaloes overcame Flyers’ red-hot start:

Dayton came into Saturday’s game leading the country in field goal percentage (.537) and assists per game (21.0) and lived up to the billing making eight of its first nine field goals. With Colorado in need of massive adjustments, coach Tad Boyle told his guys about the urgency to overcome even in a pro-Dayton crowd in the huddle at the first media timeout with a double-digit deficit.

“I think we were mentally tough. You have to do that on the road, tough environments, you have to do that when other teams are making their run,” Boyle said. “You have to do that at timeouts, when, okay, they hit a bunch of shots in a row, now it's time to get back to who we are. Just a tough group. They're mentally tough.”

3) Wright-Dayton connection:

While Chicago Legends was meant to be a neutral site affair, the first game between No. 13 Dayton and Colorado felt more like a home game at the University of Dayton Center.

For the second straight season, ex-Dayton commit McKinley Wright faced what would have been his former school. Wright proved to be unphased by the boos showered by Dayton fans as the junior led CU with a season-high 29 points and 10 rebounds, to go along with 10-of-22 from the field.

Wright embraced the heat from the Flyer fans about the past and wanted this one more than anyone else on the court.

“It was a really dope feeling. I expected the boos. I told my teammates before we came to Chicago that it was going to happen. I was getting messages on Instagram about how much they hated me or whatever because I left,” Wright said. “I kind of knew it was coming. I talked to my teammates this morning, told them I needed this one personally. They responded for me. That was a big-time game.” 

4) Obi strikes again, but not enough to overcome the empire:

Dayton sophomore Obi Toppin came into the season as one of the highly regarded big men in the country at 6-foot-9 and 220 lbs. with potential NBA Draft stock.

Toppin came into Saturday’s game with a team-high 20.1 points per game and lived up to the billing against Colorado with a team-high 17 points, highlighted by a game-tying three-point make with six seconds to force overtime.

The three-point make happened to be Toppin’s only one of the game, but believed in the trust from his teammates to keep shooting.

“The whole game I wasn't hitting any threes. My teammates were staying with me, had trust in me, telling me to keep shooting if I was open, don't stop shooting,” Toppin said. “It's crazy because right before that play, Trey was looking at me. It's like, If you're open, shoot the ball. It was in the timeout. I was like, I got you. I guess it just went in. It was a good feeling.”

5) Signature non-conference win for CU:

Expectations were sky high for the Buffaloes coming into the season as they were picked to finish second in the Pac-12 in the preseason and climbed to as high as No. 20 in the AP top 25.

After a 7-0 start, back-to-back losses to then-No. 2 Kansas and Northern Iowa iced CU’s expectations like a can of Coors Light. Colorado goes into the Christmas holiday with a mellow feeling after win over a top 15 team as Pac-12 play looms in the new year after a final non-league tune-up against Iona on Dec. 29.

“Again, I think this can be a win that, as we look back on it, certainly I'm not interested in looking back on it right now, but I think as we move forward, we have Christmas coming up, this is a great way to go into it, be thankful for all of our blessings, everything we have in our lives, then come back and use it as a springboard for Iona and Pac-12 play. That's what I'm hoping for,” Boyle said.

North Carolina A&T racks up points on points in a historic Celebration Bowl

Photo Credit: John Amis- Atlanta Journal Constitution 

By: Jon Opiela
Twitter: @jonopiela24

ATLANTA— In a game that started slow, there was no shortage of offense in the Celebration Bowl. Nearly every offensive record was broken, if not shattered, throughout the course of the afternoon. The North Carolina A&T Aggies (9-3, 6-2 MEAC) claimed their third consecutive HBCU national championship with a 63-44 victory over the Alcorn State Braves (9-4, 6-1 SWAC). 

With 107 total points, the teams annihilated the previous Celebration Bowl record of 75. North Carolina A&T broke their previous record of 41 points scored as well.

