INDIANA BOYS BASKETBALL

Castle 53 Henderson County (Ky.) 50
Crawford County 42 Lanesville 38
Delta 51 Shelbyville 42
Eastern Hancock 80 Union (Modoc) 21
Floyd Central 82 Columbus East 53
Fort Wayne North 62 Huntington North 57
Frankfort 57 Southmont 42
Greenfield-Central 68 Perry Meridian 23
Indianapolis Tindley 67 Indianapolis Metropolitan 61
Lawrenceburg 46 South Dearborn 28
Mooresville 78 Victory College Prep 44
New Albany 73 Bedford North Lawrence 71
Purdue Poly North 81 Northpoint HomeSchool 39
Tri-Central 52 Providence Cristo Rey 19
Triton 41 Culver 36
Union City 79 Cambridge City Lincoln 54
West Washington 56 Henryville 41
Whiteland 75 Martinsville 53


Pioneer Conference playoffs
Indianapolis Shortridge 68 Anderson Prep 66 OT

THURSDAY’S SCHEDULE

ALL TIMES EASTERN
Batesville at Shelbyville 7:30 pm
Bedford North Lawrence at Jasper 7:30 pm
Bethesda Christian at Terre Haute South 7:30 pm
Bloomington South at Northview 7:30 pm
Cannelton at Washington Catholic 6:00 pm
Center Grove at Columbus North 7:30 pm
Christian Academy at North Harrison 7:30 pm
Christian Academy Madison at Pleasant View Christian 6:00 pm
Crawfordsville at Fountain Central 7:30 pm
Danville at Plainfield 7:30 pm
Decatur Central at Perry Meridian 7:30 pm
Demotte Christian at Winamac 8:00 pm
Edgewood at Eastern Greene 7:30 pm
Edinburgh at Brown County 7:30 pm
Fort Wayne Blackhawk at Fort Wayne Northrop 7:30 pm
Franklin County at Connersville 6:00 pm
Gary 21st Century at Marquette Catholic 8:00 pm
Gary West at Hammond Noll 8:00 pm
Gibson Southern at North Posey 8:00 pm
Greenwood Christian at Hauser 7:30 pm
Indianapolis Riverside at Irvington Prep 6:00 pm
Jimtown at Argos 7:30 pm
Lake Station at Morgan Twp. 8:00 pm
Lawrence Central at Southport 7:30 pm
Lighthouse Christian at Clay City 6:30 pm
Lighthouse CPA at Calumet 8:00 pm
Loogootee at North Knox 7:30 pm
Madison at Switzerland County 7:30 pm
Muncie Burris at Blackford 7:30 pm
New Haven at Fort Wayne South 7:30 pm
North Central (Indianapolis) at Hamilton Southeastern 7:30 pm
North Decatur at Rushville 7:30 pm
North Miami at Caston 7:30 pm
North Newton at River Forest 8:00 pm
North White at Faith Christian 7:30 pm
Oldenburg Academy at Lawrenceburg 7:30 pm
Pendleton Heights at Heritage Christian 7:30 pm
Phalen Academy at University 7:30 pm
Pike at Westfield 7:30 pm
Purdue Poly Englewood at Indianapolis Lutheran 7:30 pm
Rensselaer Central at West Central 7:30 pm
Richmond at Lafayette Jeff 7:30 pm
Richmond at Franklin County 7:30 pm
South Central (Elizabeth) at New Washington 6:40 pm
South Knox at Wood Memorial 8:00 pm
South Spencer at Mount Vernon (Posey) 8:30 pm
South Vermillion at Riverton Parke 7:30 pm
Southridge at Boonville 7:30 pm
Springs Valley at Evansville Harrison 7:30 pm
Sullivan at North Daviess 7:30 pm
Tecumseh at Princeton 8:00 pm
Thrival Indy Academy at Indiana Math & Science 6:00 pm
Tipton at Lapel 7:30 pm
Vincennes Rivet at White River Valley 7:30 pm
Western Boone at Traders Point Christian 6:00 pm

CLASS 4A
East Chicago Central
Hammond Morton vs. Munster 8:00 pm
Chesterton
Portage at Chesterton 8:00 pm
Mishawaka
LaPorte at Mishawaka 6:30 pm
Michigan City vs. Plymouth 8:00 pm
Elkhart
Concord vs. Goshen 6:00 pm
Penn vs. Northridge 7:30 pm
East Noble
Fort Wayne Snider at East Noble 6:00 pm
Carroll (Fort Wayne) vs. Fort Wayne North 7:30 pm
Homestead
Fort Wayne Wayne vs. Fort Wayne South 6:00 pm
Huntington North at Homestead 7:30 pm
Lafayette Jeff
Kokomo vs. Harrison (West Lafayette) 6:00 pm
McCutcheon vs. Marion 7:30 pm
Noblesville
Zionsville at Noblesville 6:00 pm
Carmel vs. Fishers 7:30 pm
Greenfield-Central
New Palestine vs. Mount Vernon (Fortville) 7:00 pm
Lawrence North
Lawrence Central vs. Warren Central 7:00 pm
Southport
Indianapolis Roncalli vs. Franklin Central 7:00 pm
Terre Haute South
Plainfield vs. Brownsburg 7:00 pm
Bloomington North
Bloomington South vs. Greenwood 6:00 pm
Mooresville vs. Center Grove 7:30 pm
East Central
Columbus East vs. Columbus North 6:00 pm
Shelbyville vs. Whiteland 7:30 pm
Seymour
Jeffersonville at Seymour 6:00 pm
Bedford North Lawrence vs. New Albany 7:30 pm
Evansville North
Castle at Evansville North 6:30 pm
Jasper vs. Evansville Reitz 8:00 pm


CLASS 3A
Calumet
Hanover Central vs. Lake Station 7:00 pm
River Forest at Calumet 8:30 pm
Tippecanoe Valley
Culver Academy vs. John Glenn 7:30 pm
South Bend Washington
Mishawaka Marian at South Bend Washington 6:00 pm
New Prairie vs. Jimtown 7:30 pm
Lakeland
Wawasee at Lakeland 7:00 pm
Woodlan
Fort Wayne Concordia vs. Garrett 7:00 pm
Frankfort
Western vs. Twin Lakes 7:00 pm
Mississinewa
Bellmont at Mississinewa 7:00 pm
New Castle
Centerville vs. Yorktown 7:00 pm
Lebanon
Western Boone vs. Danville 6:00 pm
Monrovia vs. Tri-West 7:30 pm
Owen Valley
West Vigo at Owen Valley 7:00 pm
Guerin Catholic
Indianapolis Herron at Guerin Catholic 6:00 pm
Indianapolis Shortridge vs. Brebeuf Jesuit 7:30 pm
Beech Grove
Christel House vs. Indianapolis Ritter 6:00 pm
Speedway vs. Purdue Poly Englewood 7:30 pm
Greensburg
Rushville at Greensburg 7:00 pm
Scottsburg
Salem vs. Silver Creek 7:00 pm
Princeton
Southridge vs. North Daviess 7:30 pm
Boonville
Evansville Mater Dei at Boonville 7:00 pm
Mount Vernon (Posey) vs. Gibson Southern 8:30 pm


CLASS 2A
Bowman Academy
Lighthouse CPA vs. Gary 21st Century 8:00 pm
North Judson
LaVille vs. South Bend Career 6:30 pm
Wheeler vs. Hebron 8:00 pm
Westview
Fremont at Westview 6:00 pm
Churubusco vs. Prairie Heights 7:30 pm
Lewis Cass
Wabash vs. Rochester 6:00 pm
North Miami vs. Winamac 7:30 pm
Bluffton
South Adams vs. Adams Central 7:00 pm
Lafayette Central Catholic
Seeger at Lafayette Central Catholic 6:00 pm
Carroll (Flora) vs. Delphi 7:30 pm
Tipton
Elwood at Tipton 7:00 pm
Alexandria
Winchester at Alexandria 7:00 pm
Hagerstown
Shenandoah vs. Knightstown 7:00 pm
Triton Central
Eastern Hancock vs. Indianapolis Scecina 7:00 pm
Sheridan
Covenant Christian vs. Cascade 7:00 pm
Greencastle
Cloverdale vs. North Putnam 7:00 pm
South Ripley
North Decatur vs. Milan 7:00 pm
Southwestern (Hanover)
Eastern (Pekin) vs. Providence 7:00 pm
Paoli
Sullivan at Paoli 7:00 pm
Forest Park
Tell City at Forest Park 6:30 pm
South Spencer vs. North Posey 8:00 pm


CLASS 1A
Kouts
Hammond Science & Tech vs. Demotte Christian 7:00 pm
Washington Twp. at Kouts 8:30 pm
Triton
Trinity Greenlawn vs. Marquette Catholic 7:30 pm
Bethany Christian
Elkhart Christian at Bethany Christian 7:00 pm
Caston
South Newton vs. Tri-County 6:00 pm
West Central vs. North White 7:30 pm
Southern Wells
Southwood at Southern Wells 7:00 pm
Fountain Central
Faith Christian vs. Clinton Central 6:00 pm
Rossville vs. Attica 7:30 pm
Tri-Central
Liberty Christian vs. Anderson Prep 7:00 pm
Blue River
Randolph Southern vs. Tri 7:00 pm
White River Valley
Clay City at White River Valley 7:00 pm
Bethesda Christian
Traders Point Christian at Bethesda Christian 7:00 pm
Indianapolis Lutheran
Victory College Prep at Indianapolis Lutheran 7:00 pm
Edinburgh
Morristown vs. Southwestern (Shelbyville) 7:00 pm
Borden
Christian Academy vs. West Washington 6:00 pm
Lanesville vs. South Central (Elizabeth) 7:30 pm
New Washington
Crothersville at New Washington 6:00 pm
Shawe Memorial vs. Trinity Lutheran 7:30 pm
Loogootee
Shoals vs. Orleans 7:00 pm
Tecumseh
Cannelton vs. Northeast Dubois 7:00 pm
Wood Memorial at Tecumseh 8:30 pm

INDIANA GIRLS BASKETBALL STATE FINALS

SESSION 1

PUBLIC GATES OPEN AT 9:30 AM ET 

10:30 AM ET | CLASS 1A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP 
LANESVILLE (28-1) VS. MARQUETTE CATHOLIC (24-4) 

APPROX. 12:45 PM ET | CLASS 2A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP 
BROWNSTOWN CENTRAL (21-8) VS. FORT WAYNE BISHOP LUERS (19-6) 

SESSION 2

PUBLIC GATES OPEN AT 5 PM ET 

6 PM ET | CLASS 3A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP 
GIBSON SOUTHERN (25-4) VS. NORWELL (23-4) 

APPROX. 8:15 PM ET | CLASS 4A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP 
LAWRENCE CENTRAL (29-1) VS. LAKE CENTRAL (26-4) 

STATE FINALS PREVIEW: https://www.ihsaa.org/sites/default/files/documents/2023-24%20Girls%20Basketball%20Preview.pdf

INDIANA STATE SWIMMING FINALS

Site: Indiana University Natatorium, IUPUI, 901 W. New York St., Indianapolis | Website

Admission: All tickets will be digital through your mobile phone beginning Monday, Feb. 19 and may be purchased through Eventlink (additional fees may apply). No cash. Present your purchase verification on your mobile phone at the gate for admission. $10 per session or $19 both days general admission. Children 5 years and younger admitted free for general admission seating only.  

A limited number of $22 reserved seating tickets will be available for purchase (good for both days) (8 tickets per purchase max). Reserved seating for a single session is not available.

Streaming: All competition will be streamed live at IHSAAtv.org and the IHSAAtv suite of apps (iPhone, Android phone, Roku, Amazon Firestick, AppleTV, and Android TV) via pay-per-view for $10 for Friday’s preliminaries only or $15 for both days.

Photography: Double Edge Media is the Official Photography Service of the IHSAA and posts state championship images for purchase. Website 

Sports Medicine: Athletic trainers from Forté Sports Medicine, the Official Sports Medicine Provider to the IHSAA, will be on hand to assist student-athletes as needed. Website 

Apparel: Contact Team IP, our official online provider of state tournament apparel. Website 

Advancement
The top 16 in each swimming event during Friday’s prelims will return for competition on Saturday with the top eight individuals vying for state championship honors. Those finishing nine through 16 on Friday will make up the competitors in the consolation heats. All diving will take place on Saturday with the top 20 of 32 competitors advancing from the prelims to the semis after five dives each. After three dives each in the semis, the top 16 will advance to the final round for another three dives each. 

Friday, Feb. 23, 2024
Gates open at 4:30 pm ET / 3:30 pm CT
6 pm ET / 5 pm CT | Swimming Preliminaries | Heat Sheets | Psych Sheets 

Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024
Gates open at 7:30 am ET / 6:30 am CT 
9 am ET / 8 am CT | Diving Preliminaries, Semifinals 
1 pm ET / 12 pm CT | Championship/Consolation Finals in all swimming events; Diving Finals 

MEN’S TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES

PENN STATE 90 #12 ILLINOIS 89

#8 DUKE 84 MIAMI FLORIDA 55

#13 ALABAMA 98 #24 FLORIDA 93 OT

GEORGE MASON 71 #16 DAYTON 67

#7 MARQUETTE 105 DEPAUL 71

LSU 75 #17 KENTUCKY 74

NEW MEXICO 68 #22 COLORADO STATE 66

ELSEWHERE:

NOTRE DAME 72 LOUISVILLE 50

INDIANA STATE 83 VALPARAISO 64

ILLINOIS CHICAGO 88 EVANSVILLE 79

NEBRASKA 85 INDIANA 70

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL TOP 25 SCORES

#10 KANSAS STATE 73 #22 WEST VIRGINIA 64 OT

#5 TEXAS 77 TEXAS TECH 72

#24 BAYLOR 69 KANSAS 61

ELSEWHERE:

BALL STATE 78 CENTRAL MICHIGAN 54

BUTLER 84 XAVIER 46

MARYLAND 81 RUTGERS 62

MICHIGAN STATE 68 PURDUE 59

PURDUE FORT WAYNE 70 NORTHERN KENTUCKY 58

CLEVELAND 75 IUPUI 52

NBA SCOREBOARD

NO GAME SCHEDULED

NHL SCOREBOARD

BUFFALO 3 MONTRÉAL 2

PHILADELPHIA 3 CHICAGO 1

TORONTO 6 ARIZONA 3

COLUMBUS 7 ANAHEIM 4

PHILADELPHIA 3 CHICAGO 1

BOSTON 6 EDMONTON 5 OT

NATIONAL SPORTS RELEASES/HEADLINES

NBA NEWS

ANALYSIS: AMID A WIDE-OPEN PLAYOFF RACE, A WIDE-OPEN NBA MVP RACE MIGHT BE BREWING AS WELL

The new rule that rendered Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid ineligible for a second consecutive NBA MVP award because he’s missing too many games has the potential to create something the league hasn’t seen in almost two decades.

That would be a wide-open MVP race.

Steve Nash won the MVP award for the 2005-06 season with only 46% of the first-place votes, marking the last time somebody won the NBA’s top individual honor without having his name atop more than half of the ballots.

The winner in every season since has gotten at least 50% of the first-place votes — and Stephen Curry even got 100% when he was MVP in 2016. This year sure seems like it could go differently, with several players in the realistic mix coming out of the All-Star break.

“There’s a lot of guys,” Boston forward Jaylen Brown said. “Who knows what the actual criteria is, to how it goes. I’ve had questions about a lot of different things that goes into stuff. But, you know, I guess we’ll see.”

Denver’s Nikola Jokic certainly could end up with the award for the third time in four years. Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo may be in the mix for his third MVP as well. Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was fifth last season and should be higher this year. Dallas’ Luka Doncic will likely be on plenty of ballots. If the Los Angeles Clippers keep playing the way they have been over the last couple months, don’t be surprised if a case gets made for Kawhi Leonard.

“Kawhi should definitely be in that conversation,” Clippers forward Paul George said. “But there’s a lot of guys. You talk about Shai, you talk about Luka, you talk about Jokic. There’s a lot of guys out West and even out East, there’s a lot of guys doing a hell of a job representing their team.”

Brown believes his Celtics teammate Jayson Tatum should be atop the MVP list. It’s a reasonable argument; Tatum is the best player on the team with the best record in the league and his averages of 27 points, nearly nine rebounds and nearly five assists per game certainly merit award consideration. A player has finished a season with those averages 26 times over the years; of those, nine have won that season’s MVP award.

Except this season, there are at least two other players — Doncic and Antetokoumpo — averaging that many points, rebounds and assists. Embiid was as well before he got hurt; it’s unclear when or if he’ll be back, but even if he does return he won’t be eligible for the MVP and probably won’t meet the threshold to rank among statistical leaders, either.

Part of the challenge of selecting an MVP is this: There’s no absolute definition. To some, it might mean “best player.” To others, it might mean “most valuable to his team.” And if that’s the case, it might be time to look at Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell.

The Cavs are an NBA-best 23-5 since mid-December. They’re currently No. 2 in the Eastern Conference, when probably very few thought they’d be there. Mitchell is averaging 28.4 points, 6.3 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 steals – all career-highs.

He wants to be MVP. He knows he doesn’t get mentioned. He can’t figure out why.

“I feel like the work shows for itself. I’m not one to go out there and vocalize,” Mitchell said. “Just want to go out there and do it. Ultimately, it’s not up to me. At the end of the day, they don’t put my name in there. They don’t want to. I’m just going to continue to play the level I’m playing at.”

Gilgeous-Alexander is leading another surprise story in Oklahoma City. The Thunder haven’t won a playoff series since 2016; right now, they’re No. 2 in the West thanks in large part to the Canadian guard with averages of 31.1 points, 6.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game.

The only person to finish a season with all those averages: Michael Jordan, who did it 1988-89 – but didn’t win MVP that season. Go figure.

“He is more in the MVP race, I think, than people realize,” Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley said of Gilgeous-Alexander. “I mean, this is something special.”

Gilgeous-Alexander said he’s just going to keep blocking out any noise about awards or playoffs or anything besides who the Thunder play next.

“For me, it’s not any more difficult,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “I think I’ve learned through experience — and obviously as a young kid it’s easy to get caught up in it, just going back to high school and rankings and things like that. I’ve just found so much success from, not blocking it out, but not letting it faze me or control me.”

So, there’s a playoff race. There’s also an MVP race. Often by this time, it’s pretty easy to say that this guy or that guy will win. That’s not the case right now, and it only might get more muddled the rest of the way.

Which would be a great thing.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

SEASON, COLLEGIATE CAREER OVER FOR MICHIGAN F OLIVIER NKAMHOUA (WRIST)

Michigan starting forward Olivier Nkamhoua will miss the rest of the season following surgery on his ailing left wrist, the school announced Tuesday.

He leads the Wolverines in rebounds (7.1 per game) and is second on the team in points (14.8) and minutes played (33.4). All three are career highs.

Nkamhoua transferred to Michigan this season after four seasons at Tennessee and was voted team captain. This was his final season of eligibility.

“This is not how things were meant to be for Olivier,” coach Juwan Howard said. “From the moment he stepped on campus, he brought maturity, class, insight and leadership. I truly feel blessed that I was able to learn a tremendous amount from him both on and off the court. He was a true warrior playing with this injury; however, it was just time to do something. We know this will pass and he will return to have a successful playing career. We are so grateful to have been a small part of his journey.”

Between the two schools, Nkamhoua played in 138 games with 84 consecutive starts. He has career averages of 8.1 points and 4.4 rebounds and appeared in three NCAA Tournaments (2021-23) with the Volunteers.

“Decisions like this are never easy,” said Nkamhoua, a Finland native. “Playing with this injury became taxing and we knew something had to be done. I feel like I wasn’t able to finish what I came here to do; however, the support and love from the coaches, my teammates and everyone involved with this program has been so amazing.”

The Wolverines (8-18, 3-12 Big Ten) have five regular-season games remaining.

TOP 25 ROUNDUP: PENN STATE RALLIES, UPSETS NO. 12 ILLINOIS

Capped by Zach Hicks’ three free throws with 4.2 seconds left, Penn State scored the final eight points in the last 35 seconds to pull off a 90-89 Big Ten upset of No. 12 Illinois on Wednesday night in State College, Pa.

Nick Kern Jr. scored 18 of his career-high 22 points in the second half to pace five players in double figures for Penn State (13-14, 7-9 Big Ten), which played its first game at Rec Hall since Dec. 12, 2015.

Hicks and Qudus Wahab contributed 13 points apiece while Ace Baldwin Jr. notched 10 points and 12 assists in the Nittany Lions’ first Big Ten game at their 95-year-old campus gymnasium since January 1996.

Terrence Shannon Jr.’s career-high 35 points and his 11 rebounds went for naught for Illinois (19-7, 10-5), which led by as much as 14 points in the second half and owned an 87-77 lead after Shannon’s three-point play with 2:30 to go.

No. 7 Marquette 105, DePaul 71

Tyler Kolek set a program record with 18 assists and Kam Jones scored a career-high 34 points to lead the Golden Eagles over the visiting Blue Demons in Milwaukee.

Jones shot 12 of 15 from the floor and, more notably, 8 of 10 from beyond the arc. Four players scored in double figures for Marquette (20-6, 11-4 Big East), led by 15 from Oso Ighodaro. Kolek attempted just two shots and scored on a 3-pointer.

Jaden Henley and Elijah Fisher each scored 19 to lead DePaul (3-23, 0-15). Keyondre Young and Chico Carter Jr. each scored 10.

No. 8 Duke 84, Miami 55

Kyle Filipowski showed his varied skills with 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and three blocks as the Blue Devils defeated the Hurricanes in an Atlantic Coast Conference game in Coral Gables, Fla.

Duke (21-5, 12-3 ACC), which never trailed, has won five straight and 16 of its past 18 games. Jeremy Roach led Duke in scoring with 16 points. Duke also got 15 points from Mark Mitchell and 11 from Caleb Foster.

Miami (15-12, 6-10), which reached the Final Four last season, has lost a season-worst five consecutive games. The Hurricanes were led by Wooga Poplar and Bensley Joseph, who each scored 15. Miami center Norchad Omier posted nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds, including six offensive boards.

No. 13 Alabama 98, No. 24 Florida 93 (OT)

Grant Nelson had 22 points and eight rebounds and Aaron Estrada recorded 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to help the Crimson Tide escape with an overtime victory over the Gators in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Mark Sears had 17 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for the Crimson Tide (19-7, 11-2 SEC), who trailed for most of the game in regulation. Sam Walters had 14 points, Nick Pringle added 13 points before fouling out and Rylan Griffen added 10 points for Alabama, which won for the 13th time in its last 15 games to remain in first place in the conference.

Walter Clayton Jr. had 27 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Gators (18-8, 8-5), who lost for just the second time in their past nine games. Will Richard and Zyon Pullin scored 17 points apiece, Tyrese Samuel had 14 points and eight rebounds and Alex Condon added 10 points.

George Mason 71, No. 16 Dayton 67

Baraka Okojie scored 19 points to lead four players in double figures as the host Patriots upset the Flyers in Fairfax, Va.

Okojie sealed the outcome by canning two foul shots with 14 seconds left. That was fitting since George Mason (18-8, 7-6 Atlantic 10) won the game at the line, going 24 of 29 on the night and 19 of 22 in the second half.

DaRon Holmes II starred in defeat for Dayton (21-5, 11-3) with a game-high 26 points, going 8 of 15 from the field. But the Flyers went cold in the second half, making just 10 of 28 (35.7 percent) from the field.

LSU 75, No. 17 Kentucky 74

Tyrell Ward scored 17 points and made a game-winning follow-up hoop at the buzzer as the Tigers defeated the Wildcats in Baton Rouge, La.

Jordan Wright and Jalen Reed added 13 points each for the Tigers (14-12, 6-7 Southeastern Conference), who beat a ranked team for the second time in five days after upsetting then-No. 11 South Carolina on Saturday.

Antonio Reeves scored 25 points and Rob Dillingham put up 21 of his 23 in the second half to lead the Wildcats (18-8, 8-5). Kentucky lost for the fourth time in seven games.

New Mexico 68, No. 22 Colorado State 66

Donovan Dent converted a three-point play with 3.2 seconds left to lift the Lobos over the Rams in Albuquerque, N.M.

New Mexico (21-6, 9-5 Mountain West) has defeated three ranked teams in The Pit at Albuquerque in the same season for the first time in program history. The Lobos topped then-No. 19 San Diego State on Jan. 13 and beat then-No. 16 Utah State three days later.

Colorado State (20-7, 8-6) lost its first game after returning to the AP Top 25 this week. The Rams had won five of their previous six contests.

SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE SUSPENDS 8 OVER POSTGAME BRAWL

The Southland Conference suspended eight players — four from each team — in the aftermath of Monday’s postgame brawl between Texas A&M-Commerce and Incarnate Word.

The players were suspended for “flagrant unsportsmanlike actions,” with the conference saying the suspensions will begin immediately.

Texas A&M Commerce suspensions:

Jerome Brewer Jr. 3 games;
Ant Abraham 3 games;
Kwo Agwa 3 games;
Prince Davies 1 game

Incarnate Word suspensions:

Elijah Davis 3 games;
Alex Anderson 2 games;
Gabe Beny Til 2 games;
Marcus Glover 2 games

“The Southland Conference Board of Directors has set clear expectations for sportsmanship and behavior of our student-athletes, coaches, and spectators during and after competitions,” Southland commissioner Chris Grant said in a statement. “Unfortunately, these expectations were not met on Monday night, and the Southland Conference will not tolerate any unsportsmanlike behavior.”

The brawl began in the handshake line after Commerce’s overtime victory in San Antonio. It remains unclear who or what sparked the melee.

Both teams are near the bottom of the 10-team Southland standings. Commerce is 10-17 overall and 4-10 in Southland play. Incarnate Word is 8-18 and 3-10, respectively.

HCAC MEN’S BASKETBALL

ALL-HCAC TEAMS ANNOUNCED

CARMEL, Ind. – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) announced the 2024 Men’s Basketball All-Conference teams and the major award winners.

Zach Sawyer (Columbus, Ind.) from Manchester University was named the 2024 HCAC Player of the Year, in a vote of league coaches. The junior led the league in rebounds (221), assists (112), and steals (57) over the course of the season. Over the course of the season, Zach averaged 19.59 points per game. Zach’s three-point field goal percentage (48.8 percent) totaled 171 field goals made.