“That’s one thing that we really emphasize is the brotherhood. I don’t really know why most black men don’t like using the word love. A lot of us don’t, but it’s a word that we use freely. We do have love for each other and when you express it, it’s shown. And that’s why you can see it - We do express it,” North Carolina A&T head coach Sam Washington said of what makes his teams bond so tight-knit. “It’s a never quit attitude. Just keep fighting. Keep fighting and good things will happen and those kids, they do just that.”

On their second drive of the contest, Alcorn State was forced to punt, but quickly regained possession when Makail Webb forced a fumble on the return. When the Braves recovered at the A&T 34-yard line, the continued their drive— capping it off with a 28-yard field goal to open the scoring.

Both offenses heated up in the second quarter and continued to trade blows. In the opening minutes of the second quarter, the Aggies answered the call. Kylil Carter went deep and beat the double-team to find Elijah Bell for a 53-yard touchdown pass. On the following drive, Alcorn struck back with a 36-yard touchdown pass of their own when Felix Harper found Chris Blair on a fade route on the right sideline. Not to be outdone, North Carolina A&T scored from 59 yards out when Carter found Zachary Leslie for a score.

North Carolina A&T linebacker Jacob Roberts stepped in front of a pass from Harper and returned it to the Alcorn State 5-yard line. The Alcorn State defense put together a spectacular stand inside their own red zone, forcing the Aggies to settle for a 26-yard field goal. 

The explosive offensive performances continued after halftime with the two squads combining to score on each of the first seven drives. Jah-Maine Martin opened the second half with a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. The Braves defense had held the FCS’ leading rusher to just one yard in the first half. 

Yesterday, Martin told the media that he speaks with former North Carolina A&T Aggie and current Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen every single day. Throughout the season, Martin has broken several of Cohen’s school records including single-season rushing touchdowns and single-season total touchdowns.

Alcorn State launched their second half scoring efforts with a six-yard quarterback keeper from Felix Harper. 

Carter continued his record-setting day with a massive second half. With touchdown passes of 20, 43, and 73 yards, Carter rewrote nearly every passing record in Celebration Bowl history. This afternoon, Carter set the Celebration Bowl record for passing yards, yards per completion, and passing touchdowns. He also tied the record for most completions in a game.

The Braves used more of a mix of rushing attacks and aerial strikes. Ron Hunt scampered through the heart of the Aggie defense from 23 yards out. Through the air, Harper found Raidarious Anderson from 35 and Nigel Wood from 13.

The two programs combined for 49 points in the third quarter— shattering the previous Celebration Bowl record of 27 points in a quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Harper found the end zone for his second rushing touchdown of the game and fifth overall. After a high snap from Alcorn State, the North Carolina A&T defense scooped the miscue and returned it 98 yards for two points.

For good measure in the closing minutes, the Aggies added another four-yard touchdown run from Martin, his second score of the game.

During yesterday’s press conferences, Coach Washington had mentioned the teams’ philosophy of “making chicken” several times. “We stopped the run. We did protect the football. I don’t know so much about the kicking team but I thought we did enough,” joked Washington. “The kids played hard and they played to win.”

Thursday, December 19, 2019

CSO Bowl Bash IV picks

Photo Credit: Geno Green

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Welcome to the fourth annual CSO Bowl Bash where all 39 bowl picks will be based on confidence points from 1-39. 

Geno Green is your defending champion from last season and will look to make it back-to-back titles as DaVaughn Lucas, Ryan Larimore, Jeremy Rosenberg and newcomer Dustin Schutte from Saturday Tradition challenge this season.

Here are the 39 games along with the rankings based on the CSO Mock CFP top 25.

Makers Wanted Bowl: Charlotte vs. Buffalo

Green- Buffalo (28)

Rosenberg- Buffalo (14)

Larimore- Charlotte (20)

Lucas- Buffalo (28)

Schutte- Buffalo (10)

Frisco Bowl: Utah State vs. Kent State

Green- Utah State (27)

Rosenberg- Kent State (34)

Larimore- Utah State (14)

Lucas- Kent State (3)

Schutte- Utah State (36)

New Mexico Bowl: San Diego State vs. Central Michigan

Green- San Diego State (26)

Rosenberg- San Diego State (25)

Larimore- Central Michigan (28)