On the defensive end, Elijah Mattingly (Beech Grove, Ind.) of Anderson University was noticed for his efforts, earning the title of the 2024 HCAC Defensive Player of the Year. AU is in the 86th percentile defense on Synergy, while the next closest HCAC team is in the 48th percentile. Elijah leads the conference in blocks by a mile (65 to next closest 32) and also leads the conference in defensive rebounds, and is top-fifteen in the conference in steals per game. His presence allows teammates to sell out on defending 3pt line in a way that we can’t with our other options in the game. Combined blocks/steals 93 to next closest 77.

Earlham College’s Ken Walker (Snellville, Ga.) was named the 2024 HCAC Newcomer of the Year. The first year averaged 20.89 points per game, the fourth best mark in the league, with 376 points. The guard was fourth in the league in field goal percentage, with a 47.7 shooting average. He also picked up 4.0 rebounds per contest, with 73 boards.

After leading Anderson to a 16-9 regular season record in 2023, a 16-2 mark in league play and the conference regular season title, Carter Collins was voted as the 2024 HCAC Coach of the Year.

Player of the Year –Zach Sawyer, Manchester University 
Best Defensive Player of the Year – Elijah Mattingly, Anderson University
Newcomer of the Year – Ken Walker, Earlham College 
Coach of the Year – 
Carter Collins, Anderson University The HCAC also honors an All-Conference First Team, Second Team, and Honorable Mention Team. The members of those teams are selected by a vote of league coaches.

For more information on HCAC Men’s Basketball, visit the websites of any of the participating schools, or go to the HCAC’s home on the internet at www.heartlandconf.org. Be sure to stay up to date on all of your Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference news by following @HCACDIII on Twitter and by liking the “HCAC DIII” Facebook page. 

2024 HCAC All-Conference First Team

NameYearPOSInstitution
Luke Collinsworth JRFMount St. Joseph University
Jaylan GreenSRGTransylvania University
Bryson HuckebySOWAnderson University
Tate IvanyoJRWAnderson University
Zach SawyerSRGManchester University
Bryant SmithJRGManchester University

2024 HCAC All-Conference Second Team

NameYearPOSInstitution
Ty HoustonGSGHanover College
Lynn KingJRG/FFranklin College
Elijah MattinglySOWAnderson University
Miles McGowenJRFRose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Cam SmithSRGAnderson University
Ken WalkerFYGEarlham College

2024 HCAC All-Conference Honorable Mention

NameYearPOSInstitution
Braden FlanaganJRGFranklin College
Cam FreemanFYGHanover College
Max GreenamoyerSRGHanover College
Jessie Morgan Jr.SOGFranklin College
Hunter PennJRFTransylvania University
Michael StammenSRGBluffton University
Matthew TeagueSRSFTransylvania University
Logan WilloughbyJRG/FManchester University

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

WOMEN’S TOP 25 ROUNDUP: NO. 10 KANSAS ST. SINKS NO. 22 WEST VIRGINIA IN OT

Ayoka Lee recorded game highs of 34 points and 12 rebounds and No. 10 Kansas State used an 11-0 run in overtime to pick up a 73-64 victory over No. 22 West Virginia on Wednesday night in Manhattan, Kan.

Lee made 12 of 17 shots from the field, and her free throw with four seconds left in regulation gave the Wildcats (23-4, 12-3 Big 12) a 58-56 edge before Jordan Harrison forced the extra session with a layup at the buzzer.

After the Mountaineers’ Lauren Fields canned a 3-pointer to make it 62-62 with 3:17 remaining in overtime, Kansas State took over. It rattled off the next 11 points, eight of which came from Lee, to build a 73-62 cushion that effectively sealed the victory.

Serena Sundell added 11 points for the Wildcats, who shot 47.2 percent overall to win for the third time in four games.

JJ Quinerly paced West Virginia (22-4, 11-4) with 23 points before fouling out in overtime. Kylee Blacksten had nine points and Fields had eight to go along with eight boards, but the Mountaineers saw a modest two-game winning streak come to an end.

No. 5 Texas 77, Texas Tech 72

Taylor Jones led four scorers in double figures with 19 points as the Longhorns held off the Red Raiders in Austin, Texas.

Amina Muhammad recorded a 16-point, 15-rebound double-double and Madison Booker (14 points) and DeYona Gaston (12) also played a large part in Texas’ seventh straight win.

Jasmine Shavers netted 27 points and Bailey Maupin tallied 22 for Texas Tech (16-12, 5-10 Big 12), which was within three with nine seconds to go after Shavers canned a trey. But Booker iced the game with a pair of free throws, allowing the Longhorns (25-3, 12-3) to hang on.

No. 24 Baylor 69, Kansas 61

Dre’Una Edwards came off the bench for 20 points, helping the Bears beat the Jayhawks in Waco, Texas.

Edwards went 9-for-15 from the floor and grabbed seven rebounds for Baylor (20-6, 9-6 Big 12). Jana Van Gytenbeek posted 11 points and Darianna Littlepage-Buggs followed with 10 as the Bears won back-to-back games for the first time since early January.

S’Mya Nichols made all 10 of her free-throw attempts en route to a game-high 23 points for Kansas (15-11, 8-7), which trailed by at least six for the entirety of the fourth quarter. The Jayhawks had won their previous five games.

HCAC WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS ANNOUNCED

CARMEL, Ind. – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) announced the members of the 2024 All Conference teams as well as the other marquee awards following the regular season.

Headlining the awards are the 2024 HCAC Player of the Year, Daisa Thornton (Cincinnati, Ohio) from Transylvania University. The Pioneers have put together another record breaking year, coasting through the regular season with an unblemished 25-0 overall record, and are ranked No. 2 in the country. Dasia currently leads the conference in rebounding, FGs (101), FG% (62 percent),  and is second in scoring (259) while only playing 25 min a game.  She is also 6th in the country in FG% (59 percent).

Fellow Pioneer Kennedi Stacy (Salyersville, Ky.) also earned recognition, being named the 2023 HCAC Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row. She leads the Pioneer defense by playing both the top and bottom of the zone and pressing giving them immense flexibility.  She is able to defend, get steals, and increase pressure at every position allowing the Pioneer defense to be #1 in the country, holding teams to 41.1 ppg.The senior wreaked havoc on foes offenses, with 33 steals, averaging 10.61 points per game. She also ranked in the top-25 in rebounding with 4,83 boards a game, and 87 overall. She also got it done on the other end of the court, ranked in the league in scoring (10.61 ppg), sixth in field goal percentage (43 percent), and adding 3.0 assists per game. 

The HCAC also recognizes a Newcomer of the Year, a student athlete in their first year of athletic competition. Grace Roland (Westmont, Ill.) from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology was voted as the 2024 HCAC Newcomer of the Year. The first year averaged 11.8 points a game, amassing 190 points on the season. Roland also averaged 7.3 rebounds per game, ammassing 190 total rebound on the season.

Leading Transylvania University to an undefeated season and No. 2 national ranking, Juli Fulks was named the 2024 HCAC Coach of the Year in a vote of the league coaches.

The HCAC also honors an All-Conference First Team, Second Team, and Honorable Mention Team. The women’s coaches also recognize a Newcomer Team. The members of those teams are selected by a vote of league coaches and can be found below.

For more information on HCAC Women’s Basketball, visit the websites of any of the participating schools, or go to the HCAC’s home on the internet at www.heartlandconf.org. Be sure to stay up to date on all of your Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference news by following @HCACDIII on Twitter and by liking the “HCAC DIII” Facebook page.

Player of the Year – Dasia Thornton, Transylvania University 
Defensive Player of the Year – Kennedi Stacy, Transylvania University 
Newcomer of the Year – Grace Roland, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Coach of the Year – Juli Fulks, Transylvania University 

2024 HCAC All-Conference First Team

NameYearPOSInstitution
Jamie BaumJRRose-Hulman
Grace BezoldJRFHanover
Jordan CoonSOGFranklin
Taylor HeathSRGHanover
Kennedi StacyGSGTransylvania
Dasia ThorntonGSFTransylvania

2024 HCAC All-Conference Second Team

NameYearPOSInstitution
Laken BallGSGTransylvania
Madison DrummondsSRFMount St. Joseph
Morgan JenkinsSOGMount St. Joseph
Karlee MillsSOMount St. Joseph
Sydney WrightSRFTransylvania
Sadie WurthJRPGTransylvania

2024 HCAC All-Conference Honorable Mention

NameYearPOSInstitution
Katherine BenterJRG/FHanover
Jay BrightJRGEarlham
Kady ClancyJRGHanover
Taylor CooneyJRGFranklin
Izzy DavisSOGAnderson
Chloe JansenGSGMount St. Joseph
Grace RolandFYFRose-Hulman
Makynlee TaylorSRFAnderson

2024 HCAC Newcomer Team

NameYearPOSInstitution
Sammy BermanFYHanover
Abby ParsonsFYFEarlham
Grace RolandFYFRose-Hulman
Payton SeayFYFFranklin
Sydney SierotaFYPGAnderson
Whitney WarfelFYFMount St. Joseph

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS

HOW THE 12-TEAM COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF WILL WORK

The 12-team College Football Playoff is 10 months away from kicking off and the format for it has finally been locked in.

University presidents who make up the CFP Board of Managers unanimously approved one last tweak to increase the number of at-large bids from six to seven. The change to reserve only five spots for conference champions instead of six — as was originally planned — was prompted by conference realignment.

The Pac-12 will continue to operate next season, but with only two schools — Oregon State and Washington State, who will play most of their games against Mountain West opponents.

With the Power Five down to four and the Pac-12’s future uncertain, the commissioners on the CFP management committee agreed to change the model from 6-6 to 5-7. Presidential approval was delayed about a month by some concerns from the Pac-12’s representative, but the format is now set.

“This is a very logical adjustment for the College Football Playoff based on the evolution of our conference structures since the board first adopted this new format in September 2022,” Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State and chairman of the CFP board, said Tuesday.

Considering the fits and starts since work began on expansion in 2019 and a 12-team plan was first publicly introduced in 2021, one more speed bump seemed appropriate.

There are still important behind-the-scenes issues related to governance and revenue distribution for CFP managers to tackle looking toward 2026 and beyond. But the who, where, when and how of the first two seasons of the 12-team playoff seem set.

WHO MAKES THE CFP FIELD

It is all about the rankings from the 13-member selection panel.

The five highest-ranked conference champions will make the field and then the seven highest-ranked at-large qualifiers. There are no automatic bids.

The four-highest ranked conference champs receive first-round byes into the quarterfinals. The four first-round games will match the teams seeded five through 12.

SITES AND DATES

First-round games will be played on campus, hosted by the higher-ranked team: No. 12 at No. 5; No. 11 at No. 6; No. 10 at No. 7; and No. 9 at No. 8. Those games this year are scheduled to be played Dec. 20 and Dec. 21.

Using the CFP rankings from the end of last season, a 12-team playoff would look like this: No. 12 seed Oklahoma at No. 5 Florida State; No. 11 Ole Miss at No. 6 Georgia; No. 10 Penn State at No. 7 Ohio State; No. 9 Missouri at No. 8 Oregon; and the top four seeds — Michigan, Washington, Texas and Alabama — would get byes.

The quarterfinals and semifinals will be played at traditional bowl sites, using the six bowls in the current CFP semifinal rotation. The top four teams will be slotted into the most advantageous locations, with the top seed getting the most preference.

Teams will not be reseeded after the opening round. The top seed will face the winner of 8 vs. 9; with the No. 2 seed taking on the winner of 7 vs. 10; No. 3 playing the 6 or 11 seed; and No. 4 facing the 5-12 winner.

The Fiesta Bowl quarterfinal next season is set for Dec. 31 and the Peach, Rose and Sugar bowls are slated to be played Jan. 1. The Orange Bowl semifinal is scheduled for Jan. 9 and the Cotton Bowl semifinal Jan. 10.

The first championship game with the 12-team format is scheduled for Jan. 20 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

BEYOND 2025

It is best to think of the next two seasons of the 12-team playoff as something of a test run for the selection process, the number of at-large bids and where the games are played.

Conceivably, those things could be changed come 2026 because, as of right now, there is no contract in place beyond 2025.

The CFP and ESPN have agreed in principle to a six-year contract that runs through the 2031 football season and is worth more than $7 billion. That deal is not done because issues related to revenue distribution and governance still need to be worked out.

On the revenue side, the Power Five conferences receive about 78% of the CFP revenue to distribute to their members in the old system, with the Group of Five getting almost all of the rest.

With the Power Five shrinking to a Power Four, and the Southeastern Conference and Big Ten separating further in something of a Big Two, how money is split up and decisions are made is certain to change going forward.

The current CFP structure requires unanimity among all 10 conferences, plus Notre Dame, to change the system. That’s why expansion took so long. Expect the SEC and Big Ten to hold more sway over the CFP when a new deal is agreed upon.

CFP COMMITTEE DISCUSSES 14-TEAM PLAYOFF FOR 2026

With the ink not yet dry on the new 12-team playoff format that will begin in 2024, the College Football Playoff management committee discussed the idea of a 14-team playoff, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.

Any additional expansion wouldn’t happen until 2026, if at all. The idea was discussed during CFP meetings in the Dallas area on Wednesday.

“Fourteen teams is a possibility,” Mike Aresco, CFP committee member and outgoing commissioner of the American Athletic Conference, told some reporters.

The CFP on Tuesday just approved a 5+7 model for the upcoming season, featuring the five highest-ranked conference champions and the next seven highest-ranked teams.

Under the 12-team playoff format that begins in the fall, the four highest-ranked conference champions will be seeded one through four for the CFP tournament and will receive a first-round bye. Teams seeded five through 12 will play each other in the first round at the home of the higher-ranked team.

It’s unclear what a 14-team format would look like, per the reports.

Aresco announced his retirement in December and will leave after May 31.

NHL NEWS

NHL ROUNDUP: AUSTON MATTHEWS SCORES NOS. 50, 51

Auston Matthews scored twice, surpassing the 50-goal mark, as the Toronto Maple Leafs stretched their win streak to a season-best five games with a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday in Tempe, Ariz.

William Nylander also had two goals, while Bobby McMann and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist for Toronto. Mitchell Marner added three assists, and Timothy Liljegren and TJ Brodie each had two assists. Ilya Samsonov made 23 saves for his fifth straight victory.

Matias Maccelli, Barrett Hayton and Dylan Guenther scored for Arizona. Karel Vejmelka stopped 30 shots for the Coyotes, who have dropped 11 straight (0-10-1).

Matthews became the fastest U.S.-born player to reach the 50-goal mark, accomplishing the feat in his 54th game of the season. The last time any player got to 50 goals quicker in a season was when Mario Lemieux reached the mark in 50 games for the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins.

Bruins 6, Oilers 5 (OT)

Charlie McAvoy scored in overtime to cap a two-point performance and visiting Boston recovered from blowing a three-goal lead to beat Edmonton.

David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk netted a goal and an assist apiece for the Bruins, while Morgan Geekie, Brad Marchand and Trent Frederic each had a goal. Boston goaltender Jeremy Swayman made 37 saves, and Mason Lohrei added three assists.

Warren Foegele scored twice, Zach Hyman logged one goal and one assist and Mattias Janmark and Corey Perry tallied once each for the Oilers. Edmonton goalie Stuart Skinner stopped 29 shots, and Connor McDavid and Cody Ceci both notched a pair of assists.

Sabres 3, Canadiens 2

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 29 saves to help visiting Buffalo beat Montreal.

Zemgus Girgensons, Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch scored for the Sabres, who have won three of their past five.

Jayden Struble and Arber Xhekaj scored for Montreal. Joshua Roy had two assists and Sam Montembeault turned aside 20 shots for the Canadiens, who have lost three in a row and five of their past six.

Flyers 3, Blackhawks 1

Travis Sanheim, Travis Konecny and Garnet Hathaway scored to back a 21-save effort from Samuel Ersson as visiting Philadelphia topped Chicago.

The Flyers stopped a two-game losing streak behind a persistent attack. Philadelphia outshot the Blackhawks 33-22 as the Flyers won for the fifth time in seven games.

Seeking to secure consecutive wins at the United Center for the first time in a month, Chicago failed to keep pace offensively in the opener of a five-game homestand. The Blackhawks lost for the 10th time in 11 games, unable to build on their NHL-low 33 points.

Blue Jackets 7, Ducks 4

Zach Werenski and Sean Kuraly each scored two goals and visiting Columbus held off an Anaheim rally.

Johnny Gaudreau, Yegor Chinakhov and Boone Jenner also scored goals for the Blue Jackets, who blew a four-goal lead before scoring three times in the third period. Gaudreau, Jenner, Alexandre Texier and Jack Roslovic each had two assists. Daniil Tarasov stopped 27 of the 29 shots he faced.

Mason McTavish scored two goals, Troy Terry had a goal in a three-point game and Pavel Mintyukov had three assists for the Ducks, who scored four goals in 12 minutes during the second period, including three in a 3:31 span. Alex Killorn also had a goal, while John Gibson stopped 20 shots.

BASEBALL NEWS

FORMER ALL-STAR HOSMER RETIRES AFTER 13 SEASONS

First baseman Eric Hosmer announced his retirement Wednesday following a 13-year career that included a 2016 All-Star nod, four Gold Gloves, and a 2015 World Series title with the Kansas City Royals.

“My playing days are unfortunately over, which I’m cool with … but at the same time I still want to give back. I still want to reach and really lead some of these young guys,” Hosmer said on his new podcast “Diggin’ Deep.” “This is what I’m excited for … I want to start a podcast and instilling this winning mentality in guys.”

Hosmer, who was also a 2017 Silver Slugger, suited up for the Royals, San Diego Padres, Boston Red Sox, and Chicago Cubs. He finished his career with a .276/.335/.427 slash line with 1,753 hits, 198 homers, and 893 RBIs over 1,689 games.

The 34-year-old signed an eight-year, $144-million contract with the Padres in February 2018 after seven seasons with the Royals. He ended up playing five campaigns with San Diego.

GOLF NEWS

COLUMN: GOLF HAS A FRACTURED LANDSCAPE. NOT EVEN THE MAJORS CAN PUT IT BACK TOGETHER

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The grill room at a California municipal golf course had one TV showing LIV Golf in Las Vegas, another showing the PGA Tour in Phoenix. A half-dozen people shifted eyes watching both, the former with fewer commercials on a network known more for “Young Sheldon” reruns.

This is the current landscape in golf, and it figures to be that way for the rest of this year and probably well into the next one, if not longer.

Consider the immediate future.

Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler will be in Florida next week the same time Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau are in Saudi Arabia. At least there is an eight-hour difference in time zones, assuming everyone has The CW app.

For those who prefer to play the week before a major, LIV Golf will be on the Blue Monster at Doral ahead of the Masters and PGA Tour players will be in San Antonio. The week before the U.S. Open, LIV will be in Houston, the PGA Tour in Ohio for the Memorial.

All of which leads to the common refrain that all anyone wants is for the best players in golf to be on the same stage.

The only place for that is the majors, which always mattered more than all the other tournaments. Now the gap is getting larger.

The PGA Tour already has held three of its “signature events” with a $20 million purse, cold plunges and wild-caught seafood served in player dining. Nothing felt extraordinary about them. LIV Golf had a 59 and a playoff in the dark the first week, and a six-way tie for the lead late on the back nine the second week. The only noise sounded forced.

Golf has always had various starting lines depending on the level of interest. The most ardent fans tuned in for Kapalua and its magnificent ocean views for The Sentry to start the year. Torrey Pines is the first PGA Tour event on network television. Pebble Beach is the first weekend without the NFL (and more magnificent ocean views, even when the wind and rain cause waves to crash over the 18th fairway).

The Florida swing means the Masters is near. The Players Championship used to boast the strongest and deepest field in golf, a claim it can no longer make with 15 of the last 30 major champions (a total of nine players) now with LIV. At least it still has the island green.

That brings us to the Masters. What poetically is referred to as the annual rite of spring might just as well be called the start of the golf season.

“Yes and no,” Xander Schauffele said.

“If you just love golf, you should have no problem watching the LIV circuit on CW, and you should have no problem turning on CBS or Golf Channel when you watch the PGA Tour, LPGA, whatever you want,” he said.

And now for the “no.”

“If you want to see all the best in the world playing each other, then that would be your first tournament to watch,” Schauffele said. “But even then, there are guys who should be at Augusta, arguably, based on how good they are. But they made the choice, rolled the dice and they’re not going to be there unless they win something crazy.”

Winning “something crazy” ostensibly would be a major, which comes with a five-year exemption to the other majors.

Still to be determined is whether Augusta National hands out special invitations and to whom, and whether the PGA of America will consider players from other tours, as Kerry Haigh, the chief championships officer, said last year it would.

Otherwise, it won’t be long before the majors don’t have all the best.

DeChambeau has only two years left at the Masters before his exemption from winning the U.S. Open runs out. Cameron Smith has an exemption through 2027.

Patrick Reed has dropped to No. 100 in the world ranking — he never did reach No. 5, after declaring himself one of the top five players in golf in 2014 when he was at No. 20. Depending on what happens in the Masters, he will be well outside the top 100 for PGA Championship consideration.

The five-year exemptions for DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson at the PGA end after next year.

The Official World Golf Ranking hasn’t found a way to fairly include LIV Golf in its system, and LIV Golf hasn’t provided a reason with such a closed shop.

Is the OWGR fair? Yes. Accurate? Not so much. Johnson currently is at No. 238, right behind Ockie Strydom and Troy Merritt. But remember, the majors use the world ranking to determine their fields, and the heads of those organizations were the ones voting not to include LIV.

And so it’s on to Mexico and Florida and Texas for the PGA Tour, to Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong for LIV, and everyone meets up at Augusta National in April.

Rory McIlroy said he thought a signature event would feel cheapened because not all the best players — Jon Rahm, Johnson, Koepka — were there.

It was a peculiar opinion because that doesn’t always happen, anyway. Only five of the top 10 were playing when McIlroy won the Canadian Open in 2022. And even in a limited-field event like the CJ Cup in Las Vegas he won in the fall of 2021, Rahm, DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay sat that one out. All were among the top 10 in the world.

All the best are found only at the majors. At least for now.

LIV’S JOAQUIN NIEMANN ONE OF THREE SPECIAL INVITES TO MASTERS

LIV Golf’s Joaquin Niemann of Chile was among three players given a special invitation to play in the Masters in April.

Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark and Ryo Hisatsune, a 21-year-old who is the first Japanese player to win the European Tour Rookie of the Year award, were also invited to Augusta National for the 2024 Masters.

Niemann was ranked No. 18 in the world in September of 2022 when he defected to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf. The upstart circuit does not earn points in the World Golf Rankings. Niemann is currently ranked No. 81.

His willingness to play tournaments outside the LIV Golf schedule in order to earn ranking points, a December win in the Australian Open and his fifth-place finish in the Australian PGA all played in Niemann’s favor.

“It kind of hurt me a little bit not being in the majors and I think also helped me to get motivation to kind of earn my spot back into the majors, into the elite players,” Niemann said after starting his third season with LIV with a playoff win over Sergio Garcia to win Mayakoba in early February.

Niemann has appeared in four Masters tournaments, tying for 16th in 2023.

The Masters is scheduled for April 11-14 at Augusta National in Georgia.

The Masters has awarded special invitations since 1999, when world rankings became part of the criteria to play. This is only the second time that three invitations have been awarded in one year, with the previous time being in 2008 when Liang Wen-Chong of China, Jeev Milkha Singh of India and Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand were given invitations.

PGA TOUR HEADS TO MEXICO. LPGA BEGINS ASIA SWING IN THAILAND

PGA TOUR

MEXICO OPEN AT VIDANTA

Site: Vallarta, Mexico.

Course: Vidanta Vallarta, Mexico. Yardage: 7,456. Par: 71.

Prize money: $8.1 million. Winner’s share: $1.458 million.

Television: Thursday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 1-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3-6 p.m. (CBS).

Defending champion: Tony Finau.

FedEx Cup leader: Matthieu Pavon.

Last week: Hideki Matsuyama won the Genesis Invitational.

Notes: The tournament moved up two months to create some space between the West Coast swing and the start of the Florida swing. … The Mexico Open started out as a World Golf Championships event in Mexico City before the COVID-19 pandemic. … Tony Finau has not won since he captured the title last April. … Every player who earned a PGA Tour card from the Korn Ferry Tour is in the field. … Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington is competing on a sponsor exemption. … The field has four players from the top 50 in the world ranking with Finau, Nicolai Hojgaard, Ryan Fox and Emiliano Grillo. … The winner receives an invitation to the Masters and qualifies for the PGA Championship. … Russell Knox, who has conditional status (Nos. 126 to 150 in the FedEx Cup), is making his first PGA Tour start of the year. He has played in three Korn Ferry Tour events this year.

Next week: Cognizant Classic.

Online: https://www.pgatour.com/

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LPGA TOUR

HONDA LPGA THAILAND

Site: Chonburi, Thailand.

Course: Siam CC. Yardage: 6,576. Par: 72.

Prize money: $1.7 million. Winner’s share: $255,000.

Television: Wednesday-Thursday, 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. (Golf Channel); Friday-Saturday, 10:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. (Golf Channel).

Defending champion: Lilia Vu.

Race to CME Globe leader: Lydia Ko.

Last tournament: Nelly Korda won the Drive On Championship.

Notes: This tournament begins the three-event Asia swing. The LPGA Tour has a four-event Asia swing later in the year. … Lilia Vu picked up her first LPGA title in Thailand a year ago. She went on to win majors at the Chevron Championship and the Women’s British Open. … Nanna Koerstz Madsen set the tournament record two years ago at 26-under 262. … Amy Yang is the only three-time winner of the Honda LPGA Thailand. She is in the field. … Vu leads six of the top 10 from the women’s world ranking in the field. Missing are Nelly Korda, Lydia Ko, Minjee Lee and Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand. … Several players began this swing by playing in the Aramco Series in Saudi Arabia as part of the Ladies European Tour. Patty Tavatanakit won in Saudi Arabia for her first title since she won the ANA Inspiration for her first major. … The field features all the major champions from last year — Vu, Ruoning Yin (Women’s PGA), Celine Boutier (Evian) and Allisen Corpuz (U.S. Women’s Open).

Next week: HSBC Women’s World Championship.

Online: https://www.lpga.com/

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EUROPEAN TOUR

MAGICAL KENYA OPEN

Site: Nairobi, Kenya.

Course: Muthaiga GC. Yardage: 7,228. Par: 71.

Prize money: $2.5 million. Winner’s share: $416,667.

Television: Thursday-Friday, 5-8 a.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 4:30-8 a.m. (Golf Channel); Sunday, 4-8 a.m. (Golf Channel).

Defending champion: Jorge Campillo.

Race to Dubai leader: Rory McIlroy.

Last tournament: Rikuya Hoshino won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

Notes: Jorge Campillo was among the 10 European tour players who earned PGA Tour cards last year. He has yet to play on the PGA Tour and is in Kenya this week to defend his title. … Rikuya Hoshino of Japan leads the field and is the highest-ranked player at No. 77 in the world. He is hopeful of either cracking the top 50 by the end of March or perhaps getting a special invitation from the Masters. … Dylan Frittelli began the year as exempt from being between No. 126 and 200 in the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour. He won the Bahrain Championship and now has full European tour status. … John Gough of England received a sponsor exemption. He beat Nick Dunlap, 6 and 5, in Sunday singles at the Walker Cup last year at St. Andrews. … Only two players are using the five spots available from the PGA Tour — Jonas Blixt and Matthias Schwab of Austria. … This is the first of three straight European tour events on the African continent. The next two are co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour in South Africa.

Next week: SDC Championship.

Online: https://www.europeantour.com/dpworld-tour/

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PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

TROPHY HASSAN II

Site: Rabat, Morocco.

Course: Royal Golf Dar Es Salam.

Prize money: $2 million. Winner’s share: $360,000.

Television: Thursday-Saturday, 8-11 a.m. (Golf Channel).

Defending champion: Stephen Ames.

Charles Schwab Cup leader: Steven Alker.

Last week: Stephen Ames won the Chubb Classic.

Notes: Angel Cabrera is listed as being in the field, his first PGA Tour Champions event since he was released from prison for gender violence last summer. Cabrera is still trying to sort out a visa to get into the United States and play in the Masters. … The PGA Tour Champions goes back to Morocco for a lone international stop before returning in two weeks for three tournaments out West — one in Arizona and two in California. … Ames won the first of four PGA Tour Champions titles last year in Morocco by beating Mark Hensby by five shots. … The Trophy Hassan II was a European tour event from 2010 through 2021. It previously was an unofficial event won by the likes of Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington. … Ames won the Chubb Classic over 36 holes when the final round was washed out. It was the first 36-hole event on the PGA Tour Champions since the Insperity Invitational in Houston in 2021. … Former Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn of Denmark received one of the two sponsor exemptions.

Next tournament: Cologuard Classic on March 8-10.

Online: https://www.pgatour.com/pgatour-champions

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LIV GOLF

Last tournament: Dustin Johnson won LIV Golf Las Vegas.

Next week: LIV Golf Jeddah.

Points leader: Dustin Johnson.

Online: https://www.livgolf.com/

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KORN FERRY TOUR

Last tournament: Tony Velo won the Astra Golf Championship.

Next week: Argentina Open.

Points leader: Aldrich Potgieter.

Online: https://www.pgatour.com/korn-ferry-tour/

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OTHER TOURS

Asian Tour: International Series Oman, Al Mouj Golf, Muscat, Oman. Defending champion: Takumi Kanaya. Online: https://asiantour.com/

Ladies European Tour: Lalla Meryem Cup, Royal Dar Es Salam (Blue), Muscat, Morocco. Previous winner: Maja Stark. Online: https://ladieseuropeantour.com/

Sunshine Tour: Nelson Mandela Bay Championship, Humewood GC, Gqeberha, South Africa. Defending champion: Dylan Mostert.

Royal & Ancient: Africa Amateur Championship and Africa Amateur Women’s Invitational, Leopard Creek CC, Malelane, South Africa. Previous winners: Inaugural event. Online: https://www.randa.org/

GOLF GAME THRIVING, TONY FINAU BACK TO DEFEND MEXICO OPEN TITLE

Tony Finau has every reason to be confident entering the next stop on the PGA Tour.

Not only is he the only top-25 player in the world in the field this week, but Finau also has a sterling track record at the Mexico Open at Vidanta, which begins Thursday in Vallarta, Mexico.

After tying for second in 2022 in the national open’s first year as a PGA Tour event, Finau returned last year and shot a 24-under 260 to win the event by three strokes.

Now Finau returns to the par-71 Vidanta Vallarta with a head of steam building. He’s 5-for-5 in made cuts in 2024, including a T6 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open and a T19 at last week’s Genesis Invitational.

“I said it last year after we left, our family’s really fallen in love with this place,” said Finau, No. 24 in the Official World Golf Ranking. “And to be back defending this year is pretty special. We’re really happy to be back, I’m really happy to be back on a golf course that I love.”

Finau — who once had a reputation for frequent top-10 finishes without breaking through for a victory — has earned four of his six PGA Tour wins inside the past 20 months. He said he feels ready to go on another run.

“I look forward to competing. I feel like the game’s in a good place,” he said. “I’ve had a couple nice finishes on the West Coast. … It’s nice to have the juices going already and being at a golf tournament that I really enjoy.”

Finau isn’t the only player on the property who has shown comfortability with the 7,456-yard track.

Brandon Wu placed third last year after a T2 in 2022. And Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo, ranked 40th in the world, shot a final-round 65 in 2023 to tie for fifth. He sees opportunity in the course’s wide fairways as well as the ideal weather, as the tournament is being played two months earlier than it was last year.

“It’s in absolute perfect condition. I would say it’s the best I’ve seen,” Grillo said. “Greens are rolling fine, fairways are just probably the best you’ll find on tour. Considering it’s a different date, I think it’s going to be less windy, so it’s going to be a lot of birdies, that’s for sure.”

The most notable player on a sponsor exemption is Chile’s Cristobal Del Solar. Earlier this month, Del Solar shot a 57 on the Korn Ferry Tour — the lowest 18-hole score ever in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event.

Eight players from Mexico are in the field, three of them amateurs. PGA Tour rookie Raul Pereda got into the event last season, opened with a 65, made the cut and tied for 60th.

“It is huge for the growth of the game, it is huge to keep showing the generations that we have coming in the near future to pursue the game of golf,” Pereda said. “Definitely having the Mexico Open, having a PGA Tour event or two PGA Tour events in Mexico, it means a lot for the sport in general, for the country, being able to put more kids out there and showing them being able to be in the big league, it’s possible.”

AUTO RACING

NASCAR MOVES TO ATLANTA AFTER WILLIAM BYRON’S DAYTONA 500 WIN

NASCAR CUP SERIES

Ambetter Health 400

Site: Hampton, Georgia.

Schedule: Saturday, qualifying, 11:35 p.m.; Sunday, race, 2:30 p.m. (Fox).

Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Race distance: 260 laps, 400 miles.

Last year: Joey Logano won after starting on the pole.

Last race: William Byron crossed under the white flag denoting the final lap at the exact moment a crash broke out behind him and won the rain-delayed Daytona 500, giving team owner Rick Hendrick the win in the 40th anniversary year of Hendrick Motorsports.

Fast facts: Hendrick teammate Alex Bowman was second. … The last Hendrick driver to win the 500 was Dale Earmhardt Jr. in 2014. … Hendrick drivers have won the Daytona 500 nine times, tying the team with Petty Enterprises for the most ever. … The fourth and final caution of the race began when Bowman hit Byron from behind and it caused Byron to sideswipe Brad Keselowski, triggering a 23-car crash that caused a red flag that lasted more than 15 minutes.

Next race: March 3 at Las Vegas.

Online: http://www.nascar.com

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES

RAPTOR King of Tough 250

Site: Hampton, Georgia.

Schedule: Friday, qualifying, 4:35 p.m.; Saturday, race, 5 p.m. (FS1).

Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Race distance: 163 laps, 251 miles.

Last year: Austin Hill won after starting third.

Last race: Hill won at Daytona for the third consecutive year on Monday night after the race was postponed by rain.

Fast facts: The season-opening race was originally slated to be run Saturday. … Hill has seven career victories, with two others coming at Atlanta. … Shane van Gisbergen finished 12th as last year’s Cup winner at Chicago made his Xfinity Series debut. … Frankie Muniz, the actor making a transition to motorsports, finished 33rd in his series debut.

Next race: March 2 at Las Vegas.

Online: http://www.nascar.com

NASCAR TRUCK SERIES

Fr8 208

Site: Hampton, Georgia.

Schedule: Friday, qualifying, 3:05 p.m.; Saturday, race, 2 p.m. (FS1).

Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Race distance: 135 laps, 208 miles.

Last year: Christian Eckes won after starting fourth.

Last race: Nick Sanchez claimed the first Truck Series victory of his career, winning the season opener at Daytona when the race ended under caution.

Fast facts: Corey Heim was second, followed by Rajah Caruth. … The final caution involved 12 trucks and was the record 12th of the race.

Next race: March 1 at Las Vegas.

Online: http://www.nascar.com

FORMULA ONE

Last race: Three-time champion Max Verstappen won the season finale in Abu Dhabi, his seventh consecutive victory and season-record 19th in 22 races in 2023.

Next race: Season opener at Sakhir, Bahrain, March 2.

Online: http://www.formula1.com

INDYCAR

Last race: Scott Dixon won last year’s season finale at Laguna Seca, his third win of the season, all in the last four races. The six-time champion gave Chip Ganassi Racing a 1-2 finish in the standings. A week earlier, teammate Alex Palou had become the first driver in 18 years to clinch the title before the final race of the season.

Next race: Season opener at St. Petersburg, Florida, March 10.

Online: http://www.indycar.com

NHRA DRAG RACING

Next event: March 7-10, Gainesville, Florida.

Online: http://www.nhra.com

WORLD OF OUTLAWS

Next events: March 3-4, Barberville, Florida.

Online: http://worldofoutlaws.com/sprintcars

INDIANA SPORTS NEWS RELEASES/NEWS REPORTS

INDIANA MEN’S BASKETBALL

INDIANA FALLS TO NEBRASKA

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Defeats continue, disappointment grows, and a possible solution is as clear as it is challenging.

“We have to stick together,” guard Trey Galloway said in the aftermath of Wednesday night’s 85-70 loss to Nebraska at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. “We have to be focused on each other. We can’t worry about outside noise. Be a unit.”

He paused. Frustration was obvious.

“We show spurts where we’re really good. We’re right there. We have to stick together.”

IU (14-12 overall, 6-9 in the Big Ten) has lost three straight and eight of its last 11 games. It never led Wednesday night.

Nebraska (19-8, 9-7) won its first conference game of the season. It made 14-of-33 3-point attempts.

“We played well in spurts,” coach Mike Woodson said, “but not well enough to complete the game. That makes it frustrating.”

Forward Mackenzie Mgbako had 22 points and seven rebounds. Center Kel’el Ware had 17 and 12. Forward Malik Reneau had 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

It wasn’t enough.

Chris Tucker the actor/comedian not only attended, but participated in the halftime Simon Says competition and a second-half timeout entertainment.

It wasn’t enough.

IU fell behind by 20 in the first half, and by 22 in the second, then rallied within three points with six minutes left before fading.

“We played great to cut it to three,” Woodson said, “but we had no defensive effort in the first half. They made some tough threes, but you can’t have two halves like that. We need to play the first half the way we did the second.

“I’ll keep working with them and see if they can play two halves.”

IU had a 16-2 edge in second-chance points and a 38-20 advantage in points in the paint against the guard-heavy Cornhuskers.

It wasn’t enough, and disappointment was everywhere you looked.

“They’re down,” Woodson said. “You expect to be down. The only way to come out of it is to work your way through it.

“Nobody is going to feel sorry for Indiana. I have to keep pumping them up and get us back to the winning ways.”

Practices remain competitive, Woodson added.

“They’ve been good, but when you get smacked in the face like we did in the first half … we didn’t compete. In the second half, we competed. We cut it to three, and then we stopped competing.”

Guard Keisei Tominaga’s three early 3-pointers shot Nebraska to a 16-8 lead, negating Ware’s two field goals and Mgbako’s 3-pointer.

The Cornhuskers’ hot shooting produced an 18-point lead. Ware blocked a shot, then dunked off a Reneau assist to spark a Hoosier run that cut the lead to 11 with four minutes left. A final Nebraska surge gave it a 51-31 halftime advantage. Mgbako led IU with 11 points. Ware had nine.

The Cornhuskers opened the second half with a dunk for a 22-point lead. The Hoosiers countered with a flurry from Reneau, Trey Galloway, Mgbako and Ware to cut the lead to 13. They hit five straight shots while holding Nebraska to 1-for-7 shooting.

IU ratcheted up the defense and attacked the basket. Nebraska’s previous red-hot shooting cooled.

The crowd roared.

Reneau scored inside. CJ Gunn hit a 3-pointer. Reneau had a steal and a dunk. The 11-0 run cut the lead to 57-51 with 12:56 left. A second Gunn 3-pointer made it 59-56 with 11 minutes left.

The crowd roared.

The Cornhuskers countered with a 14-1 run to restore their double-digit lead with six minutes remaining.

IU’s final push couldn’t get the deficit under 10.

The Hoosiers play again Saturday at Penn State, which is coming off a one-point upset home victory against Illinois.

“In the Big Ten, you have to win at home,” Woodson said. “It’s always been that way. You can’t lose at home. We’ve lost more games at home this year (five) than in the last two years. That’s frustrating.”

INDIANA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

NO. 14 INDIANA HOSTS NO. 4 IOWA IN PRIMETIME MATCHUP

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – No. 14 Indiana will look to protect its perfect home court record when it hosts No. 4 Iowa on Thursday night at 8 p.m. inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

GAME DAY INFO

#14 /16 Indiana (21-4, 12-3 B1G) vs. #4/4 Iowa (23-3, 12-2 B1G)

Thursday, February 22, 2024 • 8 p.m. ET

Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall • Bloomington, Ind. 

Broadcast: Peacock (Zora Stephenson, LaChina Robinson)

ABOUT THE HAWKEYES

Iowa is coming off a 106-89 win over Michigan at home on Feb. 16. The Hawkeyes are led by the nation’s leading scorer, Caitlin Clark, who averages 32.8 points, 8.4 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game. Sophomore forward Hannah Stuelke adds 14.4 points and ties a team-high 6.9 rebounds per outing. The Hawkeyes are shooting 50.6 percent from the floor and averaging 92.7 points per game. 

SERIES HISTORY

Iowa leads 56-22

LAST MEETING

1/13/24 – L, 57-84 (Iowa City, Iowa)

NOTES

Indiana currently owns the nation’s best shooting percentages, from the floor (51.8 percent) and 3-point line (41.0 percent).  They have shot 50 percent or better from the floor on 13 occasions, shooting 60 percent or better four times this season. From the arc, IU has hit 10 or more 3-pointers in 11 times this season and has knocked down 209 3-pointers, which is sixth in a single season. The current record stands at 259 (2013-14).

With a win a pair of wins over Michigan State and Purdue last week, the Hoosiers improved to a perfect 13-0 at home this season. They have the 11th longest home winning streak in the country and the longest in the Big Ten. Additionally, they are just one of 16 teams in NCAA Division I women’s basketball to remain undefeated at home this season.

Graduate student forward Mackenzie Holmes took over as Indiana women’s basketball’s all-time scoring leader with 17 points against Purdue on Feb. 11. She has pushed her career total to 2,413 surpassing Tyra Buss’s 2,364 points (2014-18).  Holmes can also set her sights on most points scored by any Indiana men’s or women’s player. She currently ranks third amongst either men’s or women’s players all-time behind Steve Alford (2,438) and Calbert Chaney (2,613).

The Hoosiers are looking to split the season series with Iowa. In the first meeting, IU snapped a 13-game win streak as it dropped a 84-57 decision in Iowa City on Jan. 13. Graduate student forward Mackenzie Holmes had 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the game while sophomore guard Yarden Garzon and senior guard Sydney Parrish added 11 points each.

UP NEXT

Indiana has one final regular season road trip to Northwestern on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. ET.

INDIANA SWIMMING

HOOSIERS RIP PROGRAM RECORDS ON OPENING NIGHT OF BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – No. 6-ranked Indiana swimming and diving set two program record as part of its second-straight 800-yard freestyle relay conference title Wednesday (Feb. 21) night at the 2024 Big Ten Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. The Hoosiers earned two medals on the opening night of the conference meet.

Junior Anna Peplowski lead off Indiana’s 800 freestyle relay in 1:42.04, breaking her own 200-yard freestyle relay program record set during IU’s dual meet against Louisville and Wisconsin earlier this month. Senior Ella Ristic followed in 1:44.85, junior Ching Hwee Gan swam the third leg in 1:45.04 and sophomore Kristina Paegle closed in 1:43.52.

IU crushed the previous program standard (6:58.44) by just under three seconds, set at last year’s conference championships featuring three of the same athletes – Ristic replaced graduated Mackenzie Looze. The Hoosiers were also 5.63 seconds better than their midseason time of 7:01.08, the previous season best set by the same crew. Indiana also set the No. 4 time in the country this season.

“We had an awesome first night,” IU head swimming coach Ray Looze said. “Congratulations to our 800 freestyle relay. They got the win, destroyed the school record and almost got the pool record too. The good thing is everybody on that relay had the bare minimum of preparation. Most of our top swimmers just started to cut back either Saturday, if not Monday, of this week. So that’s nice to win a conference title like that.”

The Hoosiers went 2-for-2 on the medal table in Wednesday’s relays, picking up bronze in the 200-yard medley relay with a season-best 1:35.81. Juniors Kacey McKenna (23.70 split) and Brearna Crawford (27.12) led things off, giving way to sophomore Chiok Sze Yeo (23.68) and senior Ashley Turak (21.41). It marks the sixth-fastest 200 medley relay in program relay and IU’s quickest since 2019.

“I thought the medley relay, probably our best could have gotten second,” Looze said. “I think nerves were there, and that can happen in the first event. They’re into the meet now, so I’m looking forward to how all four of those ladies swim the rest of the meet.”

Through two events, Indiana leads the field with 118 points, followed by No. 8 Ohio State’s 116 and No. 16 Michigan’s 112.

The Big Ten trailed a team diving exhibition between the relays for a second-straight season. Three divers from each squad executed a total of six dives, two from each board.

“The team event was awesome today,” IU head diving coach Drew Johansen said. “It’s a new event that we hope to see scored as maybe a relay in the future. I thought our girls did great. We had our two freshmen in there really learning what it’s like to be in a Big Ten final and that energy and environment, and I know that they’re going to use that in the next three days when the points do matter. I was really pleased with the team event and hope to see it continue in the Big Ten.”

TEAM SCORES

1. Indiana – 118

2. Ohio State – 116

3. Michigan – 112

4. Wisconsin – 106

5. Northwestern – 100

6. Penn State – 96

7. Nebraska – 88

8. Purdue – 86

9. Illinois – 78

10. Iowa – 72

11. Rutgers – 64

12. Penn State – 34

RESULTS

200 MEDLEY RELAY

3. Kacey McKenna, Brearna Crawford, Chiok Sze Yeo, Ashley Turak – 1:35.81 (NCAA A Cut)

800 FREESTYLE RELAY

1. Anna Peplowski, Ella Ristic, Ching Hwee Gan, Kristina Paegle – 6:55.45 (NCAA A Cut, Program Record)

UP NEXT

The 2024 Big Ten Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships resume Thursday for day two, the first full day of action. Athletes will compete in the 500 freestyle, 200 IM, 50 freestyle, 1-meter dive and 400 medley relay, with preliminaries beginning at 10 a.m. ET. Finals are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.

PURDUE MEN’S BASKETBALL

#3 PURDUE LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK THURSDAY AGAINST RUTGERS IN MACKEY ARENA

GAMEDAY INFORMATION — GAME 27

[3] Purdue (23-3, 12-3) vs. Rutgers (14-11, 6-8)

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024

7:00 p.m. ET | West Lafayette, Indiana

Mackey Arena (14,876)

TELEVISION: FS1 (Jason Benetti, Bill Raftery)

RADIO: Purdue Global Radio Network (Rob Blackman, Bobby Riddell)

THE NOTES TO KNOW

• The No. 3-ranked Purdue Boilermakers look to bounce back from just their third loss of the season when a surging Rutgers squad visits Mackey Arena on Thursday night. Purdue has won nine of its last 10 games, but is coming off a four-point loss to Ohio State on Sunday. Rutgers, meanwhile, saw its four-game win streak end on Sunday with an 81-70 setback at Minnesota.

• Purdue enters Wednesday’s play as one of seven teams nationally with at least 23 wins, while also being one of seven teams with three or fewer losses. Among major-conference teams, Purdue’s 23 wins are tied for fourth nationally (UConn – 24; Grand Canyon – 24; James Madison – 24), while Purdue, Houston and UConn are the only major-college teams with four or fewer losses.

• Purdue has won 20 games under Matt Painter in 14 of his 19 seasons with at least 25 wins in 10 of them. Purdue is looking for its third straight season of at least 29 victories.

• Over the last three years, Purdue has already won 81 games overall. The school record for wins in a three-year span is 83 (2016, 2017, 2018), needing just two wins to tie the record. Entering the weekend, Purdue’s 81 wins are tied for the third most during that span in the country (Houston – 88; Kansas – 82).

• Purdue’s schedule ranks as the most difficult in the country by a wide margin and its non-conference foes currently lead the Southern Conference by two games (Samford), the Ohio Valley (Morehead State), the SEC (Alabama), the PAC-12 (Arizona) and the Atlantic Sun (Eastern Kentucky). Marquette (Big East), Tennessee (SEC) and Gonzaga (WCC) are currently in second place in their respective conferences.

• Purdue has beaten teams ranked 4th (Arizona), 5th (Tennessee), 7th (Marquette), 12th (Illinois) and 13th (Alabama) in this week’s AP poll. The Boilermakers also own wins over teams receiving votes in 27th (Gonzaga) and 28th (Wisconsin).

• Purdue ranks in the NCAA’s top 20 in wins (2nd), off. efficiency (2nd), rebound margin (2nd), 3-point percentage (3rd), assists per game (7th), scoring offense (10th), scoring margin (11th), fewest fouls per game (13th) and field goal percentage (20th).

• Purdue leads the country in quad-1 wins (9) and quad-1 and 2 wins combined (15). No one in the country has more than 13 Q-1 and Q-2 wins.

• Since the start of last season, Purdue is 52-9, the fourth-most wins nationally, while the nine losses are the second fewest behind Houston (7). The eight losses during that span have come by 1, 5, 6, 14, 8, 5, 4 (OT), 16 and 4 points. Thirty-nine of the 52 wins have come against teams ranked in the KenPom top-100, including 27 against teams ranked in the top-50.

• Purdue has won at least 12 games in Big Ten Conference play for the ninth time in the last 10 years. No other team currently has more than six years (in 10) of at least 12 victories (Wisconsin). Purdue has finished in the top three of the Big Ten standings in seven of the previous nine seasons.

• Purdue was voted No. 3 in the AP Top 25 poll on Monday, dropping one spot after being No. 2 for five straight weeks. With its No. 3 ranking this week, Purdue has now been ranked in the top 5 of the AP poll for 32 straight weeks, the longest-active streak in America by 17 weeks (UConn – 15). It has been ranked in the top 3 in 26 of those 32 weeks. The 32 weeks of being ranked in the top 5 is the longest streak by a Big Ten team in the last 45 years.

• With the win over No. 6 Wisconsin, Purdue has won seven straight against AP Top-10 ranked teams, the longest streak ever by a Big Ten team.

• With his 200th career block coming against Wisconsin on Feb. 4, Zach Edey became the third player in NCAA history with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 200 blocks and to shoot at least 60.0 percent from the field (Patrick Ewing, David Robinson).

• Zach Edey needs 186 points to become the school’s leader in career points (record: 2,323) and career rebounds (already owns it — 1,156).

• A win over Rutgers would give Purdue a 13-3 Big Ten start for the fifth time under Matt Painter (2007-08, 2010-11, 2017-18, 2018-19). Coincidentally, Purdue won the Big Ten regular-season title in just one of those seasons (2019).

• Purdue has won nine of its last 10 games.

• Purdue is one of six teams (Dayton, UConn, Florida, Houston, San Diego State) without a loss outside Quad-1.

• Purdue owns a nation’s-best 18 wins over the NCAA NET top-100 teams. Purdue has seven wins over teams ranked in the NET top 25.

• Five teams (Purdue, James Madison, Appalachian State, Weber State, UNC Wilmington) have at least one Quad-1A win (top 15 home, top 25 neutral, top 40 road) while being undefeated in those games. The other four teams mentioned above are 1-0. Purdue is 7-0 in that category.

• Purdue is 14-0 when holding teams under 69 points. The Boilermakers are 9-3 when allowing 70 or more points.

• Purdue ranks second nationally behind Saint Mary’s in rebound margin, one year after leading the country in rebound margin. The last team to lead the country in rebound margin in consecutive seasons was Quinnipiac (2013-14 and 2014-15).

• When Purdue has a run of 10-0 or larger, the Boilermakers are 13-0.

• Purdue has trailed by six or more points in just seven games this year, posting a 5-2 record in those games.

• Purdue’s nine 3-point attempts against Ohio State were its fewest since Feb. 26, 2022, at Michigan State (9). During the Painter era, Purdue is 5-10 when attempting single-digit 3-pointers.

• Purdue’s leading rebounder is 7-foot, 4-inch Zach Edey. The Boilermakers’ second-leading rebounder is 6-foot Braden Smith.

• A year ago, Purdue shot 32.2 percent from 3-point range, a number that ranked 281st nationally. This year, Purdue is at 40.1 percent, ranking third nationally. Purdue had one player (Braden Smith) shoot over 36.0 percent from deep a year ago. This year, Purdue has nine players over 36.0 percent.

• Zach Edey’s 24.2 points per game in Big Ten play is the second-highest total in the Big Ten since the turn of the century (2020 – Luka Garza; 26.2). Edey’s 13.5 rebounds per game in Big Ten play is the most since Michigan State’s Lindsay Hairston in 1974 (14.2).

• Zach Edey currently ranks third in the country in both points per game and rebounds per game. Since the 2000 season, only South Dakota State’s Mike Daum (2019), Kansas State’s Michael Beasley (2008) and Texas’ Kevin Durant (2007) have finished in the top five nationally in both categories. He would be the first one to rank in the top three in both categories.

• Zach Edey has 51 offensive rebounds in his last eight games (6.4 per game). He has 10 games this season of at least six offensive rebounds, including five straight.

• Zach Edey has five 20-10 games in the last six contests. The lone game not with 20 and 10, came in an 18-point, 13-rebound performance against No. 6-ranked Wisconsin.