Lucas- Central Michigan (24)

Schutte- Central Michigan (18)

Cure Bowl: Liberty vs. Georgia Southern

Green- Liberty (10)

Rosenberg- Georgia Southern (23)

Larimore- Georgia Southern (4)

Lucas- Liberty (34)

Schutte- Georgia Southern (28)

Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl: SMU vs. Florida Atlantic

Green- SMU (25)

Rosenberg- SMU (31)

Larimore- SMU (2)

Lucas- SMU (35)

Schutte- SMU (29)

Camellia Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Florida International

Green- Arkansas State (2)

Rosenberg- Arkansas State (16)

Larimore- Florida International (5)

Lucas- Arkansas State (35)

Schutte- Arkansas State (1)

Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl: Washington vs. 17) Boise State

Green- Washington (9)

Rosenberg- Washington (4)

Larimore- Boise State (11)

Lucas- Boise State (31)

Schutte- Washington (19)

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: 18) Appalachian State vs. UAB

Green- Appalachian State (35)

Rosenberg- Appalachian State (39)

Larimore- Appalachian State (33)

Lucas- Appalachian State (32)

Schutte- UAB (27)

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl: Marshall vs. UCF

Green- UCF (24)

Rosenberg- UCF (37)

Larimore- UCF (12)

Lucas- Marshall (30)

Schutte- UCF (30)

SoFi Hawai'i Bowl: Hawaii vs. BYU

Green- BYU (8)

Rosenberg- BYU (15)

Larimore- Hawaii (13)

Lucas- BYU (24)

Schutte- Hawaii (17)

Walk-On's Independence Bowl: Miami (FL) vs. Louisiana Tech

Green- Louisiana Tech (3)

Rosenberg- Miami (FL) (21)

Larimore- Miami (FL) (21)

Lucas- Miami (FL) (25)

Schutte- Louisiana Tech (20)

Quick Lane Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Eastern Michigan

Green- Pittsburgh (34)

Rosenberg- Pittsburgh (29) 

Larimore- Eastern Michigan (22)

Lucas- Pittsburgh (21)

Schutte- Eastern Michigan (9)

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman: North Carolina vs. Temple

Green- North Carolina (5)

Rosenberg- Temple (18)

Larimore- North Carolina (10)

Lucas- North Carolina (22)

Schutte- North Carolina (4)

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Michigan State vs. Wake Forest

Green- Wake Forest (11)

Rosenberg- Michigan State (17)

Larimore- Wake Forest (32)

Lucas- Wake Forest (18)

Schutte- Wake Forest (16)

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M

Green- Texas A&M (4)

Rosenberg- Oklahoma State (11)

Larimore- Oklahoma State (9)

Lucas- Texas A&M (23)

Schutte- Oklahoma State (21)

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl: 23) USC vs. 20) Iowa

Green- Iowa (23)

Rosenberg- USC (32)

Larimore- USC (31)

Lucas- USC (19)

Schutte- Iowa (26)

Cheez-It Bowl: 24) Air Force vs. Washington State

Green- Washington State (33)

Rosenberg- Air Force (7)

Larimore- Washington State (8)

Lucas- Washington State (20)

Schutte- Washington State (22)

Camping World Bowl: 15) Notre Dame vs. Iowa State

Green- Notre Dame (39)

Rosenberg- Notre Dame (20)

Larimore- Notre Dame (35)

Lucas- Notre Dame (16)

Schutte- Notre Dame (31)

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: 9) Penn State vs. 14) Memphis

Green- Penn State (32)

Rosenberg- Memphis (9)

Larimore- Penn State (36)

Lucas- Memphis (15)

Schutte- Penn State (37)

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: 1) Ohio State vs. 3) Clemson

Green- Clemson (12)

Rosenberg- Clemson (5)

Larimore- Clemson (1)

Lucas- Ohio State (17)

Schutte- Ohio State (8)

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl: 2) LSU vs. 4) Oklahoma 

Green- LSU (38)

Rosenberg- LSU (30)

Larimore- LSU (39)

Lucas- LSU (14)