• Braden Smith has 340 career assists, leading sophomores (or younger) in career assists. Coincidentally, second on the list is Colgate sophomore Braeden Smith (316).

• Based on a 38-game season, Braden Smith is on pace for 485 points, 273 assists and 216 rebounds. Since the 1947-48 season, only BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball have had 450 points, 250 assists and 200 rebounds in a season.

THE SERIES WITH RUTGERS

• Thursday’s meeting in West Lafayette marks the 22nd meeting between the two schools, with Purdue leading the series by a 15-6 margin, including a 7-2 lead in Mackey Arena. However, Rutgers has won two of the last three meetings in Mackey Arena, including a 65-64 win a year ago over No. 1-ranked and 13-0 Purdue.

• Purdue has won three of the last four meetings after losing four straight to the Scarlet Knights from Jan. 2020 to Dec. 2021.

• Rutgers’ last two wins in the series have come when Purdue was ranked No. 1 in the country, both coming on 3-pointers by Ron Harper Jr., and Cam Spencer in the final 10 seconds of the game.

• Seven of the last eight meetings between the two teams have come by single-digits. Rutgers’ largest margin of victory is 8 points (1975). Recently, the largest margin is 7 points (Jan. 2020).

PURDUE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

PURDUE RALLY COMES UP SHORT VS. MICHIGAN STATE

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Trailing by as many as 19 points, the Purdue women’s basketball team closed the gap all the way down to four with two minutes to play, but the deficit proved too much to overcome in a 68-59 loss to Michigan State on Wednesday night in Mackey Arena.

Abbey Ellis posted her fourth 20-point outing of the season with a game-high 22 points. The fifth-year senior was 8-of-19 from the floor and 5-of-5 at the line to go with four rebounds.

Sophie Swanson had a career night behind the arc. The freshman dropped 19 points with five triples and two assists in 24 minutes of action, all career highs. It was the most made triples by a Purdue freshman since Madison Layden connected on five in the Big Ten Tournament against Iowa in 2020-21.

The Boilermakers (11-15, 4-11) finished with a 36.1% clip from the field and eight made 3-pointers with five coming in the second half. Purdue won the battle on the glass 37-36, as Jeanae Terry matched her season high with 15 rebounds. Terry also tallied seven of Purdue’s 15 assists on the night.

On the defensive end, Purdue held Michigan State (19-7, 9-6) to 39.7% shooting, only its fourth sub-40% game this year. The Boilermakers kept the Spartans 17 points below their season scoring average.

After trailing by 14 at the break, the Boilermakers outscored Michigan State 38-33 in the second half.

The Boilermakers started strong on the defensive end in the first quarter, forcing four turnovers in the first three minutes. Ellis scored four points as Purdue trailed 16-9 after 10 minutes.

Swanson gave the Boilermakers a spark off the bench in the second. The sophomore hit a pair of triples to cut the gap down to three early in the frame. Michigan State closed the half on an 11-2 run to take a 35-21 lead into the break.

Swanson accounted for 11 of Purdue’s 21 points over the opening 20 minutes.

Following a Spartan five-point swing to start the third, Ellis recorded seven points in a 13-2 run that brought Purdue within eight late in the third. Stevenson hit a mid-range jumper late in the frame, before Michigan State scored at the buzzer to make it a 10-point game at the start of the fourth.

Purdue began its rally when Michigan State opened a 15-point gap with 4:47 to play. Madison Layden and Swanson hit back-to-back triples, before Ellis converted her own traditional 3-point play. A tough Caitlyn Harper finish inside made it 60-56 with 2:03 to play.

Despite a Swanson triple with 42 seconds left to cut the gap back to five, the Boilermakers could not chip the deficit down further.

NOTES

• Purdue leads the all-time series with Michigan State 44-39.

• The Boilermakers were a perfect 7-of-7 at the line, their first perfect night since Feb. 6, 2022, against Indiana.

• Madison Layden finished with eight points and a pair of triples. The senior is now 16 points shy of 1,000 for her career and two 3-pointers away from reaching 200 during her time as a Boilermaker.

• Jeanae Terry recorded her 21st game with 10 or more rebounds at Purdue.

• Finishing with eight points, Mary Ashley Stevenson became the 10th freshman in Purdue history to score 260 points and grab 125 rebounds.

• Purdue is now the only team in the nation to have three different freshmen score 19 or more points in a game this season.

• Abbey Ellis matched Erika Valek for 28th all-time in Purdue history double-digit scoring games with 58.

• Ellis is now 32nd in career points at Purdue with 1,043. 

UP NEXT

The Boilermakers will head back out on the road for a 4 p.m. ET tip against Wisconsin on the Big Ten Network.

PURDUE SWIMMING

BOILERMAKERS WIN TEAM DIVING, POST TOP-10 TIME IN 200 MEDLEY RELAY

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A victory in the exhibition team diving event and a top-10 time in team history in the 200 medley relay headlined the opening night of the Big Ten Championships for Purdue women’s swimming & diving.

Sophie McAfee, Daryn Wright and Maycey Vieta teamed up for the victory in team diving, posting a list score of 363.10. Eleven of the 12 teams in attendance had an entry. The same trio also won the event at the Purdue Invitational in November. Each diver performs two dives and the event features two dives from each board – 1-meter, 3-meter and 10-meter. Vieta led the way with a score of 72 on her armstand off the tower in round 3. McAfee and Wright posted matching scores of 64.40 on 3-meter in rounds 4 and 5.

Abby Marcukaitis, Masy Folcik, Maggie Love and Kendal Schreder teamed up for a time of 1:39.47 in the 200 medley relay, Purdue’s best time in the event since the 2022 Big Ten Championships and the ninth-fastest mark in team history.

The Boilermakers finished on the podium in seventh place in the 800 freestyle relay, placing seventh with a season-best time of 7:10.88. Purdue’s quartet in the event was two fifth-years and two freshmen – Kendra Bowen, Caitlin Hurley, Kate Beavon and Kate Mouser. Bowen led the way with a 200 split of 1:47.41 on the leadoff leg, which represents a team season-best mark in the 200. The quartet enjoyed a time drop of 3.7 seconds from the Big Ten Quad on Feb. 2.

The Big Ten Championships continue Thursday with the first full day of action. Swimming prelims begin at 10 a.m. ET, diving prelims at noon and the finals session is at 5 p.m. The entire meet is being streamed live on the Big Ten Network’s B1G+ website and app.

WEDNESDAY AT BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

* – Purdue Season-Best Time

200 Medley Relay

Marcukaitis, Folcik, Love & Schreder, 1:39.47* – Finished 9th (40 Points); 9th Fastest in Team History

800 Free Relay

Bowen, Hurley, Beavon & Mouser, 7:10.88* – Finished 7th (46 Points)

Team Diving (Exhibition)

McAfee, Vieta & Wright, 363.10 – Event Winner

Sonnenberg, Simons & Patrick, 257.55 – Finished 9th

OPENING NIGHT TEAM SCORES

1.) #6 Indiana 118

2.) #8 Ohio State 116

3.) #16 Michigan 112

4.) #14 Wisconsin 106

5.) Northwestern 100

6.) #23 Minnesota 96

7.) Nebraska 88

8.) Purdue 86

9.) Penn State 68

10.) Illinois 78

11.) Iowa 72

12.) Rutgers 64

NOTRE DAME MEN’S BASKETBALL

IRISH WIN THIRD STRAIGHT WITH 72-50 WIN AT CARDS

LOUISVILLE – Make it three wins in a row for the Notre Dame men’s basketball team. The Fighting Irish (10-16, 5-10) reached double-digit wins on the season by storming into the KFC Yum! Center on Wednesday night and leaving with a 72-50 victory over the Louisville Cardinals (8-19, 3-13). The Irish outscored the Cardinals 41-25 in the second half, shooting 15-of-32 (.469).

Braeden Shrewsberry continued to excel on the road. He entered tonight averaging 11.6 ppg in true road contests and finished with a team-best 23 points. Shrewsberry tied the Notre Dame freshman single-game record for made three-pointers with seven tonight (7-for-11), tying Pat Connaughton, Chris Thomas and Ryan Hoover. 

Markus Burton recorded his 19th straight game in double figures and 24th overall on the year with 16 points. The freshman also tallied five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Burton passed Jerian Grant (418 points) tonight on the ND all-time freshman scoring list, moving up to the No. 6 spot.

Burton also scored double-digit points in the second half alone for the 10th time this season with 10 against the Cards. In addition, Shrewsberry poured in 14 points in the second half. 

For the third consecutive game, Notre Dame finished with single-digit turnovers, coughing it up just seven times tonight. The Irish scored 30 points in the paint while draining 12-of-27 (.444) from deep. They also won the boards battle 42-37.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Shrewsberry hit two treys in the first three minutes and spurred a 4-for-6 Notre Dame start from the field, resulting in an early 12-6 lead. Next, the Cardinals battled back with a 6-0 run to tie the game at 12-all.

That’s when the game turned in Notre Dame’s favor. The Irish fired off a 15-2 scoring spree in which they made 6-of-8 from the field. The last three field goals during this stretch were three-pointers from Konieczny, Booth, and Shrewsberry. The 13-point advantage at 27-14 with 7:27 remaining would mark Notre Dame’s largest lead of the half.

With the half reaching a tipping point, Louisville rallied to get back in it, producing an 8-0 run. It was Matt Zona who ended a five-minute Irish scoring drought with a good move down low to make it 29-22 with 2:09 left.

Burton would get the last basket of the half with a great drive to the rim in a heavily crowded space, giving the Irish a 31-25 halftime lead.

Louisville ended with a slightly better shooting percentage in the half (38.5 percent to our 36.4 percent), but ND was 5-for-12 from beyond the arc. Notre Dame also won the rebounding battle 21-18. The Irish had six assists on 12 made field goals and only coughed up four turnovers compared to the Cardinals’ six. Shrewsberry led at the midway point with nine points on 3-of-6 shooting from three-point range.

Speaking of Shrewsberry, he scored Notre Dame’s first five points of the half, which included his fourth three of the game. Defensively, the Irish forced three turnovers in a 97-second span and it all equated to a 36-28 lead at the 16:39 media timeout.

It was a total team effort over the next five minutes of the game. Booth, Imes, Konieczny, Davis and Burton all contributed to the team’s next 15 points (6-for-8 FG stretch) to keep the Irish out front at 53-39 with 10:30 on the clock.

A 6-0 Cardinals run would creep the home team back to single digits, cutting the Irish lead to 53-45. Yet, out of the media timeout, Shrewsberry said not today with two three-pointers on back-to-back possessions.

That ultimately ignited a 16-2 scoring stretch to put the game on ice. During the stretch, Burton exerted his will on the game with five straight points, then Booth joined in with a jumper, followed by the seventh and final Shrews three.

The last three of the game belonged to walk-on Thomas Crowe, which brought the game to its final score of 72-50.

UP NEXT

The Irish remain on the road and take their three-game win streak to Syracuse on Saturday, Feb. 24. That matchup inside the JMA Wireless Dome will tip off at Noon ET on ESPN.

NOTRE DAME MEN’S GOLF

SALVITTI LEADS IRISH IN WATERSOUND INVITATIONAL

Panama City Beach, Fla. – The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s golf team opened up their 2024 spring season at the Shark’s Tooth Golf Course as they competed in the Watersound Invitational Feb. 19-21.

The Irish finished eighth in a field of 12 teams, shooting a collective team score of 860 (-4). Rocco Salvitti led the way for the Irish as he finished T14, shooting a 212 (-4) on the tournament. His best rounds came in the second and third as he shot two under both days, recording an even 72 in round one and a 70 in rounds two and three. He finished with 13 birdies in the event.

He was followed by Palmer Jackson, who finished with a score of 217 (+1) and played his best golf in the first round as he shot two under. Jackson shot a 70 in round one, a 73 in round two, and a 74 in round four.

The Irish are back in action Feb. 26-27 as they compete in the Invitational at the Ford at the Ford Field and River Golf Club in Richmond Hill, Georgia.

NOTRE DAME BASEBALL

NOTRE DAME BASEBALL HEADS TO FIU FOR FOUR-GAME SERIES

The (3-0) Irish will travel to Miami for a four-game series at FIU (Feb. 23-25). Led by John P. and Catherine Murphy Head Baseball Coach Shawn Stiffler in his second season with the Irish, Notre Dame welcomes 19 newcomers to the roster.

By The Numbers

2            

Shawn Stiffler is in his second season with the Irish, after leading Notre Dame to a 30-24 season in 2023. He owns a 373-222 career record. Stiffler came to South Bend after spending the 10 seasons at the helm of the VCU program.

2            

RHP Nate Hardman earned two saves in the sweep at Rice, which ties him for the season lead among ACC pitchers. Hardman’s two saves rank T-2 in Division I Baseball, as just one player owns more (3).

3            

Notre Dame’s three wins to begin the season is the program’s best start since 2010, when the Irish opened the season 3-0 with a three-game sweep of Mississippi Valley State.

The last time Notre Dame swept a three-game, non-conference road series was in 2020 (Feb. 28-March 1 at Presbyterian; 13-5, 10-4, 9-0).

3            

Three Irish pitchers have been named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List: RHPs Radek Birkholz, Bennett Flynn and Nate Hardman. All three played major roles in the series sweep of Rice.

4            

D1Baseball tabbed four Irish players among the top national players in their positions. Jack Penney enters 2024 ranked No. 32 among the nation’s shortstops, Simon Baumgardt ranked No. 50 amond third basemen, David Glancy ranked No. 97 among outfielders, and Jackson Dennies ranked No. 105 among starting pitchers.

4            

The Irish are set to face four teams ranked in the preseason Top 25 in 2024, including No. 1 Wake Forest, No. 10 Clemson, No. 13 NC State and No. 15 North Carolina.

5            

Notre Dame’s five sac bunts at Rice tie for the lead in the ACC, while OF T.J. Williams’ two on the season are tied for the ACC lead with two other players.

5            

The Irish hit five home runs in the series finale at Rice on Feb. 18, 2024. It was the most in a single game for Notre Dame since 2021, when Carter Putz (2) Ryan Cole, Brooks Coetzee and Niko Kavadas combined for five vs.. Central Michigan on June 6, 2021.

7            

The Irish combined for seven home runs in the first series at Rice (ranking fifth in the ACC), with INF Simon Baumgardt and OF David Glancy each noting two apiece, one each in the second and third games of the series. OF Tito Flores marked Notre Dame’s first grand slam of the season in the series finale, cementing the win.

7            

Notre Dame was hit by seven pitches at Rice, a figure which ties for the ACC lead. OF and DH DM Jefferson leads the conference with four HBP.

10          

Jack Penney tied for the Irish team lead with 10 home runs in 2023, and will look to be a major piece of the Notre Dame lineup in 2024. His 1.000 stolen-base percentage (8-8) in 2023 tied for third all-time in single-season Irish records.

11          

11 Irish made their first apperances in a Notre Dame uniform in the opening series at Rice: INF Simon Baumgardt, OF Drayk Bowen, OF Tito Flores, RHP Bennett Flynn, OF David Glancy, INF Josh Hahn, RHP Nate Hardman, RHP Will Jacobsen, RHP Tobey McDonough, RHP Jack Radel and C Carson Tinney.

19          

The Irish introduce 19 newcomers, featuring 10 freshmen and nine grad transfers, to the 2023 roster.

27          

Notre Dame drew 27 walks at Rice, a figure which ranked T-third in the ACC for the weekend. INF Jack Penney leads the ACC in walks per game (2.33) and single-game walks with four on Feb. 18 at Rice, including an IBB).

100       

Perfect Game ranked two Irish players in their Top 100 Lists for each class. David Lally Jr. ranked No. 69 among the nation’s sophomores, and Jack Penney came in at No. 71 among juniors.

.991      

The Irish own a .991 fielding percentage on the season, ranking second in the ACC. Notre Dame’s 31 assists rank second in the conference.

2024

Following the series sweep at Rice (Feb. 16-18), Notre Dame received votes in the National College Baseball Writers Association poll.

Notre Dame’s three wins to begin the season is the program’s best start since 2010, when the Irish opened the season 3-0 with a three-game sweep of Mississippi Valley State.

New Lineup in 2024

Notre Dame returns five regular starters from the 2023 lineup in DM Jefferson, Brady Gumpf, TJ Williams, Jack Penney and Estevan Moreno.

With the graduation of key pieces of the 2023 lineup (and 2022 College World Series team) in Carter Putz, Zack Prajzner, Jack Zyska, and Brooks Coetzee, new faces for the Irish will earn the opportunity to compete.

Notre Dame welcomes nine graduate transfers and 10 freshmen to the roster in the 2024 season.

Several transfers will look to earn significant playing time, including OF Tito Flores (Michigan), OF David Glancy (St. John’s), INF Josh Hahn (UCLA), INF Simon Baumgardt (Tulane), RHP Will Jacobsen (Harvard), RHP Bennett Flynn (Davidson) and RHP Nate Hardman (Evansville).

The Outfield

Notre Dame returns three experienced outfielders in TJ Williams, DM Jefferson and Brady Gumpf. Williams, one of the top defensive centerfielders in college baseball, led the ACC in 2023 in sacrifice bunts (11).

The three are joined by graduate transfers Tito Flores and David Glancy. Flores is a two-time Big Ten all-tournament team selection, while Glancy led St. John’s with 13 home runs in 2023, and is ranked as one of D1Baseball’s Top 100 outfielders entering 2024.

OF Drayk Bowen also marked his first appearance for the Irish at Rice as a pinch runner.

No. 1 Jefferson: Earned the leadoff hitter slot for Notre Dame’s opening series at Rice as the designated hitter, posting one hit but drawing four HBP and three walks. Jefferson scored three runs at Rice.

No. 2 Glancy: Started all three games in the outfield at Rice and was responsible for Notre Dame’s first home run of the season, a no-doubter into the wind. Glancy notched another homer in the following game, also drawing four walks and scoring five runs. In the outfield, he posted 11 putouts on the weekend.

No. 6 Williams: A four-year member of the Irish, and a leader on the team, Williams currently leads the Irish in hits (4) in just six at-bats. He owns two RBI and stole a base vs. Rice. His outfield single scored OF Drayk Bowen to take the 9-8 lead in the series finale.

No. 7 Flores: Notched a hit in all three games at Rice, including Notre Dame’s first grand slam of the season in the ninth inning of the Rice series finale, cementing the sweep. On the weekend, he posted three hits and two runs, drawing two walks.

No. 21 Gumpf: Started one game at Rice in left field, and entered to hit in another, earning a hit on the weekend.

The Infield

Jack Penney and Estevan Moreno will look to build off their success in the infield in 2023. Penney tied for the team lead with 10 home runs before being sidelined by an injury, while Moreno, in a breakout freshman season, became the first Irish player since 2016 to hit three home runs in a single game (4/21/23 vs. Virginia).

The Irish also return Connor Hincks, Casey Kmet, Nick DeMarco and Rory Fox, all of whom saw playing time last season.

Joining the infield are impact transfers Simon Baumgardt and Josh Hahn. Baumgardt is ranked in D1Baseball’s Top 50 third basemen entering 2024.

No. 3 Moreno: Earned two starts at second base at Rice; drew a pair of walks and tallied 8 assists from the middle infield for the Irish.

No. 11 Penney: Scored three times, tallying seven walks, and stole a base at Rice;  leads the ACC in walks per game (2.33) and single-game walks with four on Feb. 18 at Rice, including an IBB).

No. 12 Hincks: Posted his first-career home run in the series finale at Rice.

No. 15 Hahn: Recorded the go-ahead RBI after being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the first game of the series at Rice

No. 18 Baumgardt: Tied for the team lead in home runs with two at Rice; totaled three hits and three runs with four RBI.

Behind the Plate

With the departure of Vinny Martinez, the catcher position is open entering 2023-24 for the Irish, and multiple players could compete for playing time from the catchers group, which includes senior Tony Lindwedel, junior Joey Spence, and freshmen Carson Tinney, Troy Reader and Davis Johnson.

No. 8 Tinney: Started one game at catcher at Rice, and entered for innings in the series finale; hit the first homer of his career to score the go-ahead run in the series finale.

No. 13 Spence: Entered at catcher in the series finale at Rice, delivering an RBI double to tie the game.

No. 28 Lindwedel: Made two starts at Rice behind the plate, scoring one run.

On the Mound

Senior Jackson Dennies leads a group with another year of collegiate experience under their belts. Dennies will be a mainstay started for the Irish, coming off a season in which he pitched 46.1 innings and posted 49 strikeouts. Dennies is ranked in D1Baseball’s Top 150 starting pitchers in the nation entering 2024.

Caden Spivey, David Lally and Matt Bedford all return for the Irish and will look to see significant time on the mound, in addition to Will Jacobsen, a Harvard transfer and 2023 second-team All-Ivy selection.

Radek Birkholz also returns for the Irish, and will join transfers Bennett Flynn and Nate Hardman in relief roles for Notre Dame.

Jack Findlay continues to recover from an injury.

Rice: The Irish started Spivey (Friday), Dennies (Saturday) and Bedford (Sunday). Birkholz (Friday), RHP Tobey McDonough (Saturday) and LHP Ryan Lynch (Sunday) earned the wins.

Hardman posted two saves on the weekend, a figure which is tied for the ACC lead.

John P. And Catherine Murphy Head Baseball Coach Shawn Stiffler

Shawn Stiffler is in his second season with the Irish, and led Notre Dame to a 30-24 record in his first season. He owns a 373-222 career record.

Stiffler came to South Bend after spending the last 10 seasons at the helm of the VCU program where he accrued a 340-198 overall record, and dominated the Atlantic 10 with a record of 146-71.

He was a monumental piece in VCU’s success where he turned the Rams into one of the most consistent programs in the country, as it is one of just seven programs nationally to earn 34 or more wins in each of the last eight full seasons.

In Stiffler’s 10-seasons at the helm of the VCU program, the Rams won Atlantic 10 Regular Season Championships in 2017, 2019 and 2021. The 2017 A-10 Regular Season Championship was the first in program history at VCU.

Stiffler also led VCU to the NCAA Championship Tournament in 2015, 2021 and 2022.

Stiffler earned American Baseball Coaches’ Association (ABCA) East-Region Coach of the Year honors following the 2015 season in which he led VCU to the A-10 Championship and its first-ever Super Regional..

The 2019 A-10 Coach of the Year guided four Rams to All-American honors, five Freshman All-Americans, 20 ABCA All-Region honorees and 48 All A-10 selections.

Meet the Assistants

Assistant coach Logan Robbins (position players) enters his second season at Notre Dame and joined the Irish after spending seven seasons at Old Dominion in Norfolk, Virginia.

Robbins led the Monarch offense to new heights as hitters finished second in Conference USA in 2021 and 2022, hitting a .301 and a .296 team average, respectively.

In 2021, the Monarchs finish second in the country with 105 home runs, smashing the previous home run record of 67, followed by a 2022 squad that hit 128 home runs as a team, finishing third nationally.

Robbins offense finished in the top 15 nationally in home runs, home runs per game, scoring and slugging percentage.

Robbins played at Western Kentucky University and was a 10th round draft pick by the Atlanta Braves in 2011.

Assistant coach Seth Voltz (pitchers) begins his second season with Notre Dame, having joined the Fighting Irish after spending the 2022 season under Stiffler at VCU, and previously worked as an assistant coach at Wofford College.

Voltz led the Rams to the 2022 Atlantic 10 Championship, winning 17-consecutive games `Hill Regional where they notched wins over North Carolina and Georgia.

VCU finished the 2022 campaign with a 42-20 record, and ranked in the top 20 in Division I in ERA (3.91 – 9th), WHIP (1.29 – 12th) and walks allowed per nine innings (3.12 – 10th).

Voltz was an assistant coach with the Wofford Terriers from 2017-20.

He helped the Terriers win the first Southern Conference Regular Season Championship in program history in 2021, after a 36-21 regular season and a 21-9 SoCon record.

The 492 strikeouts in the 2021 campaign is the second-most in SoCon history and the third-most in program history.

After graduating from VCU in 2012, where he was a four-year letterwinner under Stiffler, he began his coaching career as the Rams’ volunteer coach and then coached as an assistant at UT Martin from   2015-16.

Ryan Munger (position players/catchers) assumes an assistant coach role after serving as Notre Dame’s volunteer assistant coach in 2023. Munger served as an assistant coach at Davidson for the previous seven seasons, and was elevated to recruiting coordinator in July of 2018.

After joining Davidson in the fall of 2013, Munger worked primarily with the catchers and assisted with hitting. In 2022, he helped guide the Wildcats to a 43-13 overall mark, a 20-4 Atlantic 10 Conference record as Davidson earned the 2022 Atlantic 10 Regular Season Championship, finishing a game ahead of Stiffler’s VCU team.

In his time with Davidson, Munger helped lead the program to new heights, winning the most games in a season in program history in 2017, 2018 and further improving that total during the 2022 season. He led the Wildcats to their first-ever conference title in the program’s 115-year history in 2017, and was just the second four-seed to ever sweep an NCAA Regional.

Munger played baseball at Duke and was a team captain in 2012 and 2013.

NOTRE DAME TRACK

IRISH SET FOR ACC CHAMPIONSHIPS IN BOSTON

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish track and field team is headed to Boston, Mass. to compete in the 2024 ACC Indoor Championships Thursday, Feb. 22 to Sunday, Feb. 25. All championship event information can be found at the here and live results can be found here.

Watch Thursday – ACCNX (4 PM Running + Field Events)

Watch Thursday – ACCNX (6 PM Running + Field Events)

Watch Friday – ACCNX (12 PM Combined + Field Events)

Watch Friday – ACCNX (3 PM Running + Field Events)

Watch Saturday – ACCNX (11AM Running + Field Events)

Watch Saturday – ACCNX (12PM Running + Field Events)

Schedule of Events

Thursday, Feb. 22

Running Events

4:05 p.m. – Men’s 5000m Unseeded (Final)

4:30 p.m. – Women’s 5000m Unseeded (Final)

5:00 p.m. – Men’s 200m (Prelims)

5:30 p.m. – Women’s 200m (Prelims)

6:00 p.m. – Men’s 5000m Seeded (Final)

6:30 p.m. – Women’s 5000m Seeded (Final)

7:00 p.m. – Men’s Distance Medley Relay (Final)

7:30 p.m. – Women’s Distance Medley Relay (Final)

Field Events

3:15 p.m. – Men’s Weight Throw

4:00 p.m. – Men’s Pole Vault

5:45 p.m. – Women’s High Jump

6:00 p.m. – Women’s Weight Throw

Combined Events

11:00 a.m. – Pentathlon (60mH, HJ, SP, LJ, 800m)

11:20 a.m. – Heptathlon (60mH, LJ, SP, HJ)

Friday, Feb. 23

Running Events

3:15 p.m. – Men’s Mile (Prelims)

3:45 p.m. – Women’s Mile (Prelims)

4:35 p.m. – Men’s 60m Hurdles (Prelims)

5:10 p.m. – Women’s 60m Hurdles (Prelims)

5:35 p.m. – Men’s 400m (Prelims)

5:55 p.m. – Women’s 400m (Prelims)

6:40 p.m. – Men’s 60m (Prelims)

6:55 p.m. – Women’s 60m (Prelims)

7:15 p.m. – Men’s 800m (Prelims)

7:30 p.m. – Women’s 800m (Prelims)

Field Events

3:15 p.m. – Men’s Weight Throw

4:00 p.m. – Men’s Pole Vault

5:45 p.m. – Women’s High Jump

6:00 p.m. – Women’s Weight Throw

Combined Events

11:00 a.m. – Men’s Heptathlon 60m Hurdles

12:15 p.m. – Men’s Heptathlon Pole Vault

4:00 p.m. – Men’s Heptathlon 1000m

Saturday, Feb. 24

Running Events

12:00 p.m. – Men’s Mile (Final)

12:10 p.m. – Women’s Mile (Final)

12:30 p.m. – Men’s 60m Hurdles (Final)

12:50 p.m. – Women’s 60m Hurdles (Final)

1:05 p.m. – Men’s 400m (Final)

1:15 p.m. – Women’s 400m (Final)

1:30 p.m. – Men’s 60m (Final)

1:35 p.m. – Women’s 60m (Final)

1:50 p.m. – Men’s 800m (Final)

2:00 p.m. – Women’s 800m (Final)

2:10 p.m. – Men’s 200m (Final)

2:20 p.m. – Women’s 200m (Final)

2:30 p.m. – Men’s 3000m (Final)

3:05 p.m. – Women’s 3000m (Final)

3:35 p.m. – Men’s 4x400m Relay (Final)

4:00 p.m. – Women’s 4x400m Relay (Final)

Field Events

11:00 a.m. – Men’s Triple Jump

11:15 a.m. – Men’s Shot Put

12:00 p.m. – Women’s Pole Vault

1:30 p.m. – Women’s Shot Put

1:45 p.m. – Women’s Triple Jump

TBD – Awards Ceremony

BUTLER WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

BUTLER BEATS XAVIER ON FS2 84-46

INDIANAPOLIS – The Bulldogs never trailed the Musketeers on Wednesday night on their way to recording their fourth-straight BIG EAST win. Caroline Strande led BU to an 84-46 victory over Xavier behind a game-high 17 points and the Bulldogs would knock down 15 3-pointers while shooting 46 percent from distance to land in the win column. The outcome moves Butler to 13-13 overall with a 5-10 record in the conference.

Sydney Jaynes came off the bench to score Butler’s first points of the night and the two teams would be deadlocked at 2-2 at the first media timeout. A wave of 3-pointers would follow as Butler had four different players dial up from long distance to give the team an 18-13 lead after the opening quarter.

Xavier used a 6-0 run early in the second frame to trim the deficit to just one point at 20-19. The Bulldogs called a timeout, regrouped, and got 3-pointers to fall from Rachel Kent and Ari Wiggins extending the lead to 28-21. Wiggins highlighted the first half by going 3-for-3 from 3-point range helping Butler enjoy a 31-24 advantage at halftime.

Butler scored the first eight points of the second half and would move forward to win the third quarter 26-7. The Bulldogs shot 64 percent from the field during that 10-minute stretch and outscored Xavier 14-2 over the final five minutes.

Jordan Meulemans drilled two 3-pointers to open up the scoring for BU in the fourth. Those were two of 15 made 3-pointers in the game for the Bulldogs, just one shy of their season-high and school record. Butler won the fourth quarter 27-15 and ended the game on a 15-5 scoring run.

Inside the Box Score

– Caroline Strande had 17 points, four rebounds, and three assists

– Rachel Kent led BU with six rebounds while scoring 15 points

– Riley Makalusky supplied Butler with 13 points, four boards and three assists

– Ari Wiggins went 3-for-3 from behind the arc to score 11 points

– Wiggins had a team-high six assists and just one turnover

– Sydney Jaynes impacted the game with eight points and two steals

– Jordan Meulemans made three 3-pointers to net nine points

– Butler shot 53 percent from the field and 46 percent from behind the arc

– Five different Bulldogs hit at least two 3-pointers in the game

– Aanaya Harris led Xavier with 14 points

– Mackayla Scarlett added 10

– Xavier is now locked into the No. 11 seed for the upcoming BIG EAST Tournament

Up Next

Butler will be in Washington, D.C. this weekend to play Georgetown on Saturday at 2 PM.

BUTLER WOMEN’S LAX

VANDERBILT’S LATE SURGE LEADS TO 17-16 WIN OVER BUTLER

Five Vanderbilt goals over the final nine minutes helped the visiting Commodores erase a Butler lead and take a 17-16 win Wednesday afternoon in Indianapolis.

Sophia Knoblock’s goal with 9:43 remaining gave the Bulldogs a 15-12 lead before Vanderbilt’s closing stretch. The Commodores’ final three goals of the game came during a Butler non-releasable yellow card with Brooke Baker scoring the first two and Kemper Robinson netting the game-winner with 3:42 remaining. All three came off free position shots.

With the win, Vanderbilt improves to 2-0 on the young season, while Butler is now 1-2.

Butler’s offensive attack was led by Leah Rubino, who had five goals on the afternoon. Luci Selander (four) and Kayla Kielbasa (three) combined for seven of the team’s goals. Butler’s scoring was rounded out by Elise Latham’s two goals and single tallies from Patricia Lynn and Knoblock. Delaney Hudson led the Bulldogs with four assists, while Kielbasa and Rubino each had two. Emily Eckert added one helper.

Baker led Vanderbilt with five goals, while Molly Finlay added four. Anna Taraboletti and Robinson each had three goals.

Vanderbilt held slight advantages in shots (36-33) and draw controls (19-16). The Commodores converted seven of their 10 free-position shots.

Caroline Smith made 12 saves in goal for the Bulldogs; she added four ground balls. Rubino had a game-high seven draw controls.

After starting the game down 4-0, the Bulldogs used two goals over the final 20 seconds of the first period to climb back into the contest. Holding Vanderbilt scoreless in the second stanza, Butler was able to take a 5-4 halftime advantage. Scoring exploded in the second half as the teams combined for 24 of the game’s 33 goals after halftime. A stretch of four straight goals by the Bulldogs gave Butler a 14-11 lead with 12:55 remaining in the game.

The Bulldogs return to action Sunday afternoon, hosting Cincinnati. The 1 p.m. first draw at Varsity Field will also be streamed on FloSports.

IUPUI WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

STINSON PACED JAGS IN MIDWEEK LOSS TO VIKINGS

INDIANAPOLIS – In a midweek Horizon League matchup, the IUPUI women’s basketball team took on league leaders Cleveland State, falling 75-52 in the Jungle Wednesday (Feb 21_ night. Faith Stinson paced the Jags with 14 points and five boards—both team highs—as foul trouble plagued the hosts from early on.

IUPUI (6-20, 4-13) got off to a poor start offensively, going 1-for-6 in the opening five minutes. The team’s only basket came on a difficult finish from Alexa Hocevar inside the paint. On the other side, Cleveland State (24-4, 15-2)—led by Mickayla Perdue—was nearly unstoppable, shooting nearly 60 percent from the floor to take a 13-2 advantage into the first media timeout.

The Jags got a boost in the first offensive possession out of the break, with Jaci Jones knocking down the game’s first triple. The hosts also picked it up on the defensive end and the glass after being outrebounded 8-2 in the opening five minutes of play. Thalia Walton scored on back-to-back possessions, including another three pointer to make it a one-possession contest before the end of the first quarter.

After failing to score in the second half of the opening quarter, Perdue got back on track to start the second, connecting on a difficult jumper to extend the lead, which quickly ballooned to double-digits after getting back on track offensively. The 10-2 run to open the stanza led to an early Kate Bruce timeout.

The Cleveland Stater 2-3 zone continued to bother the IUPUI offense throughout the quarter, forcing IUPUI to shoot just 26 percent (4-for-15) from the floor. On the other end, the visitors attacked the basket, leading to foul trouble and multiple free throw opportunities, knocking down 8-of-11. They outscored the hosts 20-12 in the quarter to take a 35-24 lead into the break.

The run continued into the second half, with the Vikings tallying eight of the first 10 points to stretch the lead to 17. It took over 25 minutes of game time for the visitors to connect from deep, but Carmen Villalobos’ three started a trend, with another triple coming just over a minute later from Shadiya Thomas that stretched the lead to 25. After connecting on a fourth consecutive attempt, the Vikings again increased the advantage, this time to 28.

Despite holding Cleveland State to its lowest-scoring quarter (14 points) and forcing five turnovers, IUPUI was unable to cut into the deficit, going 5-for-14 (35.7 percent) in the quarter.

The Vikings were dominant in the trenches, outscoring the Jags 48-22 inside the paint and winning the rebounding battle 40-29. A big reason for the discrepancy was because of the Vikings’ Jordan Reisma, who led all players in both categories, registering an 18-point, 12 rebound double-double. Perdue followed closely behind in the scoring, tallying 17 on 7-of-13 shooting. Point guard Colbi Maples was an excellent facilitator, recording a game-high 6 assists.

IUPUI ends its three-game homestand on Saturday (Feb. 24) when it takes on Purdue Fort Wayne for senior night. Tip off is set for 2:00 p.m. with the game being streamed on ESPN+.

BALL STATE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

ALEX RICHARD SCORES CAREER HIGH 22 POINTS TO LIFT WBB OVER CMU

MUNCIE, Ind. – The Ball State women’s basketball team (23-3, 12-1 MAC) used a balanced offense and a stifling defense to give the Cardinals a 78-54 victory over Central Michigan (5-18, 3-9 MAC) Wednesday night in Worthen Arena.

The Cardinals were led offensively by Alex Richard who scored a career best 22 points off 9-11 shooting from the floor. Behind Richard was Annie Rauch who ended the night with 11 points. Both Richard and Rauch helped Ball State outscore Central Michigan in the paint, 50-30 tonight.

Another statistic that pops off the box score was scoring, as the Cardinals shot 54 percent (31-57) from the field. BSU also limited itself to only seven miscues.

Ball State played good clean fundamental basketball in the opening minutes, that ultimately led to the Cardinals 23-8 first quarter lead over the Chippewas. The Ball State defense was just as impressive along with their ball handling as the Cardinals played a perfect quarter committing no turnovers. BSU also shot a staggering 56 percent from the floor (9-16).

 The Cardinals continued their domination on both sides of the ball in the second frame. A steal and a fast break layup from Nyla Hampton made it a 20-point lead for BSU (31-11) at the 6:41 mark. After that, Ball State never looked back the remainder of the first half and would take a 46-21 cushion over CMU at intermission.

Ball State remained in cruise control for the second 20 minutes of play. The Cardinals were able to use their bench even more so in the fourth stanza as all 14 players saw action. The Ball State bench chipped in 31 points in tonight’s win over Central Michigan.

The Ball State women’s basketball team will travel to Toledo Saturday for a MAC showdown as both teams fight to stay atop of the league standings. Tipoff is at 2 pm ET in John F. Savage Arena.

INDIANA STATE MEN’S BASKETBALL

INDIANA STATE EARNS MIDWEEK VICTORY AT VALPO

VALPARAISO, Ind. – Indiana State men’s basketball earned a victory at Valparaiso on Wednesday, 83-64, and moved to 23-5 overall and 14-3 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Jayson Kent finished one point shy of tying his career high with 23 points, shooting 8-for-13 from the floor, adding in six rebounds. Xavier Bledson and Ryan Conwell each finished with 15 points and six rebounds. Bledson finished 6-for-8 shooting and tacked on three assists, while Conwell shot 5-for-11 and had two assists. Robbie Avila also had 15 points but dished out six assists in 24 minutes on the court.

Julian Larry scored five points with six assists. Jake Wolfe played just over 24 minutes, contributing four points, five rebounds, and four assists with no turnovers. Jaden Daughtry saw the floor for the first time in more than a month and recorded six points and three rebounds in 7:48.

Inside shooting helped the Sycamores to victory, scoring more than half its points inside the paint (46). ISU scored on 69.7% of attempts inside the arc (22-for-33) which is the highest since facing Valpo at home just two weeks ago (four games). Overall, ISU shot 57.1% (32-for-56) from the floor, the fourth-highest percentage of the season.

The Sycamores and Beacons exchanged baskets through the first 6:30 of the game, with the Sycamores holding a two-point, 12-10 lead at the 14:24 mark; Kent accounted for six points of ISU’s 12. Indiana State then used a 10-0 run to stretch to a 22-12 lead with 11 minutes to play. Avila scored four points to start the run with a layup and two free throws, followed by Bledson and Larry each burying a triple.

Valpo responded with a quick 7-0 run to cut the deficit down to only three points just past the midpoint of the half, 22-19. Baskets continued to exchange until the Beacons tied the game at 27 apiece with 5:54 to play. Conwell ended the scoring run with a three-pointer, followed by the Sycamore defense forcing a shot-clock turnover, then Avila drained a triple of his own. Kent and Avila closed out the final 4:41 of the first half for ISU, combining for 12-of-15 points to give Indiana State the 45-37 lead at the break.

Both teams shot better than 50% in the first half. ISU finished 15-for-29 (51.7%) from the floor, including a 52.9% effort from three, while Valpo finished 55.6% from the floor and 50% from deep. Valparaiso entered the game shooting 40.7% as a team.

Valpo’s Isaiah Stafford kept his team within striking distance in the game, scoring all nine points for the Beacons and outscoring ISU alone 9-6 in the first five minutes of the half. Despite his effort, ISU’s Daughtry’s minutes off the bench kept the momentum on the side of the Sycamores. Daughtry made his first three buckets off the bench, scoring all six points in three minutes. The freshman subbed in at 16:21 and scored the next six points for Indiana State, taking a 55-47 lead into the second media timeout at 13:39.

The teams alternated a pair of free throws, then a dunk by Valpo brought the score with three still in favor of the Sycamores, 59-56. The Sycamores slowly began to put away the Beacons. Starting right around the middle of the second half, Indiana State used a 10-0 run to extended its lead to 16 points with 5:44 to play. Kent recorded eight of the 10 with three layups and a pair of free throws, and Bledson scored a layup for the other basket. Wolfe made back-to-back layups for ISU, then about a minute later Larry swiped his second steal of the game leading to a Conwell finish at the rim, forcing a Beacon timeout. Bledson closed out the last 90 seconds with two layups, giving Indiana State the 83-64 victory.

News & Notes

Indiana State continued its best overall and league records in the Coach Josh Schertz era.

ISU stayed at the top of the MVC with the win. Tied with Drake for both overall and league records, the MVC tiebreaker falls to NET rankings, which the Sycamores currently rank higher. ISU stands at No. 31 and Drake at No. 44 at the time of writing.

Two of ISU’s top four shooting games have come against Valparaiso. ISU recorded its current season-best field goal percentage of 61.3% on February 7 against Valpo, and tonight shot 57.1%, which is fourth best.

The Sycamores finished perfect from the free-throw line (10-for-10), the second time the team shot 100% from the line (13-for-13 at Northern Illinois).

Going back 18 games (including tonight), ISU has scored 40+ points in the paint only twice – tonight with 46 and at home against Valparaiso (56). The Trees only have five games this season of 28 scoring 40+ points in the paint.

With nine made three-pointers on the night, it marks the third-straight game with nine or fewer made triples for the first time this season. Including tonight, ISU has only eight games of 28 this season with single-digit made three-pointers.

The Sycamores’ 23 three-point attempts ties for second lowest of the season with three other games (vs IUPUI, vs Pepperdine, vs Tennessee State). The lowest total is 22 attempts, occurring vs Southern Illinois at home.

Both the Sycamores and Beacons combined to shoot 0-for-15 from deep in the second half. Indiana State went 0-for-6, while Valpo shot 0-for-9.

Up Next

Indiana State returns home on Saturday to host UIC at 8 p.m. ET. Saturday’s game is the second Blackout Cancer game for the Sycamores. The Blackout Cancer game is part of an annual series of events raising funds for cancer research and care, and fans are encouraged to wear black.

PURDUE FT. WAYNE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

MASTODONS CLAIM 18TH WIN OF SEASON WITH 70-58 VICTORY AT NORTHERN KENTUCKY

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Purdue Fort Wayne women’s basketball picked up its 18th win of the season on Wednesday night (Feb. 21), taking down Northern Kentucky 70-58 on the road.

Amellia Bromenschenkel led all scorers with 17 points. She now has 997 points for her career, poised to eclipse 1,000 this Saturday (Feb. 24) at IUPUI.

The Mastodons are now 11-6 in the Horizon League, tightening their hold on third place in the standings. They have a one win lead on Wright State with an extra game left to play.

Destinee Marshall (14), Jazzlyn Linbo (12) and Shayla Sellers (10) joined Bromenschenkel in double-figures.

The Mastodons beat the Norse despite hitting just four 3-pointers, which is the fewest the ‘Dons have hit since they beat NKU a month ago in Fort Wayne. The ‘Dons were 0-for-4 from 3-point land in the first quarter, but still managed to lead the Norse 15-14 after the first 10 minutes of play.

Up two at the half, the Mastodons played some of their best basketball of the season over the first 4:48 of the third quarter. They rattled off a 17-5 run, going 7-for-7 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the line while holding NKU to 2-for-6 from the floor and 0-for-2 from three. The ‘Dons had two steals and forced three NKU turnovers in the run.

Northern Kentucky clawed back in the third, making it a six point game shortly before the end of the quarter. It became a four-point game in the fourth when Kennedy Igo hit a jumper. Three possessions later, Bromenschenkel hit a pull up 3-pointer from the top of the key that was the eventual dagger.

Bromenschenkel added eight rebounds and Linbo had six. The ‘Dons had 12 offensive rebounds and 36 total while holding NKU to 32.

The Mastodons shot 28-of-61 (45.9 percent) from the floor and NKU was 22-of-54 (40.7 percent).

Sellers was matched with reigning Horizon League Player of the Week Khamari Mitchell-Steen. After scoring 25 and 30 in her last two games, Sellers held Mitchell-Steen to eight points on 3-of-16 shooting. Freshman of the Year frontrunner Carter McCray had 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Purdue Fort Wayne improves to 18-10, 11-6 in the Horizon League. Northern Kentucky falls to 9-17 and 7-10 in the league. The Mastodons return to action on Saturday (Feb. 24) at IUPUI.

EVANSVILLE SWIMMING

FIRST DAY OF MVC SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS IN THE BOOKS

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Serving as the host for the Missouri Valley Conference Championships for the first time in school history, the University of Evansville women’s swimming and diving team completed their first night of the Valley Championships on Wednesday at the Deaconess Aquatic Center in Evansville.

The 200-Yard Medley Relay team of freshmen Ane Madina Garate (Onati, Spain), Rafaela Makariewicz (Porto Alegre, Brazil) and Rebecca Lago (Tezze sul Brenta, Italy) and junior Sveva Brugnoli (Rome, Italy) placed seventh overall with a time of 1:45.59.  The Purple Aces also placed eighth in the 800-Yard Freestyle Relay 45 minutes later, turning in a time of 7:57.74 from the quartet of junior Mari Mueller (Zurich, Switzerland) and freshmen Hannah Krings (Madison, Ala./Westminster Christian Academy), Luana Carrotta (Ercolano, Italy), and Lago.

Defending champion Missouri State currently leads the MVC Championships with 128 points, with Indiana State 20 points behind in second place.  UE is currently in seventh place, ahead of both Valparaiso and Southern Illinois.

The MVC Championships will continue on Thursday, with action in the 500-Yard Freestyle, 200-Yard IM, 50-Yard Freestyle, 200-Yard Freestyle Relay, and the one-meter diving competition.  Preliminary round swims will begin at 10:30 a.m., with diving scheduled around noon, and final-round competition beginning at 6 p.m.  Tickets for the MVC Swimming & Diving Championships are available on-line at GoPurpleAces.com/Tickets, with single-session prices being $10 for adults and $7 for kids ages 2-17.

UPCOMING MVC CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE

Thursday

Prelims – 10:30 AM (CT)

500 Freestyle

200 IM

50 Freestyle

1-Meter Prelims

1-Meter Consolation (9-16)

Finals – 6 PM (CT)

500 Freestyle

200 IM

50 Freestyle

1-Meter Diving (1-8)

200 Freestyle Relay

Friday

Prelims – 10:30 AM (CT)

100 Butterfly

400 IM

200 Freestyle

100 Breaststroke

100 Backstroke

3-Meter Diving Prelims

Finals – 6 PM (CT)

100 Butterfly

400 IM

200 Freestyle

100 Breaststroke

100 Backstroke

3-Meter Diving (9-16)

400 Medley Relay

Saturday

Prelims – 10:30 AM (CT)

200 Backstroke

100 Freestyle

200 Breaststroke

200 Butterfly

1650 Freestyle*

Finals – 6 PM (CT)

1650 Freestyle*

200 Backstroke

100 Freestyle

200 Breaststroke

200 Butterfly

3-Meter Diving (1-8)

400 Freestyle Relay

EVANSVILLE MEN’S BASKETBALL

MEN’S BASKETBALL DROPS ROAD CONTEST AT UIC

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Ben Humrichous scored 20 while Kenny Strawbridge Jr. added 14 on Wednesday as the University of Evansville men’s basketball team dropped an 88-79 game to UIC inside Credit Union 1 Arena.

Humrichous was 7-of-12 from the field and connected on all four free throw tries.  He added six assists, six rebounds and two steals.  Strawbridge added four assists and two steals.  Chuck Bailey III recorded 13 points as he converted six of his nine attempts.  Hitting all four 3-point tries, Gage Bobe tallied 12 points.  UIC was led by Isaiah Rivera’s 25 points.

Gage Bobe got things started with a three before Ben Humrichous connected from outside to put UE on top by a score of 8-5.  UE slowly added to its lead as Cam Haffner posted a pair of field goals to help the Aces take their largest lead of the half at 17-9 at the 13:35 mark.

UIC rallied back with seven in a row before Haffner put an end to it with a triple that was made possible by a Humrichous offensive board.  The Flames rallied to tie it up at 20-20 before Evansville regained control.  Inside the 5-minute mark, Bobe knocked down his second triple to solidify a 31-25 lead.  Chuck Bailey III converted a 3-point play just over a minute later to reestablish a 6-point advantage at 36-30.

Over the final 3:26 of the period, UIC made its way back, scoring the final six points to tie the game at halftime.  Their defense clamped down, holding UE to 0-for-3 while forcing four turnovers in the final moments of the period.

On its first possession of the second half, UIC took its first lead of the evening at 38-36.  Kenny Strawbridge Jr. quickly put the Purple Aces back in front, countering with a triple on the other side of the floor.  Strawbridge recorded UE’s first nine points of the half to give his team a 45-43 edge.  Multiple lead changes ensued before Evansville was able to take a 2-possession edge.

With the Aces down 54-53, Humrichous hit two free throws to put his team back on top.  His layup with 8:05 remaining pushed the lead to five at 61-56.  Evansville remained up five when a turnaround jumper by Humrichous made it a 63-58 score.  The Flames used the next two minutes to go on an 12-4 run to retake a 70-67 lead with 4:37 remaining.  UIC converted four triples in less than two minutes.

UIC’s run continued as they extended the lead to a game-high nine points (78-69) with less than two minutes left.  During their run, the Flames hit eight out of ten field goal tries.  Entering the final minute, Bobe nailed his fourth triple in as many attempts to chop the deficit to six.  That would be as close as UE would get in the final seconds as the Flames clinched the 88-79 win.

Both teams shot exceptionally well with UE finishing at 52.5% while the Flames shot 51.9%.  UIC picked up a 30-27 rebounding nod.  Evansville will be back inside the Ford Center to welcome Southern Illinois on Sunday at 1 p.m.

INDIANA STATE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

ACES WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HEADS TO INDIANA STATE FOR MIDWEEK MATCHUP

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — After a split last week with Southern Illinois and Missouri State, the University of Evansville women’s basketball team is looking to get back to conference wins on Thursday night.

After back-to-back conference wins for the first time since 2017, UE wasn’t able to make it three games straight on Saturday in a 72-56 loss to Missouri State. The Aces hung with the Lady Bears within a possession through three quarters but ran out of gas in the 4th quarter.

Indiana State comes into Thursday’s game, after a loss to Southern Illinois on Saturday afternoon. The Sycamores have four Valley wins on the year, including their prior meeting Evansville to start conference play. Indiana State has excelled this season in three-point defense, as Valley teams have connected on just 25.7 percent of their 3-point attempts against ISU. The Sycamores are the only team in the MVC with a 3-point defense better than 28 percent in conference play.

Freshman forward Maggie Hartwig added her fifth double-double of the season in 35 minutes against Southern Illinois. Hartwig led UE in scoring with 22 points and led on the defensive side of the ball, grabbing 12 boards. Hartwig also extended her double-digit scoring streak to five games against Missouri State with 11 points. For her performance last week, she was named the Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Week for the third time this season. It was her first honor during conference play after two during the non-conference portion of the season.

Two players set career-scoring highs against the Salukis on Thursday evening. Junior guard Lexie Sinclair had her best offensive game with 20 points and six assists for two new records. Freshman guard Tené Smith scored 16 points, going a perfect 5-5 from the floor to set a new career high. The Aces are also now perfect in overtime games on the season following Thursday’s victory. UE pulled off a win at Chicago State in three overtime periods along with the 93-89 win over SIU.

SOUTHERN INDIANA BASEBALL

USI LAUNCHES 2024 HOME SCHEDULE FRIDAY

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — University of Southern Indiana Baseball launches the 2024 home schedule Friday when it starts a three-game series with Eastern Michigan University. The series is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. Sunday.

The first 200 fans to Friday’s home opener will receive a USI Baseball magnet schedule. Fans attending Saturday’s contest will receive a USI Blanket (first 50 fans), hand warmers, and hot chocolate, while series finale Sunday is Family Day at USI Baseball Field with kids 12-and-under allowed to run the bases after the game.