Schutte- LSU (32)

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Western Michigan

Green- Western Kentucky (22)

Rosenberg- Western Kentucky (24)

Larimore- Western Kentucky (7)

Lucas- Western Michigan (13)

Schutte- Western Michigan (15)

Franklin America Mortgage Music City Bowl: Louisville vs. Mississippi State

Green- Louisville (6)

Rosenberg- Mississippi State (13)

Larimore- Mississippi State (30)

Lucas- Louisville (39)

Schutte- Louisville (25)

Redbox Bowl: Illinois vs. Cal

Green- Illinois (13)

Rosenberg- Cal (1)

Larimore- Cal (29)

Lucas- Cal (12)

Schutte- Illinois (14)

Capital One Orange Bowl: 6) Florida vs. 25) Virginia

Green- Florida (37)

Rosenberg- Florida (38)

Larimore- Florida (18)

Lucas- Florida (11)

Schutte- Florida (38)

Belk Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Kentucky

Green- Virginia Tech (31)

Rosenberg- Virginia Tech (22)

Larimore- Virginia Tech (19)

Lucas- Kentucky (10)

Schutte- Kentucky (7)

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl: Florida State vs. Arizona State

Green- Arizona State (30)

Rosenberg- Arizona State (12)

Larimore- Arizona State (3)

Lucas- Arizona State (9)

Schutte- Arizona State (3)

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: 22) Navy vs. Kansas State

Green- Navy (36)

Rosenberg- Kansas State (3)

Larimore- Navy (23)

Lucas- Kansas State (7)

Schutte- Navy (33)

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Wyoming vs. Georgia State

Green- Wyoming (16)

Rosenberg- Wyoming (28)

Larimore- Wyoming (24)

Lucas- Georgia State (8)

Schutte- Wyoming (13)

Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. 10) Utah

Green- Texas (21)

Rosenberg- Utah (8)

Larimore- Utah (37)

Lucas- Texas (6)

Schutte- Utah (34)

Vrbo Citrus Bowl: 11) Alabama vs. 18) Michigan

Green- Alabama (15)

Rosenberg- Alabama (27)

Larimore- Alabama (38)

Lucas- Alabama (5)

Schutte- Alabama (39)

Outback Bowl: 16) Minnesota vs. 13) Auburn

Green- Auburn (29)

Rosenberg- Auburn (36)

Larimore- Auburn (34)

Lucas- Auburn (4)

Schutte- Minnesota (6)

Rose Bowl: 7) Oregon vs. 12) Wisconsin

Green- Wisconsin (14)

Rosenberg- Wisconsin (6)

Larimore- Wisconsin (25)

Lucas- Wisconsin (2)

Schutte- Wisconsin (24)

Allstate Sugar Bowl: 5) Georgia vs. 8) Baylor

Green- Georgia (20)

Rosenberg- Georgia (33)

Larimore- Georgia (26)

Lucas- Georgia (1)

Schutte- Georgia (23)

TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl: Boston College vs. 21) Cincinnati 

Green- Cincinnati (19)

Rosenberg- Cincinnati (26)

Larimore- Cincinnati (16)

Lucas- Cincinnati (25)

Schutte- Cincinnati (35)

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl: Indiana vs. Tennessee 

Green- Indiana (18)

Rosenberg- Tennessee (2)

Larimore- Indiana (17)

Lucas- Indiana (29)

Schutte- Tennessee (12)

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Nevada vs. Ohio

Green- Ohio (7)

Rosenberg- Nevada (10)

Larimore- Nevada (27)

Lucas- Nevada (26)

Schutte- Ohio (2)

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Tulane vs. Southern Miss

Green- Southern Miss (1)

Rosenberg- Tulane (19)

Larimore- Tulane (15)

Lucas- Tulane (27)

Schutte- Tulane (11)

Mobile Alabama Bowl: Miami (OH) vs. Louisiana

Green- Louisiana (17)

Rosenberg- Louisiana (35)

Larimore- Louisiana (6)

Lucas- Miami (OH) (36)

Schutte- Miami (OH) (5)