The USI-EMU series is the start of a seven-game homestand at the USI Baseball Field. The Screaming Eagles also host Ball State University (February 27) and the University of St. Thomas (March 1-3) during the homestand.

Links to follow the Eagles during the opening weekend of 2024 can be found on USIScreamingEagles.com and on the USI Baseball Schedule.   

USI Baseball Notes:

Tough opening weekend for USI. The USI Eagles had a tough opening weekend in Mobile, Alabama, going 0-4 at the Jaguar Classic. USI opened the season with losses to Lamar University, 4-2, and the University of North Alabama, 13-7, before losing twice to the University of South Alabama, 5-3 and 11-0.

Leaders in week one. Sophomore shortstop Caleb Niehaus led the Eagles in the first four games, hitting .438 (7-16) with four runs scored, five doubles, and two RBI. Senior first baseman Tucker Ebest followed with a .385 average (5-13) and also drove in a pair of runs.

Converting chances. USI needs to convert at the plate with runners in scoring position, leaving 35 runners on base in the first four game and hitting just .197 (12-61) with runners on.

Good starts on the mound. USI had a pair of good starts on the mound in losing causes. Junior right-hander Gavin Morris had the start in game one, going 4.1 innings and allowing two runs on four hits and two walk, while freshman right-hander Grant Parson started and went 4.0 frames in game three, allowing one run on three hits and four walks.

USI under Archuleta. The Eagles are in their 18th season under Head Coach Tracy Archuleta, who has led the Eagles to two NCAA Division II national championships (2010, 2014) in his 17 years at the helm. He also has been recognized as the Division II ABCA National Coach of the Year twice (2010, 2014); the ABCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year five times (2007, 2010, 2014, 2016, 2018) and the GLVC Coach of the Year twice (2011, 2014) since taking over the program in 2007. He also is the winningest coach in the history of the program with 544 victories in 17 years.

New opponents on the 2024 Schedule. The Eagles are playing 15 of the first 19 games against opponents who are making their first appearance on a USI baseball schedule.

Eastern Michigan in 2024. Eastern Michigan University was 1-3 versus Belmont University to start the 2024 campaign. The EMU Eagles lost the first two games before splitting the final two games of the series. Belmont took game one, 4-3; game two, 3-2; and the series finale, 9-7; while EMU snagged game three, 16-6. 

USI vs. Eastern Michigan. USI and Eastern Michigan will be meeting for the first time in the history of both baseball programs.

Ball State in 2024. The Ball State University Cardinals took three of four in the Swig & Swine College Classic in Charleston, South Carolina. The Cardinals opened with an 8-4 win over Lehigh University; lost 5-0 to #20 University of Iowa; bounced back to defeat Merrimack University, 2-1; finished the tournament with a 4-1 win over Michigan State University. Ball State is schedule to play the University of Cincinnati (February 23); the University of Illinois (February 23); and Coastal Carolina University (February 24) before leaving South Carolina for Evansville.          

USI vs. Ball State. USI trails the all-time series with Ball State, 2-0, after meeting for the first time in 2023. The Cardinals took the opening game last year in Muncie, Indiana, 7-6, in 11 innings and captured the game at the USI Baseball Field, 12-1. USI senior first baseman Tucker Ebest and senior infielder Jack Ellis led USI in the opening game with a pair of RBI each.

SOUTHERN INDIANA SOFTBALL

USI GOES BACK TO ALABAMA FOR THE 2024 COCKY CLASSIC

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – University of Southern Indiana Softball travels to the state of Alabama for the second time within a week this weekend when the Screaming Eagles head to Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama for the 2024 Cocky Classic. Southern Indiana will play five games from Friday through Sunday.

The Screaming Eagles (1-4) will play the University of Southern Mississippi (4-4) on Friday at 12:30 p.m., Jacksonville State (2-9) at 10 a.m. and Belmont University (4-4) at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, and Southern Miss at 10 a.m. and Jacksonville State at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

USI will be facing Southern Miss and Jacksonville State for the first time ever this weekend and only the second time against Belmont. The Bruins defeated USI 2-0 in the only previous matchup in 1994.

USI opened its 2024 campaign last weekend at the Easton Bama Bash. USI dropped two games against the University of Virginia, 5-2 and 3-1, who was the first-ever Power 5 opponent for USI Softball. The Eagles split two games against the University of St. Thomas, losing 3-1 and winning 4-1. USI concluded the weekend with a 2-0 loss to #11 University of Alabama, the first top-25 team USI played since making the jump to Division I before the 2023 season.

In last Saturday’s battle against No. 11 Alabama, USI battled the Crimson Tide to the final inning. After Alabama scored two runs in the first inning on bases-loaded walks and a sac fly, the game turned into a pitcher’s duel. There were five combined hits. Junior pitcher Josie Newman (Indianapolis, Indiana) pitched a gem, holding Alabama to two hits and retired the side in order in the final three innings. However, USI could not string together hits, recording three singles on Sunday.

Another highlight of the first weekend for USI Softball was the 4-1 win against St. Thomas. Newman had a strong outing against the Tommies, throwing a complete game with 10 strikeouts and allowing only one unearned run. Offensively, senior outfielder Mackenzie Bedrick (Brownsburg, Indiana) and senior first baseman Lexi Fair (Greenwood, Indiana) each had two hits. Fair and senior catcher Sammie Kihega (Greenfield, Indiana) each had a double and an RBI in the victory.

All in all, Newman tossed three complete games with 15 strikeouts in 20 innings of work last weekend. Bedrick paced USI at the plate with a .313 batting average in the first five games. USI’s freshmen found themselves in the mix right away, as five freshmen players made at least one start during the Easton Bama Bash. Freshman infielder Sydney Long (Haubstadt, Indiana) and freshman outfielder Kate Satkoski (Lanesville, Indiana) started all five games for USI. With the bat, USI will look to drive more runs in after leaving 28 runners on base and scoring only seven total runs last weekend.

Live stats will be available for all three days of competition at the Cocky Classic. Video coverage will only be available for Saturday’s and Sunday’s games against Jacksonville State with a subscription to ESPN+.

HUFNAGEL WINS ANOTHER OVC TITLE

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Senior Noah Hufnagel (Santa Claus, Indiana) captured his fifth-career Ohio Valley Conference title Wednesday night to lead the University of Southern Indiana Men’s Track & Field Team at the OVC Indoor Championships.

Hufnagel was first in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14 minutes, 8.29 seconds, which was nearly 14 seconds faster than the second-place finisher in the 23-competitor field.

Already holding an OVC “Triple Crown” of titles with wins on the cross country course, indoor track and outdoor track, Hufnagel now has multiple OVC titles in both indoor and outdoor track. He was the 2022 OVC Cross Country champion before winning titles in the 3,000 meters at the 2023 OVC Indoor Championships as well as the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters at the 2023 OVC Outdoor Championships. He will go for a sixth title when he closes out his collegiate career Thursday at 3:10 p.m. in the 3,000 meters.

Hufnagel’s win also gave the Screaming Eagles 10 points as a team, which puts them in sixth-place at the end of the opening day. Red-shirt freshman Cole Hess (Cannelton, Indiana), who was named OVC Track Freshman of the Week earlier in the day, punched his ticket into the finals of the 800 meters with a strong performance in the prelims Wednesday. He finished the race in 1:55.38 to secure one of the eight positions in the finals.

On the women’s side, freshman Zoe Seward (Rochester, Indiana) earned a podium finish with her effort in the 5,000 meters Wednesday. Seward, who also was named OVC Freshman of the Week earlier in the day, finished third out of 22 competitors with a time of 17:25.22 to give the Eagles six team points.

Junior Kati Hoerig (Prospect, Kentucky) also scored for the Eagles in the 5,000 meters, posting an eighth-place finish. After the opening day of competition, the Eagles sit in eighth place with a team score of seven points.

USI wraps up the 2024 OVC Indoor Championships Thursday. Events begin at 9 a.m., with ESPN+ coverage starting at 12:15 p.m.

VALPO SOFTBALL

SOFTBALL HEADS TO CHATTANOOGA FOR FROST CLASSIC

Valparaiso (2-7, 0-0 MVC)

Feb. 23-25 – at Frost Classic (Chattanooga, Tenn.)

Feb. 23 – vs. Texas A&M-CC (6-2) – 9 a.m. CT | vs. UT Martin (2-5) – 11:30 a.m. CT

Feb. 24 – at Chattanooga (6-4) – 11:30 a.m. CT | vs. Georgetown (6-4) – 2 p.m. CT

Feb. 25 – vs. Ohio (6-4) – 9 a.m. CT

Next Up in Valpo Softball: The Valpo softball team heads back on the road this weekend, making its way to the Volunteer State for five games over three days at Chattanooga’s Frost Classic. The Beacons will face Texas A&M-CC, UT Martin, Georgetown and Ohio in addition to the host Mocs.

Previously: Valpo bookended its weekend at the Pinnacle PC Invitational with wins, taking down Morehead State in the opener and finishing out the tournament with a win over Youngstown State. Kam Utendorf was named MVC Newcomer of the Week after slashing .643/.706/.786 over the weekend’s five games.

Looking Ahead: The Beacons head to Bloomington, Ind. for the Hoosier Classic next weekend.

Following Valpo Softball: There will be no video streams this weekend. All five games will have live stats available, linked at ValpoAthletics.com.

Head Coach Meaggan Pettipiece: Meaggan Pettipiece was hired in September 2022 as head coach of the Valpo softball program and enters her second season in 2024. Pettipiece is in her 15th season overall as a collegiate head coach, most recently spending three seasons at Akron prior to coming to Valpo. Pettipiece, who owns 260 career coaching victories, was an All-American on the diamond and helped California University of Pennsylvania to a D-II national title in 1998 collegiately before playing internationally for Team Canada, including at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Series Notes: Texas A&M-CC, Ohio – First meetings

UT Martin – Valpo is 1-3 all-time against the Skyhawks. This is the second straight year the teams have met, as UT Martin earned a 12-0 win last season at The Spring Games.

Chattanooga – Valpo has dropped all three meetings in the series with the Mocs, the last of which was a 7-0 Chattanooga win as part of the 2012 Frost Classic.

Georgetown – Valpo won the only prior meetings between the two programs, an 8-0 blanking of the Hoyas at the Rebel Spring Games in 2007.

Who’s Back: Valpo returns 12 of 16 letterwinners from last year’s squad for the 2024 season. In all, 69.2% of Valpo’s plate appearances are back for this season and 49.4% of last season’s innings pitched return.

Who’s New: A group of nine newcomers joined the Beacons for the 2024 season. Kam Utendorf transferred in after playing her freshman season at Black Hawk College, joining eight true freshmen on this year’s team.

A Large Roster: The combination of 12 returnees and nine newcomers gives Valpo a 21-player roster forthe 2024 campaign. That’s a five-player increase over last season’s group of 16 players, and it is the largest roster the softball program has had since fielding 21 players for the 2008 season.

Hitting the Road: This weekend’s games continue a long and winding road for the Beacons before they finally get the chance to play at the Valpo Softball Complex. This is the third of five weekends of action prior to the start of Missouri Valley Conference play, as Valpo already played at Texas A&M and Presbyterian and will also play in tournaments at Indiana and Omaha in preconference action. The Beacons will open MVC action with back-to-back weekends on the road at Evansville and at Drake before finally opening the home slate March 29 against Bradley. All told, Valpo is scheduled to play its first 29 games of the season away from home.

Newcomer of the Week: Sophomore Kam Utendorf became Valpo’s first MVC Newcomer of the Week since May 2019 after slashing .643/.706/.786 last week. She had a trio of multi-hit games, including three-hit performances in both of Valpo’s victories – going 3-for-3 with two runs scored, an RBI, a walk and a stolen base in the win over Morehead State and 3-for-4 with a run scored, two RBIs and two doublesin the win over YSU. Through two weekends, Utendorf’s .556 batting average ranks 26th nationally, while her .619 on-base percentage is good for 35th nationally.

Offensive Bests: Valpo exploded for 13 runs in its win over Morehead State to open last weekend, the program’s largest scoring output since a 13-0 win over Wagner in March 2019. The Beacons closed the weekend with a 13-hit performance in the win over YSU, the program’s best single-game total since racking up 16 hits in a win over Holy Cross in Feb. 2022.

Multi-Hit Efforts: Utendorf was one of two Beacons with a trio of multi-hit games last weekend, as fellow sophomore Kim Rodas did so as well. Seniors Regi Hecker and Kayla Skapyak both had two multi-hit outings, while senior Alexis Johnson and Kaia Garnica had one apiece as well.

Different Run Producers: A pair of players helped Valpo earn the 8-5 win over Youngstown State to close last weekend with their first career multi-RBI games. Sophomore Kaia Garnica, who entered the game with two career RBIs, drove in three runs – including the runs in the third inning which gave Valpo the lead for good. Meanwhile, senior Kayla Skapyak – a slapper who came into the game with just two RBIs in 227 career at-bats – had a pair of RBI infield singles in the victory.

Making Debuts: All nine of Valpo’s newcomers made their debuts in the Beacon uniform in the opening weekend of play, eight of those coming on opening day. Four of those debuts came in the season opener against Tulsa, as Kam Utendorf started at shortstop, Anna Wilming pitched in relief and Cici Wilson & Natalie Bush both appeared as pinch-hitters. Four more debuts came against Texas A&M, as Sydney McDermott started in the circle, Kayden Krug entered as a pinch-hitter and Carson Kuhlmann & Madison Stamper were both defensive replacements. Lana Tellez made her collegiate debut in the nightcap of the twinbill with Lehigh as a defensive replacement.

Hecker Hacking: Senior outfielder Regi Hecker started the 2024 regular season just as she closed the 2023 regular season. Hecker, who paced Valpo last year in batting average, hits, doubles, RBIs and stolen bases, closed 2023 by hitting .412 (14-for-34) with four multi-hit games over the Beacons’ final 12 games of the regular season. Through two weekends this year, Hecker ranks second on the team and tied for ninth in the MVC with a .385 batting average and is getting on base at a .467 clip.

International Experience: Sophomore infielder Kim Rodas continued her international career playing for Mexico over the summer, as she earned a bronze medal at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games. Rodas previously medaled with Team Mexico at the 2021 Junior Pan American Games, where her squad claimed the silver.

VALPO BASEBALL

NATIONALLY-RANKED FOE AWAITS BASEBALL THIS WEEKEND

Valparaiso (2-2, 0-0 MVC)

at No. 17 Alabama (4-0*, 0-0 SEC)

Sewell-Thomas Stadium (5,867) | Tuscaloosa, Ala.

*entering Wednesday vs. Alabama State

Friday, Feb. 23, 4 p.m. – RHP Griffin McCluskey

Saturday, Feb. 24, 2 p.m. – RHP Josh Cottrill

Sunday, Feb. 25, 1 p.m. – LHP Lucas Foley

Next Up in Valpo Baseball: The Valparaiso University baseball team will be right back in The Heart of Dixie this weekend as the Beacons continue a season-opening stretch of seven straight games in the state of Alabama. This time, Valpo will visit the nationally-ranked Crimson Tide for a three-game weekend series in Tuscaloosa.

Last Time Out: Valpo earned a series split over the opening weekend of the season at Alabama State, taking the middle games of a four-game series. The Beacons swept Saturday’s doubleheader behind stellar starting pitching performances from Josh Cottrill and Lucas Foley, winning the games 8-2 and 8-1. Alabama State prevailed 16-5 in eight innings in Friday’s season opener despite three Beacon home runs, and an early long ball by Kyle Schmack was not enough on Sunday as the Hornets scored nine unanswered to buzz to the victory.

Following the Beacons: All three games in the series will air on SEC Network Plus. Links to live video, audio (courtesy of Alabama athletics) and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.

Head Coach Brian Schmack: Brian Schmack (190-296) is in his 10th season in charge of the program. He ranks third in program history in seasons coached and games coached as he enters 2024 having skippered 482 Valpo games. He enters the season with 188 victories, the third most in program history. Schmack, a member of the 2003 Detroit Tigers, served as pitching coach/associate head coach at Valpo for seven seasons prior to his promotion.

Series Notes: Valpo will play its second all-time series against Alabama this weekend after previously visiting Tuscaloosa for three games in 2018. The Crimson Tide opened that season by winning all three in the series, prevailing 16-2, 6-5 and 12-6. The closest contest was the middle game when Valpo led 5-1 but Alabama rallied to win in walk-off fashion despite being outhit 13-8.

In The Other Dugout: Alabama

Ranked 17th nationally by D1Baseball and by the USA Today Coaches’ Poll.

Won over 40 games in 2023, posting a 43-21 mark en route to an NCAA Regional crown and Super Regional appearance last season.

Picked fourth in the SEC West preseason poll.

Reliever Alton Davis II was a member of the Preseason All-SEC Second Team.

Swept Manhattan College during the opening weekend of the season before beating Middle Tennessee on Tuesday and hosting Alabama State on Wednesday.

Starters Start Strong

The starting pitching staff turned in a pair of gems over the opening weekend as Josh Cottrill and Lucas Foley both pitched Valpo to wins as part of a doubleheader sweep on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Alabama State.

Cottrill allowed just one run on four hits while walking two and striking out seven in the opener, a six-inning start that helped him pick up his first win of the season and the second of his career. He matched the longest outing of his career and picked up right where he left off last season, when he covered a career-long six innings and allowed just one unearned run on one hit over six innings in the May 24 MVC Tournament game vs. Belmont, Valpo’s final game of the 2023 campaign.

Foley went seven innings of one-run ball while scattering five hits in his collegiate debut. The southpaw struck out 11 and walked none, becoming the first Valpo hurler with double-figure strikeouts since Griffin McCluskey on May 12, 2023 at Belmont (11). McCluskey also had no walks in that outing.

Through one weekend of action, Foley leads the MVC in strikeouts and is one of 10 players in the country with 11 or more.

Foley was one of two freshmen in the country with an 11-strikeout game on the opening weekend, joining Deven Sheerin of Mount St. Mary’s.

The pitching prowess of Cottrill and Foley helped Valpo pick up its first doubleheader sweep since April 15 of last season at Bradley.

Double the Fun

Valpo clubbed six doubles in the opening game of the doubleheader on Feb. 17 at Alabama State, an 8-2 victory.

The half dozen doubles marked the team’s highest total since May 1, 2021, seven vs. Illinois State.

Six of Valpo’s 10 hits in the game went for two bases including two doubles by Connor Giusti.

Valpo finished the weekend with 11 doubles, the most in the MVC and the 12th most nationally during the opening weekend of action.

Giusti had three doubles for the weekend, tied for the most in the MVC and the 13th most nationally over the opening weekend.

Other Notes Wrapping Up Alabama State (Feb. 16-18)

After hitting 50 home runs last season to mark the program’s highest total since 2001, Valpo picked up right where it left off by launching three big flies in the Feb. 16 season opener at Alabama State.

Kaleb Hannahs (ninth career), Alex Thurston (fourth career) and Connor Giusti (11th collegiate, first at Valpo) all drilled dingers on Opening Night.

The three home runs marked Valpo’s highest single-game total since March 5, 2023, when the team slugged three at Little Rock.

The seven Beacon hits on Opening Night came from seven different players.

Alex Ryan had a game-high three hits in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

Jake Jakubowski polished off a win with a flawless ninth and retired all six men he faced in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

In the series finale, Kyle Schmack hit his first home run of the season and the 19th of his Valpo career. He needs two more home runs to crack the program’s all-time top 10.

Defense was a bugaboo in the series finale as Valpo committed three miscues and seven of the nine Alabama State runs were unearned.

Inside the Schedule

Valpo started the season with a four-game series against an Alabama State team that won 41 games and went 26-4 in the Southwest Athletic Conference last season.

The Beacons will play three more in the Heart of Dixie from Feb. 23-25 at Alabama. The Crimson Tide of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) also won over 40 games in 2023, posting a 43-21 mark en route to an NCAA Regional crown and Super Regional appearance.

A challenging early-season docket continues on March 1, when Valpo will play at Elon, a team that went 33-22 last season including a 19-9 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).

Valpo will play a fourth straight opponent and ninth straight game against a team with 30 or more wins last season on March 2 at preseason No. 1 Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons were 54-12, going 22-7 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) on their way to NCAA Regional and Super Regional crowns that resulted in a College World Series appearance.

After a neutral site game on March 3 vs. Binghampton of the American East Conference – another team that finished with a winning record last year – Valpo will visit Jacksonville, a 34-win team last year and a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Valpo will have a three-game series at Campbell (March 15-17) against a team that went 46-15 and 22-5 in the Big South in 2023. The conference champion Fighting Camels reached NCAA Regionals.

The Beacons will make their way to Nashville, Tenn. for a game against preseason No. 6 Vanderbilt on March 26. The Commodores went 42-20 last season, were the runners-up of the College World Series in 2021 and won the national title as recently as 2019.

Other power-five opponents on the docket include April 3 at Purdue and April 16 at Notre Dame.

Program Progress: Looking Back at 2023

Valpo enjoyed 20 wins in 2023, the team’s highest overall win total since the 2017 campaign (24).

The team surpassed 2018 (19) for the program’s highest overall win total since joining the Missouri Valley Conference.

The team’s highest overall win total in recent years came despite the fact that six nonconference games were called off due to poor weather.

Valpo finished with a .426 overall winning percentage, the team’s highest since joining the MVC and highest in any season since 2017.

With 10 conference victories, Valpo notched its highest MVC win total since joining the league. The team’s previous Valley-only peak was nine in 2021.

Valpo finished the season with a league-only winning percentage of .370. Prior to last season, the team’s best MVC winning percentage was .321 in 2021.

Last season also represented the first time that Valpo has finished ahead of more than one team in the conference standings since joining the league. The team finished seventh of eight in 2018 and 2019 and eighth of eight in 2021 and 2022. There was no MVC play in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Valpo was recognized by D1Baseball as one of three “Upsets of the Night” on March 10 after beating No. 22 Southern Miss 6-1 in the series opener. The victory snapped the team’s skid of 15 straight losses against nationally-ranked opponents and marked the team’s first victory over a top-25 foe since beating No. 25 Illinois on April 17, 2018. At No. 22, Southern Miss was the highest ranked team that Valpo has defeated since a win over No. 9 Arizona State on April 21, 2013.

Talkin’ Schmack

Head coach Brian Schmack ranks third in program history in career victories, trailing only Paul Twenge (1988-2006, 378) and the legendary Emory G. Bauer (1954-1981, 359).

Schmack is 10 wins away from becoming the third Valpo head coach to reach the 200-win milestone.

Schmack will reach another milestone this season when the 2024 campaign reaches its 18th That will mark Schmack’s 500th game in charge of the program, becoming the third skipper in program history to reach that number.

Beacon Blasts

Valpo launched 50 home runs last season, surpassing the 2018 campaign (41) and the 2002 season (49) to climb all the way to fourth in single-season program history.

Valpo held its highest single-season home run total during the BBCOR bat era that began in 2011.

The 50 bombs marked the program’s most since 2001, a year were the team launched a program-record 81 long balls.

Valpo Single-Season Top 5 – Team Home Runs

Rank    Year    HR

1          2001    81

2          1985    64

3          1999    55

4          2023    50

5          2002    49

Other Record Book Updates from 2023

Valpo drew 231 walks as a team last season, tied for the fifth most in program history. That marked the team’s highest number of bases on balls since 2018 (248).

The Beacons also reached base at a high clip, as the team’s .386 on-base percentage was its highest in over 20 years. That tied for fifth in the program record book, joining the 2001 and 1998 seasons. This was the first time since 2001 that Valpo owned an OBP of .386 or better.

Valpo possessed a .973 fielding percentage last season, matching a program record set in 2018.

VALPO MEN’S BASKETBALL

PALM PRODUCES CAREER HIGH IN SETBACK TO SYCAMORES

The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team received a career-high 14 points from senior Jerome Palm (Almere, Netherlands / Echnaton [Hillsborough CC]) and junior Isaiah Stafford (Bolingbrook, Ill. / Crispus Attucks [John A. Logan / Southern Indiana]) enjoyed another big day with 23 points, but visiting Indiana State prevailed 83-64 on Wednesday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center. This marked a step forward from the team’s visit to Terre Haute earlier this month as this time Valpo trailed by only three midway through the second half.

How It Happened

The game was played within one possession early but Indiana State used a 7-0 run to go ahead 19-10 at the 12:21 mark. Julian Larry hit a 3 to make it a double-figure Sycamore lead with 11:03 on the first-half clock.

Valpo responded by scoring the game’s next seven points, including a hook shot by Palm that cut the lead to 22-19 with 9:49 left in the half.

Valpo shrunk the lead to three when Darius DeAveiro (Kanata, Ottawa, Canada / Orangeville Prep) made a jumper at the 6:40 mark. The Beacons got even thanks to a fastbreak dunk by Palm that tied the game at 27 with 5:54 left in the half.

Two 3s were knocked down by Sherman Weatherspoon IV (Bowie, Md. / Bethesda-Chevy Chase [Golden State Prep]) late in the half, the second of which made it a three-point game with 2:16 left before the break. The Sycamores scored the final five points of the half to make it 45-37 at the intermission.

The second half started with a Stafford burst in which he scored the team’s first 11 points of the half. The deficit was down to three at 55-52 with 12:50 to play after Cooper Schwieger (Overland Park, Kan. / Blue Valley Southwest [Link Year]) made a pair of free throws. It was a three-point game with 11:12 to play after a Palm dunk to make it 59-56.

A 14-1 burst boosted the Indiana State lead to 16 at 73-57 with 5:07 left. The Sycamores built the lead as high as 21 and led by 19 when the final horn sounded.

Inside the Game

Palm’s 14 points eclipsed his previous personal best of 12, which came on Nov. 17 of this season at No. 23 Illinois. His two highest scoring outputs have come against teams that were nationally ranked at some point this year. Palm went 7-of-11 from the field on Wednesday.

Weatherspoon IV knocked down four of his five field-goal attempts including 3-of-4 from 3, totaling 11 points. This marked his third double-figure scoring output of the season, his first in conference play and his first since Dec. 19 vs. Samford.

Stafford’s 23 points came on 9-of-18 shooting and 5-of-7 from the foul line. He has surpassed 20 points in three straight games. Stafford scored 19 of his points after halftime.

Schwieger battled foul trouble, the third time in the last four games that he’s either fouled out or finished with four. He’s had at least four fouls in five of his last eight games.

The 3-point arc was not friendly to either team after halftime as the two teams went a combined 0-for-15 from long range after the break.

DeAveiro gave out four assists, lifting his career total to 271 and surpassing Daniel Sackey (2018-2021, 269) for 19th in program history.

Valpo won the turnover battle 14-11, the team’s eighth straight outing in which it has been even or ahead in turnovers.

Postgame Press Conference

Click here for postgame press conference.

Up Next

The Beacons (6-22, 2-15 MVC) will hit the road for the next two games including a visit to Murray State on Saturday for a 3 p.m. tip time from Murray, Ky.

VALPO SWIMMING

BALL POSTS PROGRAM TOP-FIVE TIME ON OPENING DAY OF MVC CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Valpo women’s swimming team opened the 2024 MVC Championships in Evansville, Ind. on Wednesday evening with a pair of relays. The night was highlighted by freshman Avery Ball (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) cracking the top-five in program history in the 50 back.

How It Happened

The championship meet began with the 200 medley relay, which Valpo covered in a season-best 1:49.47 — just two-tenths of a second from a spot in the top-10 in program history. Ball swam the opening leg and was joined by freshman Roxanne Adams (Aguadilla, Puerto Rico/Homeschooled), junior Bridget Pollard (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) and freshman Faith Bargwell (Grand Rapids, Mich./Rockford).

Ball’s leadoff 50 back leg saw her touch the wall in 27.36, moving her into fourth place in program history in the 50 back.

The second and final event of the night was the 800 free relay. Freshman Sophie Schoch (Medina, Ohio/Medina), sophomore Emma Schmidt (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley), sophomore Caroline Gorski (Melrose Park, Ill./Leyden) and junior Haley Hume (Ballwin, Mo./Marquette) teamed up to post a season-best time of 7:58.58.

Valpo finished the night with 84 points, good for eighth place out of the nine competing teams. The Beacons closed the opening day ahead of Southern Illinois in the team standings.

Next Up

Valpo continues with the second of four days of competition at the MVC Championships on Thursday. Prelim swims begin at 10:30 a.m., with finals starting at 6 p.m.

UINDY MEN’S LAX

GREYHOUNDS DOMINATE WALSH IN MID-WEEK MEETING

INDIANAPOLIS – The No. 8 UIndy men’s lacrosse team earned a blowout 18-4 win on Wednesday afternoon from Key Stadium, upping its perfect record against Walsh to 5-0.

Nick Randgaard and Triston Schaffer each contributed five points, while Justin Williams joined his teammates with a hat trick. At the faceoff x, Caleb Parker dominated with 16 wins, scooping up 14 ground balls in the process.

INS & OUTS

The Greyhounds were firing all cylinders against the visiting Cavaliers, scoring 12 seconds into the contest and never looking back. Five different Hounds scored to open the contest, with Sam Puzevic tacking on a goal one minute into the second quarter on a pass from Randgaard.

UIndy netted 10 consecutive goals over a span of 23+ minutes during the middle frames. Three Greyhounds scored multiple times in that stretch, including Keegan Laughlin and Nick Luitwieler. More impressively, nine of the netters were assisted by eight different players, with Schaffer contributing a pair of helpers.

Dylan Braddock, Mason Rockley, and Magnus Salmon each produced their first assist of the season.

Walsh coughed up possession a whopping 30 times – on eight occasions in three separate quarters. UIndy caused just 12 of those turnovers, with two each from Trevor Lockwood, Easton Ong, and Jack Sullivan.

INSIDE THE BOX

– Freshman Noah Segal saw action between the pipes for the first time this season, making one save during his fourth-quarter stint.

– Parker’s 14 ground balls are tied for the fourth most in a single game in program history

– Each Braddock brother has scored in the same game three times this season.

– Alvin Finnels recorded his first-career ground ball in the win.

– UIndy’s 18 goals is the most in a game since April 29, 2023, against Quincy.

– Wednesday marked Randgaard’s first hat trick in over a year when he recorded back-to-back to open the 2023 campaign.

UP NEXT

The Greyhounds will take a brief hiatus from home and visit the Lake Erie College Storm on Saturday in Painesville, Ohio. UIndy leads the all-time series, 6-1, and has won each of the past four meetings.

UINDY WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

GREYHOUNDS WELCOME WILLIAM JEWELL AND ROCKHURST IN FINAL HOME SERIES

vs. William Jewell Cardinals (5-19, 3-15 GLVC)

Thursday | February 22 | 5 p.m.

vs. Rockhurst Hawks (13-9, 10-8 GLVC)

Saturday | February 24 | 12:30 p.m.

The UIndy women’s basketball team is set to host William Jewell and Rockhurst for the final home games of the 2023-24 season. Before the game against Rockhurst five seniors will be honored for their contribution to the team.

The Greyhounds are looking for a season sweep over the Cardinals. The teams last faced each other on Jan. 13 when the Hounds defeated WJC, 91-71. UIndy is looking for redemption against Rockhurst. Earlier in the season, the Hawks passed the Greyhounds, 78-66, on Jan. 11.

LAST TIME OUT

UIndy women’s basketball lost 101-96 to Illinois Springfield in an offensive-heavy contest. Jada Haines had an outstanding night on the court. Haines scored a season-high 33 points. The graduate student also had season highs in shooting going 10-of-19 from the field and 6-for-12 from beyond the arc.

The Hounds led the Prairie Stars by six points at the end of the first half. In the second half UIS turned up the jets and went on an 8-0 run on their own to bring the score within a few points. For the remainder of the contest, the teams traveled up and down the court fighting to keep the lead. With less than two minutes left, the UIS went on an 8-2 run to secure their win.

UINDY MEN’S BASKETBALL

MEN’S BASKETBALL SET FOR SENIOR DAY THIS WEEKEND

vs. William Jewell Cardinals (16-8, 10-6 GLVC)

Thursday | February 22 | 7:30 p.m.

vs. Rockhurst Hawks (12-12, 8-8 GLVC)

Saturday | February 24 | 3 p.m.

The UIndy men’s basketball team returns home to Nicoson Hall this weekend for senior day festivities, hosting William Jewell for a revenge game on Thursday before welcoming Rockhurst to town on Saturday afternoon.

The Cardinals knocked off the Greyhounds by a score of 73-71 earlier this season when the teams met in Liberty, Mo. Additionally, the Hawks were victorious in their last trip to Nicoson Hall, defeating the Greyhounds, 71-61, on Dec. 3, 2022.

LAST TIME OUT

UIndy earned a pair of road wins over the weekend, marking the fourth time this season it has secured back-to-back victories following a loss. The Greyhounds defeated Quincy on Thursday before shutting down Illinois Springfield’s deadly 3-point attack on Saturday afternoon.

Three Greyhounds recorded 20+ points in the win against the Prairie Stars, led by Kendrick Tchoua’s third double-double of the month with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Jesse Bingham led all scorers with 25 points, while Jarvis Walker contributed 20 in 36 minutes.

Illinois Springfield entered Saturday with the third-best 3-point percentage in NCAA Division II at 41.8 percent; however, the Greyhounds allowed just seven triples on 22 Prairie Star tries (31.8 percent).

HOUNDS APPEAR IN INITIAL REGIONAL POLL

INDIANAPOLIS – The season’s first set of NCAA Division II Regional Rankings dropped on Wednesday, with the UIndy men’s basketball team listed among those receiving postseason consideration. The Greyhounds were one of 10 Midwest Region team’s on the initial list.

This year, the first regional rankings included teams in alphabetical order only, with actual rankings set to be included in next week’s release. Selection Sunday comes on March 10 when the 64-team NCAA DII Championship field  – eight from each region – will be announced on NCAA.com.

MIDWEST REGION CONTENDERS

School   Overall DII Record             In-Region Record

Ashland                13-8       13-8

Ferris St.              15-6       15-6

Hillsdale               14-8       14-8

Ky. Wesleyan      15-6       15-6

Lake Superior St. 16-5     15-5

Northern Mich.  16-7       15-6

UIndy                   17-7       16-6

Upper Iowa        15-8       15-8

Walsh                   15-5       14-5

William Jewell    15-8       15-8

UINDY BASEBALL

BASEBALL RISES TO #4 IN NCBWA POLL

PEMBROKE, N.C.— The University of Indianapolis baseball team has inched up a spot in the latest release of the NCBWA Division II Top-25 poll, rising from No. 5 in the last poll to No. 4 this week.

The new ranking comes after the Hounds picked up a 12-1 win over the Notre Dame College Falcons on their season opening series in Avon, Ohio. They were set to play two contests with the Lake Erie Storm, but snow in the area limited the Greyhounds to just one complete game.

In the domination of the Falcons, Dakota Sill made a big impact, knocking home three RBIs in his Greyhound debut. Will Spear, the longtime catcher for the Greyhounds and Nick Lukac, the third-base to centerfield position switch both tallied three hits in the contest.

The Hounds are back on the road this weekend, traveling down south Americus, Ga. For a three-game set against the Georgia Southwestern Hurricanes between Feb. 23-25.

MARIAN WOMEN’S LAX

#8 MARIAN LOGS FIRST WIN OF 2024 WITH 12-7 VICTORY OVER GEORGETOWN COLLEGE

Georgetown, Ky. – The Marian women’s lacrosse team earned their first win of the season on Wednesday night in Kentucky, as the Knights landed a 12-7 win over (RV) Georgetown College. Marian’s win is their first of the season, as the Knights move to 1-1 on the young campaign.

The Knights acted quickly and scored the game’s first goal within three minutes, as Taleah Nool netted the opening goal of the night. Georgetown would respond with a Madison Diaz goal at the 8:44 mark, but the draw was short-lived as Marian immediately won the draw control, leading to  Katie Murphy goal. The quarter would hit a tie once again with 6:52 to play before the second, but the Knights never gave up their lead, with Marian scoring three unanswered goals to cap a 5-2 period. Nool added her second goal of the quarter to put Marian in the lead, while Ashlynn Gray and Ella Grace Giedd each followed with a score.

The scoring would slow down in the second quarter, as Marian held a 2-1 edge over the Tigers in the quarter. Georgetown would score the first goal in the quarter to make it a two-score game, but with 9:42 to play in the half Murphy netted her second goal, putting Marian on top 6-3. The Knights would get another goal from Lizzie Piercy who scored her first goal of the season with 43 seconds remaining to cap the scoring in the half, seeing Marian lead 7-3 at the intermission. Marian had multiple chances to score in the quarter despite the two goals, as five shots were saved by the Tigers’ Madison Haney.

Marian’s defense in the second quarter played a large role in holding Georgetown to just one goal, and it carried over into the third quarter as the Knights again allowed one score. Multiple possessions for the Tigers ended in turnovers forced by Ashlynn Gray, while Katherine Hirsch made multiple saves to protect the goal. Ruby Mason scored both goals for Marian in the third quarter, helping her team lead 9-4 entering the final quarter.

In the fourth quarter Marian found another gear on offense, ending the game with three goals in the period. Ella Grace Giedd netted her second goal with 10:20 to play in the game to answer a Georgetown goal, while Katie Murphy and Delaney Koles would score in the final two minutes to add to Marian’s lead. The Tigers would slip one final goal past Grace Coyne who took over goal-tending duties in the fourth quarter with 40 seconds remaining, ending the scoring for the game with Marian victorious 12-7.

Murphy led Marian in the game in goals and shot attempts, with three and seven, respectively. Murphy finished the night with five points, leading the way with two assists. Mason and Giedd each scored a pair of goals and had one assist, and Nool finished with two goals in the game. Delaney Koles’ goal was the first in her career.

Defensively, Ashlynn Gray and Madeline Dumke led the team in caused turnovers with three each, and Gray led the team with nine draw controls. In goal, Hirsch received her first win of the year making six saves in 45 minutes of work. Coyne played the final 15 minutes of the game, making one save.

Marian will play their home opener on February 29, hosting Missouri Baptist at St. Vincent Field at 4:00 p.m.

MARIAN MEN’S BASKETBALL

MARIAN ESCAPES MOUNT VERNON NAZARENE AS 81-78 WINNERS

Mount Vernon, Ohio – The Marian men’s basketball team held off an upset-minded Mount Vernon Nazarene team on Wednesday night, as the Knights survived a late first half run by the Cougars and second half surge to escape with an 81-78 win. Marian is now 21-6 overall on the season, and 11-6 in Crossroads League play.

The Knights dominated from the tip, opening the night on a 5-0 run in the first 65 seconds, while expanding their lead to eight points seconds after the clock rolled past five minutes of play. Gus Etchison and Brody Whitaker were catalysts in helping Marian build a 19-8 lead through six minutes, and in the next two minutes scores by Jackson Ames and Josh Bryan pushed the lead over 14 points. By the second media timeout of the half, Marian led 28-15 over Mount Vernon with a strong double-digit advantage.

After the under-10 minute media timeout, Marian continued to maintain their double figure lead, with Etchison carrying the scoring load as a 5-0 run by the junior increased his first half total to 14 points. With 6:06 to play, Etchison had poured in four more points including his second three-point make, helping Marian take a 20-point lead at 43-23. After the free throw that gave the guard 18 points, Marian went ice-cold, missing nine field goals while committing three turnovers in the final six minutes before halftime. In Marian’s cold spell, Mount Vernon caught fire, scoring 15 unanswered points to get within five, while scoring with 11 seconds to play to send the team’s to the break with a 45-40 score favoring the Knights.

Marian tightened up after seeing their 20-point lead collapse, but built confidence in the first four minutes of the second half as Maximus Gizzi and Ben Henderson helped bring the lead back to 10 points. The Knights would lead by as many as 12 points in the second half with Brody Whitaker driving to the cup with 13:49 to play, setting Marian in the lead as they pushed their lead to double figures for much of the next three minutes. Mount Vernon would get within six points before the second media timeout, and then again with 8:36 to play in the game.

The game would continue to flow in favor of both teams over the final eight minutes, with Marian’s lead dropping to three points with 6:47 remaining following a 5-0 run. The Knights would respond with a 5-0 run of their own, as a step-back three by Etchison helped catapult Marian back in front by eight. With 4:12 to play Etchison took a steal forced by Whitaker and flushed a dunk to give Marian a 10-point lead, but the game would still not be secured as another drought allowed Mount Vernon back into the contest.

The Cougars scored seven unanswered points in a 2:30 window to make it a three-point contest, and answered an Etchison layup with a Trent Koning three-pointer to cut the score to a single possession. Jackson Ames would hit the front end of a one-and-one with 19 seconds remaining to put Marian in front by three points, and after wisely fouling the Cougars with six seconds to play to avoid a game-tying three, another set of foul shots by Whitaker would seal Marian’s win, as the guard secured the 81-78 victory.

Marian ended the game shooting 48 percent from the floor, while going 17-of-19 at the foul line. Etchison scored a game-high 33 points in the win as he converted 11 field goals, and Jackson Ames recorded a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double. Whitaker scored 17 points in the win, and Josh Bryan led the bench scoring with six points.

With Marian’s win, they locked their spot in the Crossroads League Tournament as the four-seed, and will host Bethel in the Crossroads League Tournament Quarterfinals next Wednesday in the PE Center. Before the tournament begins, Marian will conclude their conference season on Saturday afternoon when they host No. 6 Indiana Wesleyan. The game will tip at approximately 3:00 p.m., with Marian’s senior day ceremony to begin at the conclusion of the women’s game.

MARIAN WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

KNIGHTS CLINCH A SHARE OF THE CL CHAMPIONSHIP WITH A WIN OVER MT. VERNON 72-42

Mount Vernon, OH. – The Knights took down the Cougars on the road at Mt. Vernon 72-42. This win allowed the Knights to clinch a share of the Crossroads League Championship which is tallied as the 10th regular season championship in program history. Scoring was lead by Ella Collier with 19 points in total and Abbey McNally not far behind with 17 points.

Ella Collier led the Knights into an early lead scoring the first basket within the first minute of the quarter. The Knights continued to increase the lead by 6 points at the midway point of the quarter. Collier leads off scoring at the end of the quarter with 10 points in total. Abbey McNally and Sara Majorosova lead the Knights in rebounds with 2 rebounds each to end the quarter.

In the beginning of the 2nd quarter Aliyah Evans, Majorosova, McNally, and Collier continued to all bring the energy with a quick layup each and McNally making two bringing the lead into double digits over the Cougars before the half point mark of the quarter. After the midway point Collier made a quick jump shot bringing her total scoring to 14 points in total. During the last few minutes of the quarter Allison Bosse made a jump shot, with Kinnidy Garrard making a layup and Tamia Perryman making 2, one being within the last seconds of the quarter bringing the game to a 16 point lead in favor of the Knights.

To end off the first half Collier leads in scoring with 14 points in total with, Bosse and McNally very close behind with 6 points each. McNally also led the Knights in rebounds to end the quarter with 3 rebounds in total, and Collier, Evans, Majorosova, Garrard, and Jayla Wehner not very far behind with 2 rebounds each.

The Knights got a late start into the 3rd quarter with McNally scoring 4 good free throws bringing her total to 6-6 free throws for the day. At the 6 minute point Collier brought the fire making a 3-pointer jump shot and a regular jump shot bringing the game to a 19 point lead in favor of the Knights. At the halfway point McNally and Perryman brought the game to a 22 point lead in favor of the Knights with a good free throw by McNally and a quick layup by Perryman.The Knights end of the quarter with a 26 point lead over the Cougars with Collier leading in scoring with 19 points in total. McNally and Collier also led the Knights in rebounds with 4 rebounds each.

After a few minutes into the 4th quarter Olivia Faust brought back the energy against the Cougars with a quick 3-pointer jump shot bringing the game to a 24 point difference in favor of the Knights. Going into the midway point of the game the Knights brought the lead back up to a 28 point lead with the help of a layup by Collier and 2 layups by McNally. Esther Sevilla made a quick layup to continue the lead for the Knights. Eva Fisher threw up a quick 3-point jump shot to bring the game to a 30 point difference in favor of the Knights. Collier led the team in scoring with 19 points in total, and McNally not far behind with 17 points in total. McNally led the Knights in rebounds for the night with 7 rebounds in total, and Collier and Werner not far behind with 5 rebounds each!

With the win over Mt. Vernon tonight, the Knights not only clinched their spot in their 10th regular season championship and also a share of the Crossroads League Championship. But, they also got their 24th consecutive win which is the most wins in a single season in program history. The record that they passed was held by the 2016-2017 team who had 23 consecutive wins which in turn lead them to a National Championship.

The Knights will be back at home for this Saturday, February 24th at 1:00 against Indiana Wesleyan for the last game of the regular season.

ANDERSON TO HOST HCAC MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

The Anderson University men’s basketball team is set to host the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) men’s basketball tournament this weekend in Anderson in O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.

Top-seeded Anderson (21-4) clashes with fourth-seeded Manchester University (16-10) on Friday at 5 p.m. Second-seeded Transylvania University (19-6) then faces off with third-seeded Hanover College (17-9) on Friday at 7 p.m. The winners of the two semifinal games go head to head in the HCAC Championship game on Saturday at 6 p.m.

The HCAC Tournament follows the HCAC Ticket policy. General admission to the sessions is $10. Faculty/staff/students of HCAC institutions receive free admission with an ID (Spouses and children 12 and over are required to pay general admission). Children 11 and under also receive free admission. There will be no team pass lists and president’s pass list.

Friday, February 23

Semifinal #1: No. 1 Anderson vs. No. 4 Manchester (Live Video) (Live Stats) – 5 PM

Semifinal #2: No. 2 Transylvania vs. No. 3 Hanover (Live Video) (Live Stats) – 7 PM

Saturday, February 24

Championship Game: Winner of Semifinal #1 vs. Winner of Semifinal #2 – 6 PM*

*The live video and live stats link for the championship game will be available following Friday’s contests.

ANDERSON MEN’S BASKETBALL JUMPS TO NO. 4 IN NCAA REGIONAL RANKINGS

After not receiving a ranking in the previous week, the Anderson University men’s basketball team jumped to No. 4 in the NCAA D-III Region VIII rankings, which were announced on Tuesday.

Anderson (21-4, 16-2) rolled to a 94-75 road victory against Hanover College (17-9, 12-6) and a 96-86 victory against Manchester University (16-10, 12-6) last week. The Ravens claimed an outright Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) title. Anderson’s 16-2 conference record marks the program’s best ever record in the HCAC since they joined in 1993.

Top-seeded Anderson clashes with fourth-seeded Manchester on Friday at 5 p.m. in O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.

VINCENNES BASKETBALL

NO. 8 TRAILBLAZERS BOUNCE BACK IN A BIG WAY WITH WIRE-TO-WIRE WIN OVER SWIC

VINCENNES, Ind. – The Vincennes University Trailblazers were looking for a bounce back win in a big way Wednesday night after falling in overtime on the road last Saturday and falling to No. 8 in this week’s NJCAA Division I National Rankings.

The Trailblazers came out looking to make a statement against the Southwestern Illinois College Blue Storm inside the Physical Education Complex and were able to come away with a very strong wire-to-wire 88-57 win.

Vincennes got off to a quick start Wednesday night, jumping out to a 9-2 lead early in the game.

VU would continue to grow this lead, increasing the advantage to double digits with six unanswered points to take a 29-15 lead.

The Trailblazers finished the first half strong, even after a SWIC basket at the buzzer, with the Blazers holding a big 46-31 lead at the break.

Vincennes looked to put the game on cruise control early in the second half, using a 10-0 scoring run to grow the lead to 67-39 midway through the second half.

SWIC would look to make a late comeback with an 8-0 scoring run but were only able to cut the Trailblazer lead down to 21 before the Blazers answered back with a 7-0 run to put the game away.

Vincennes emptied the bench and closed out a very strong 88-57 victory over the Blue Storm.

“I thought we were going to play well coming into tonight,” VU Hall of Fame Head Coach Todd Franklin said. “I told our guys after practice yesterday that this is the best I’ve felt about our team all year long. I thought we practiced better. Across the eyes you could see it, you could feel it a little bit. We had to come to terms with what happened Saturday and those things have been happening all year. But this time, I thought our guys needed to come to terms with it and I thought we were in a good place.”

“We moved Dink into the lineup and hoped that he could open up some things and I thought he did,” Franklin added. “We moved some people around. I had Kris playing mostly as a stretch four to help open the floor up. Those things happened, so I thought it was a good effort on our part. We’ll have to have a better effort on Saturday.”

The Trailblazers were led by a career night by freshman Damarien Yates (Somerville, Tenn.) who connected on six three’s, the most by a VU player this season, on his way to a career-high 24 points on the night.

Freshman Lebron Thomas (Bishopville, S.C.) ended his night with 12 points and five rebounds, while sophomore guard Kent King (Washington, D.C.) got the Trailblazer offense going early, hitting three of three from behind the arc in the first half to finish with 11 points, five assists and four rebounds.

Sophomore Victor Lado (Louisville, Ky.) came off the bench to score in double figures for just the seventh time in his VU career, ending his night with 11 points and five rebounds.

Sophomore Kris King (Washington, D.C.) was the fifth VU scorer in double-figures, coming off the bench to add 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

Sophomore Michael Osei-Bonsu (Bolingbrook, Ill.) battled foul trouble all night but responded to hit every shot he took, connecting all three field goal attempts and hitting an and-one free throw to finish with seven points and nine rebounds in just 12 minutes of action.

Sophomore Ryan Oliver (Antioch, Tenn.) also had a big all-around game finishing with a team-high nine rebounds, seven assists, three steals and five points.

“I thought Dink was aggressive tonight,” Franklin said. “He shot a number of shots out there that went in. We hope he keeps doing it again on Saturday. He’s talented, that’s why we moved him into the lineup. We’ve been moving him over to the three spot these last few weeks trying to get him ready for this, felt like it was time and he played well.”

“It was a shame to not get to see Michael play a whole lot,” Franklin added. “I thought he was effective when he played. I got my first technical because Michael starts the game with two fouls in the first minute when he’s trying not to touch anybody. We took the ball to the basket on the other end with no call when there was a lot more contact there than Michael had and I think Michael gets fouled all the time.”

“We don’t ask for fouls,” Franklin said. “He gets grabbed on his top shoulder and pulled down all the time. He picks up fouls with his hands up on defense and people going at his chest. So I’m going to defend him a little and tonight I did defend him. I’ll do it again and I’ll do it every time. If you want to call a foul with him you can call one every time down the floor because they can’t guard him without fouling. He gets fouled every time and we don’t cry about it, we just tell him to be stronger. I hope they let him play because he’s the best inside player in the Region and he deserves to be able to play in late February and March games. So if someone wants to give me a technical for defending him, that’s fine, I’ll get them again.”

“I thought the team was good,” Franklin added. “I thought we were good across the board. I thought everybody tried to play and they were into the game and we were in control the entire way. I’m proud of them. I’ve told everybody that I’ve talked to about it, I thought we were ready to go after yesterday’s practice and I haven’t said that too many times this year because I had not thought that we had crossed that threshold. Now we’ll see what we do coming back to practice tomorrow and Friday to get ready for this Saturday game. Whether it was Lebron, the King twins, Victor, I thought they all had part tonight. I thought they all did good things. We are still going to have to do better. We’ve got to get down in a stance better. I thought we got beat on some cuts and things that we are not going to be able to do against Olney and win. But it was an excellent effort by our men. I think they bounced back. It’s all about learning, facing and accepting what happened Saturday.”

“We didn’t play that game the way that we wanted to Saturday,” Franklin said. “I thought that we played with a tightness and a fear, a hope and wish instead of going out and attacking it. Tonight we didn’t want to do that again. We wanted to step up and change and I thought that we did that tonight. I’m proud of them. I would be proud of them if we had won or lost if they did that. But I think if we continue to do that, I think we’ll be hard to beat.”

The Trailblazers will face another tough Region 24 test Saturday night inside the Physical Education Complex when VU hosts Olney Central College Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. eastern as the two teams battle for the top spot in the Region 24/Central District standings.

Olney Central checked in this week as the top receiving votes team just outside the NJCAA Division I Top-25.

“We just want to build on tonight,” Franklin said. “We’ve had a really good team and we’ve had a really good year. We’ve played a tremendous schedule and had good wins and all of our losses were understandable losses. One point, one possession games, three losses on the road at three places that very few people win against really good teams. We were disappointed because we felt that we could have done better but I have never thought that we have come all the way together and that’s hard to do. It’s just something that doesn’t happen at the JuCo level when you snap your fingers. I thought that we have started to come together this week after that experience. We’re pretty far down the road here and we’ve had some pretty solid discussions with people and I thought that we had turned the corner. That was my feeling after all of these years doing it.”

“Now I hope that I feel the same way on Thursday and Friday,” Franklin added. “If we do, then we will keep growing and we’ll keep getting better. The sky’s the limit for this team if they do it. That’s what I want to see. Nothing more. Nothing less.”

The Trailblazers will be without Hall of Fame Head Coach Todd Franklin Saturday night however, after Coach Franklin received two technical fouls and was ejected from Wednesday night’s game midway through the first half and will serve a one game suspension for the ejection.

Longtime VU Assistant Coach Brian Davis will step in as the acting Head Coach of the Trailblazers Saturday.

“Our guys will have to be tough enough to handle it on Saturday because we’ve worked too hard to have somebody take this away from us,” Franklin said. “Coach Davis did a great job tonight. He will do a great job on Saturday. Our guys will stand up and I expect that we will do really well.”

VINCENNES WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

BASEYILA’S DOUBLE-DOUBLE PROPELS LADY BLAZERS TO WIN ON PLAY 4 KAY NIGHT

VINCENNES, Ind. – The Vincennes University Lady Trailblazers partnered again with the Kay Yow Cancer Fund Wednesday night to host the annual Play 4 Kay game at Vincennes University.

The Lady Blazers were boosted by a big double-double by sophomore Elikya Baseyila (Paris, France) who’s 16 points and 16 rebounds pushed the Lady Blazers to a big 101-76 victory over Southwestern Illinois College.

Vincennes got off to a good start Wednesday night, quickly building a 16-10 advantage over the Lady Blue Storm before SWIC battled back to even the game at 19-19.

The score would remain tied until the Lady Blazers closed out the first quarter of play on an 8-2 scoring run to take a 29-23 lead after the first 10 minutes of play.

VU continued to add on in the second quarter, outscoring the Lady Blue Storm 14-2 to increase the lead to double digits and later using another 7-0 scoring run to build the largest lead of the half at 55-35.

SWIC would answer back before half but were only able to cut three points off the Vincennes lead before the break, with VU leading 55-38 at halftime.

Vincennes looked to fully take control of the game in the second half, using six straight points to grow their lead to 69-43 midway through the third quarter and holding a 76-53 lead heading into the fourth after a SWIC basket at the buzzer.

The two teams traded baskets for most of the fourth quarter with SWIC unable to put together a big scoring run to shrink the VU lead.

The Lady Blazers cruised down the final stretch of the game as VU picked up the 101-76 victory, surpassing the century mark for the seventh time this season.

Vincennes was led offensively by sophomore Elikya Baseyila who picked up a monster double-double, her ninth of the season and 21st of her VU career.

Baseyila ended the game with 16 points and 16 rebounds, as well as a team-high three blocks on the evening.

Freshman Destinee Hooks (Indianapolis, Ind.), who earned NJCAA Division I Player of the Week honors Wednesday morning, successfully defended this honor with another strong performance with 18 points, six rebounds and a team-high seven assists. Hooks also ended with three steals and a pair of blocks.

Freshman Giavonnie Belton (Indianapolis, Ind.) came off the bench to add 15 points and a pair of steals, while fellow freshman Karina Scott (Noblesville, Ind.) ended her night with 13 points, four assists and a team-high four steals.

Sophomore Najra Voloder (Konjic, Bosnia) had a big game off the bench for the Lady Blazers, scoring a season-high 11 points and just missing out on a double-double with eight rebounds.

Freshman Makyla Tucker (Indianapolis, Ind.) came off the bench to finish with nine points and six assists, while sophomores Brie Miller (Bainbridge, Ind.) and Katrina Litte (Valmiera, Latvia) each ended with eight points. Miller adding four rebounds, while Litte finished with four assists and three steals.

The Lady Trailblazers will return to the Physical Education Complex floor this weekend for the final time during the 2023-24 season when VU hosts Olney Central College Saturday, Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. eastern on Sophomore Night.

Vincennes defeated the Lady Blue Knights 83-73 earlier this season in Olney behind 20 points, nine rebounds and six steals by Destinee Hooks.

WABASH MEN’S LAX

LITTLE GIANTS CAPTURE WIN AGAINST RAVENS

A game that started as a defensive battle turned into a Wabash rout as the Little Giants’ lacrosse team scored 11 second-half goals to earn a 14-0 win at Anderson University Wednesday evening.

Wabash (2-1) blanked an opponent for the second time in program history. The last shutout occurred in 2018 when the Little Giants defeated Earlham College 24-0.

Neither Wabash nor Anderson could find the back of the net in the first period. Blake Stephens ended the scoreless affair with less than six minutes left in the first period by scoring off a pass from Artie Rogers to put the Little Giants in front 1-0. Stephens added two more goals in the second period to give Wabash a 3-0 lead at halftime.

The Little Giants exploded on offense in the third period, tallying seven goals to break the game open. Will Sorg and Luka DiFilippo scored unassisted goals before Jake Pippen added a pair of goals with assists from Rogers and Evan Stonis. Zade Kalesperis, Sam Santiago, and Lucas Cunningham each scored to put the Little Giants in front 10-0 heading into the final period.

Christian Dybedock, Rogers, Stephens, and Josh Taylor each added fourth-period goals to complete the 14-0 victory. Rogers finished the game with five assists, while Taylor added two helpers on goals.

Colin Krekeler made seven saves to earn the win in goal for Wabash. Hayden Hicks picked up two saves in a backup role for the Little Giants. Quinn Shefferly paced the defense with four caused turnovers. Shefferly and DiFilippo each scooped up six ground balls. DiFilippo won 10 of 13 faceoff chances for the Little Giants.

Wabash returns home to face Alma College on Wednesday, February 28, at 4 p.m.

TAYLOR WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

TAYLOR DROPS CROSSROADS LEAGUE BATTLE AT HUNTINGTON

HUNTINGTON, Ind. – The Taylor women’s basketball team (11-16, 6-11 CL) could not keep a slight lead early in a 62-49 road defeat to Huntington (14-13, 8-9).

Ava Henson made three-pointers to open and close the first quarter, as well as early in the second period to help provide TU with a 15-13 lead through a dozen minutes of game time. The Trojans’ offense outside of Henson and Taylor Westgate struggled, however, as the Foresters took a 26-19 advantage into halftime.

Henson and Claycee West both knocked down triples in the third quarter to draw Taylor within one possession, but a lay in late in the period for HU got the home team back ahead 37-32 in the low-scoring affair.

Two more triples from Hope Custer and West sparked the Trojan offense and opened up the paint for Westgate to operate with six consecutive TU points, but Taylor could not close the gap in a strong final offensive period for Huntington.

Henson led all scorers in the game with 18 points and tied Westgate with a game-high four assists. Westgate also put up 12 points and 14 rebounds as the senior inches in on the 1,000-career rebound mark with 994. West made three triples and gathered five boards in an 11-point night.

TU generated 13 assists compared to Huntington’s eight dimes, but 24 turnovers were too much to overcome for the visitors.

Taylor looks to close the regular season with a win when it hosts Bethel (6-21, 1-16 CL) on Saturday for Senior Day. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m., with a brief ceremony set to take place after the game to honor TU’s seniors.

TAYLOR BASEBALL

BATS COME TO LIFE IN BLOWOUT VICTORY FOR NO. 9 TAYLOR

UPLAND, Ind. – The ninth-ranked Taylor baseball team (4-7) earned a commanding 15-3 win Wednesday evening versus Indiana South Bend (1-4) in its home opener.

Fueled by an efficient four-inning start from the eventual winning pitcher, freshman Alec Hershberger (1-0), TU strung together solid plate appearances to take a 4-0 lead five frames into the contest. After allowing a base hit and walk in the first inning, Hershberger settled in to face the minimum in the second, third and fourth innings while adding two strikeouts to his line.

Kaleb Kolpien was responsible for driving in two of Taylor’s first four runs with a sharp single to left and a bases-loaded walk. Mason David also had an RBI single in the fifth to put Taylor ahead 4-0.

The Titans trimmed their deficit to 4-2 with a base knock to center in the top half of the sixth inning, but an offensive explosion for the Trojans awaited just around the bend.

TU sent 13 men to the plate in an eight-run sixth frame that featured four extra-base hits and two run-producing singles to the outfield. The inning opened with three consecutive doubles from Fletcher Roemmich, Camden Knepp and Kolpien before IUSB recorded two quick outs sandwiched by a hit-by-pitch. Mason David emphatically made sure the inning continued as he put a charge in one to left field that cleared the wall for a three-run homer, his first of the season. Taylor then took advantage of two walks and an error to set up back-to-back run-scoring singles for Knepp and Kolpien to close the monster inning with TU ahead, 12-2.

Senior Jack Ross put zeros on the board for two innings thereafter, and the Trojan lineup continued to add on with a two-run bomb to the scoreboard in left-center by pinch-hitter Joe Lokos in the seventh frame, and an RBI-single from Ben Kennedy in the eighth. Lokos’ homer marked the senior’s first of his career.

Nathan Frady yielded one run but closed the door in the ninth inning to wrap up Taylor’s dominant win.

Offensively, Kolpien broke out with four hits and four RBIs in a perfect day at the plate. Knepp recorded his second straight three-hit game and produced three RBIs, while David notched three hits and four RBIs.

No. 9 Taylor continues its home stand on Friday with a double header versus Madonna (2-4). First pitch of game one at Winterholter Field is scheduled for 12 noon.

SMALL COLLEGE ATHLETICS

INDIANA WESLEYAN ATHLETICS: https://iwuwildcats.com/

EARLHAM ATHLETICS: https://goearlham.com/

WABASH ATHLETICS: https://sports.wabash.edu/

FRANKLIN ATHLETICS: https://franklingrizzlies.com/

ROSE-HULMAN ATHLETICS: https://athletics.rose-hulman.edu/

ANDERSON ATHLETICS: https://athletics.anderson.edu/landing/index

TRINE ATHLETICS: https://trinethunder.com/landing/index

BETHEL ATHLETICS: https://bupilots.com/

DEPAUW ATHLETICS: https://depauwtigers.com/

HANOVER ATHLETICS: https://athletics.hanover.edu/

MANCHESTER ATHLETICS: https://muspartans.com/

HUNTINGTON ATHLETICS: https://www.huathletics.com/

OAKLAND CITY ATHLETICS: https://gomightyoaks.com/index.aspx

ST. FRANCIS ATHLETICS: https://www.saintfranciscougars.com/landing/index

IU KOKOMO ATHLETICS: https://iukcougars.com/

IU EAST ATHLETICS: https://www.iueredwolves.com/

IU SOUTH BEND ATHLETICS: https://iusbtitans.com/

PURDUE NORTHWEST ATHLETICS: https://pnwathletics.com/

INDIANA TECH ATHLETICS: https://indianatechwarriors.com/index.aspx

GRACE COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://gclancers.com/

ST. MARY OF THE WOODS ATHLETICS: https://smwcathletics.com/

GOSHEN COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://goleafs.net/

HOLY CROSS ATHLETICS: https://www.hcsaints.com/index.php                                                                                                                                                                            

TAYLOR ATHLETICS: https://www.taylortrojans.com/

VINCENNES ATHLETICS: https://govutrailblazers.com/landing/index

NBA STANDINGS

https://www.foxsports.com/nba/standings

NHL STANDINGS

https://www.foxsports.com/nhl/standings

NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL STANDINGS

https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/standings/

NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL STANDINGS

https://www.ncaa.com/standings/basketball-women/d1

FOOTBALL HISTORY

Football History Headlines

February 22, 1893 – Alabama, Auburn played  each other in what is in essence the 1st Iron Bowl. Only 450 people were at Birmingham’s Lakeview Baseball Park on Feb. 22, 1893, to witness a 32-22 Auburn victory per an NCAA.com story. Little did the handful of football fans on that winter day realize what would develop from the first game of these two eventual SEC power houses. The Iron Bowl is one of the most looked forward to match ups every season by college football fans. We have covered many of the famous plays and players from the series in the Football History Headlines like Bo Jackson, Kenny Stabler, Joe Namath and more! The term Iron Bowl came from the venue the game had been played at for many years, Birmingham, Alabama’s Legion Field. The City of Birmingham is known for its historic role in the steel industry and these two top flight college programs from the state of Alabama treated the throngs at Legion Field to some great memories. The game was predominantly played there from the late 1940’s until 1989 with the tickets being split between the two schools. The series was interrupted for some 4 decades after the 1907 contest but when it resumed it became quite the popular game. The 1907 game had some allegedly questionable dirty plays and clamouring from both sides to bring in outside officiating crews to promote a fair playing field per an article on AngelFire.com. The article points to contract disputes as being the main reason for the series being suspended. “ During the 1907 game, the hotel allowance for 17 men from each team was $2 per man, per day, including lodging and meals. On Jan. 23, 1908, Alabama coach J.W. Pollard received a proposed contract from Auburn football manager Thomas Bragg asking for $3.50 per day for 22 men from each team for two nights for a game to be played at Birmingham’s Fair Grounds. Alabama offered $3 per day for 20 men for two nights. Even then, Auburn and Alabama fans had trouble agreeing on anything and apparently a discrepancy of $34 could not be resolved until 41 years later. “Tigers and the Crimson Tide are so intertwined into the fabric of the citizens of Alabama that the victors gain the bragging rights in the state and there have even been some business dealings reported that were dependent on the game’s outcome!

February 22, 1967 – The NFL goal post changes shape & 6 foot wide border around field becomes standardized in the NFL. It seems odd for us to watch vintage footage of NFL games prior to 1974 and see the goal posts on the goal line rather than on the end lines where they stand today. A 1974 rule revision pushed each of the posts back ten yards deeper mainly for player safety. We are not going to focus on that rule change in this edition though but rather the one that occurred 7 seasons earlier when the “H” style posts were retired from the NFL fields and the more modern “Y” or “sling-shot” edition of the goal post became standard equipment. This elimination of one obstacle on each goal line at the time afforded the players and officials less chance of collision into said posts but it also opened up the running and passing lanes just a tad too. An article on the SI.com website states that in the first dozen years of the NFL’s existence the League simply played by the very popular College rules. The NCAA in 1927 took the posts and set them safely on the endline. In 1933, the NFL finally wrote its own rulebook. And in an effort to increase field goal attempts because the general feeling was that there were too many ties, the NFL moved the uprights back to the goal line. That is where they stayed for some 4 decades. The other rule revision that occurred on February 22, 1967 was the addition of the 6 foot boundary around the entire field. The American Football Fandom page describes the purpose quite well. “Its outer edge designates the closest that non-players can be to the field, and thus enables the game officials to have a running lane to work in.” As a former high school football official I can attest that those clear zones around the playing field are vitally important for the safety of the participants, sideline personnel and game officials.

HOF Birthdays

February 22, 1915 – Springfield, Massachusetts – The great Trinity College Halfback Mickey Kobrosky was born. Learn more about this gridiron College Football Hall of Fame legend by clicking his name.

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1880      George Wright signs a contract with the Boston Red Caps, which he states allows him not to travel with the team on western road trips, participating in games only played in New England and Troy. The arrangement will allow the Hall of Fame shortstop to devote more time to his sporting goods business.

1889      Italy’s King Humbert is among the fans who witness the Chicagos beat the All-Americans, 3-2, outside Rome at the Villa Borghese. Originally billed as the Spalding’s Australian Baseball Tour, the trip expands to include European contests, much to the surprise of the captive players aboard the ship en route to the Land Down Under.

1936      As thousands cheer on both sides of the river, 48-year-old Senator legend Walter Johnson throws a silver dollar to the far side of the Rappahannock, believed to be a 386-foot toss. The Washington, D.C. Sesquicentennial celebration, which includes commemorating the 204th anniversary of George Washington’s birth, stages the event to duplicate the alleged feat the young Virginian accomplished when he threw a silver dollar across the Potomac River.

1938      After college, Texas Christian football All-American Sammy Baugh signs a contract with the Cardinals. ‘Slingin’ Sammy,’ who will experience little playing time as a backup to starting shortstop Marty Marion, will leave the minor leagues to play for in the National Football League, where he will become a Hall of Fame quarterback with the Redskins.

1966      The Mets trade Wayne Graham, Bobby Klaus, and Jimmie Schaffer to the Phillies for first baseman Dick Stuart, who will join the Dodgers after being released by his new team in June. During his brief tenure with the Amazins, Dr. Strangelove played 31 games, hitting .231 while committing six errors.

2005      Jerry Coleman receives the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award. The 80-year-old San Diego play-by-play broadcaster, the MVP of the 1950 World Series, has spent 41 years calling games for the Yankees, Angels, and Padres.

2005      Tom Umberg, a California state assemblyman, introduces legislation requiring pro franchises to use disclaimers if they do not play most home games in the location used in their name. With his ‘Truth in Sports Advertising Act’, the Anaheim Democrat attempts to prevent the local team from changing its name to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Halos’ third moniker since its inception in 1961.

2006      The Dodgers announce the team has extended the contract of 78-year-old Vin Scully through 2008. The Bronx-born Hall of Fame broadcaster, considered by many to be the best announcer in baseball history, is beginning his 57th year in the Dodger organization after starting calling games with Red Barber in 1950 when the team played in Brooklyn.

2008      The Mets, who had not gone to arbitration with a player in 16 years, come out on the short end of the hearing when southpaw Oliver Perez (15-10, 3.56) gets a favorable decision in his case from arbitrators Steven Wolf, Robert Bailey, and Elizabeth Neumeier. The process awards the southpaw $6.5 million for this year rather than the club’s offer of $4,725,000.

2008      After losing his request for $12.5 million, Francisco Rodriguez (2.81, 40 saves) receives a $10 million award, tying Alfonso Soriano (Nationals) and Ryan Howard (Phillies) for the most money ever given in a salary arbitration case. The 26-year-old Angels closer leads the majors in saves during the last three seasons with 132.

2010      Johnny Damon and the Tigers agree to a $8 million, one-year deal. The 36-year-old southpaw-swinging outfielder, who hit .282 with 24 homers for the World Champion Yankees last season, will bat leadoff for Detroit, misses going to the postseason after the team loses a one-game tiebreaker to Minnesota.

2017      “I think it’s a mistake to stick our head in the sand and ignore the fact that our game has changed, and continues to change.” – MLB COMMISSIONER ROB MANFRED, commenting on the new intentional walk rule. To speed up the game, MLB announces the approval of implementing an intentional walk with a signal from the dugout rather than the need to throw four pitches out of the strike zone. Although the new rule will eliminate only about a minute of play, some believe the new approach rids the sport of an old-fashioned way of issuing a deliberate base-on-balls.

2021      Kevin Mather resigns as the president of the Mariners when the February 5 Zoom video of a meeting with a Rotary Club goes viral. With the team since 1996 and named president in 2014, the former club official questioned if Hisashi Iwakuma needed an interpreter, commented on the poor English spoken by top prospect Julio Rodriguez, and shared the organization’s decision to manipulate service time by not calling up prospects.

BASEBALL YEAR IN REVIEW: 1920 (BASEBALL ALMANAC)

Off the field…

After several decades, the Nineteenth Amendment was finally added to the Constitution granting nation-wide suffrage to women. Initiated in 1890 by the merger of the rival women’s rights organizations into the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), the feminist movement’s priority was to push for the ratification of enough state suffrage amendments to force Congress to approve a federal amendment declaring women’s rights. Despite some radical factions that continued to address corollary issues, NAWSA’s new approach focused the group’s energies exclusively on recruiting new members and winning the vote for women.

In the American League…

On January 5th, the New York Yankees officially announced the purchase of Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox. The disgruntled pitcher had been unable to reach a contract agreement and was eventually sold to Colonel Jacob Ruppert for $100,000 (plus a loan collateralized by Fenway Park). Later, his .376 batting average, fifty-four home runs and one-hundred thirty-seven runs batted in would generate an attendance of 1,289,422 fans in his first year and lead to the construction of Yankee Stadium.

The Detroit Tigers lost their first thirteen games tying the Major League mark for consecutive losses (at the start of a season) set by the 1904 Washington Senators.

Tragedy struck the Cleveland Indians organization after twenty-nine year-old shortstop Ray Chapman was beaned in the head on August 16, 1920, by a Carl Mays pitch and died the following day from a fractured skull.

In the National League…

A plan originally developed by Brooklyn Dodgers owner Charles Ebbets many years ago was finally adopted with the annual drafting of players from the Minor Leagues taking place in reverse order of each teams’ final standings.

Several hours before the start of Game 4, Brooklyn Robins standout Rube Marquard (a Cleveland native), was arrested after attempting to sell a World Series ticket to an undercover police officer for $350. Marquard was later found guilty and ordered to pay a fine and court costs totaling $3.80. Adding insult to injury, his hometown opponents went on to win the game 5-1.

On December 15th, the National League revealed a startling statistic by reporting the use of 27,924 baseballs during the season, which represented an increase of 10,248 over 1919.

Around the League…

The Joint Rules Committee voted to ban the use of all foreign substances (saliva, resin, talcum powder, paraffin) as well as any other alterations (shine or emery) to balls by pitchers. As a result, the American League opted to allow two pitchers from each club the option to use a spitball for one more season. The Nationals set no limitations as long as all “practicing” pitchers were identified and any other pitcher who was caught cheating would be suspended for a minimum of ten days.

Lou Gehrig (a junior at New York City’s School of Commerce) was introduced to the nation after hitting a grand slam out of Wrigley Field during a high school championship game against Lane Tech on June 26th.

The 1919 World Series sparked a major controversy amid rumors of a gambling fix. Eight members of the participating Chicago White Sox were all charged with conspiring to throw the Fall Classic against the Cincinnati Reds. After a lengthy investigation and highly publicized trial (lasting until 1921), the “Black Sox” were acquitted despite their own confessions. Throughout the 1920 season, the league offices were constantly denying accusations from the press that professional baseball itself was in on the take and made every effort to assure the fans that the 1919 scandal was an isolated incident.

NUMBERS IN SPORTS

42 – 73 – 13 – 40 – 1

February 22, 1860  – The first organized baseball game was played in San Francisco as the Eagles faced the vaunted the Red Rovers

February 22, 1959 – Lee Petty in his white Number 42 Oldsmobile and Johnny Beauchamp in the Number 73 Thunderbird cross finish line side by side at the inaugural Daytona 500. It was basically a photo finish as Beauchamp declared was unofficial winner on race day. The film was studied hard for almost three days and then the ruling was overturned 3 days later by NASCAR founder Bill France Sr who stated Petty was the victor by an estimated sliver. SO a trick trivia answer is that Beauchamp was the first winner of the Daytona 500.

February 22, 1962 – Philadelphia Warriors center Wilt Chamberlain, Number 13 set an NBA record with 34 free-throw attempts, banging home 19 of them in a Warriors 139-121 win over St. Louis Hawks at Philadelphia Civic Center. And they thought they could stop him from scoring by fouling the big man!

February 22, 1970 – Pete Hamilton, in his Blue Plymouth Superbird, Number 40 wins by just 3 car lengths over David Pearson 12th Daytona 500, after passing him with 9 laps to go

February 22, 1979 – Billy Martin was named the manager of the Oakland A’s, Martin famously wore the Number 1 jersey when the skipper of the Yankees

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY

Feb. 22

1919 — The first dog race track to use an imitation rabbit opens in Emeryville, Calif.

1936 — Figure skater Sonja Henie wins her 10th straight world championship.

1959 — Lee Petty, driving an Oldsmobile, wins the first Daytona 500.

1969 — Barbara Jo Rubin becomes the first female jockey to win a race at an American thoroughbred track. She rides Cohesian to a neck victory over Reely Beeg in the ninth race at Charles Town in West Virginia.

1975 — Madison Square Garden hosts its first women’s college basketball game. In a rematch of the 1973 national championship game, defending national champion Immaculata beats Queens College 65-31 before a crowd of 11,969.

1980 — The U.S. Olympic hockey team stuns the Soviet Union with a 4-3 victory in the medal round of the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. Captain Mike Eruzione scores the winning goal midway through the final period.

1981 — Rookies Peter and Anton Stastny total eight points apiece, sending the Quebec Nordiques past the Washington Capitals 11-7. Peter has four goals and four assists; Aaron has three goals and five assists.

1988 — Hersey Hawkins scores 63 points to lead Bradley over Detroit 122-107. Archie Tullos scores 49 points for the Titans.

1988 — Bonnie Blair wins America’s second gold medal at the Winter Olympics in world-record time, beating Christa Rothenburger of East Germany by .02 seconds in the 500-meter speed skating.

1990 — Lionel Simmons scores 27 points to move into fourth place of the NCAA Division I scoring list at 3,024 and becomes the fifth player to score 3,000 points as the Explorers beat Manhattan 100-60.

1993 — Glenn Anderson becomes the 36th NHL player with 1,000 points, picking up a goal and two assists to help the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Vancouver Canucks 8-1.

1998 — Bjorn Dahlie, the Norwegian cross-country skiing great, extends his Winter Olympics record by picking up his 12th medal, and record eighth gold, in the last race of Nagano — the 50-kilometer.

2006 — Gene Bess becomes the first college basketball coach to win 1,000 games when Three Rivers Community College beat Forest Park 77-60.

2008 — Lindsey Vonn clinches the World Cup downhill title, becoming the first American woman to claim the crown since Picabo Street in 1996. Nadia Styger of Switzerland wins the race at Whistler, British Columbia with Vonn finishing 0.01 behind Styger.

2008 — The Indy Racing League and the Champ Car World Series sign a deal to unify the two American open-wheel circuits, bringing them under the umbrella of the IRL.

2010 — Caltech ends its 310-game conference losing streak in men’s basketball beating Occidental College 46-45 in its season finale.

2013 — The Chicago Blackhawks sets an NHL record for the best start to a season, beating the San Jose Sharks 2-1 to give them at least one point in their first 17 games.

2016 — Tennessee’s 31-year run in the AP’s women’s college basketball rankings ends. The Lady Vols had been ranked for 565 consecutive weeks. The streak started Feb. 17, 1985.

2019 – Robert Kraft, owner of NFL team the New England Patriots, charged with soliciting prostitution, as part of human-trafficking sting operation in Jupiter, Florida.

TV SPORTS THURSDAY

BEACH SOCCER (MEN’S)

6:20 a.m.

FS2 — 2024 FIFA World Cup: Brazil vs. Japan, Quarterfinal, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

7:50 a.m.

FS2 — 2024 FIFA World Cup: Belarus vs. Portugal, Quarterfinal, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

10:20 a.m.

FS2 — 2024 FIFA World Cup: Iran vs. United Arab Emirates, Quarterfinal, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

11:50 a.m.

FS2 — 2024 FIFA World Cup: Italy vs. Tahiti, Quarterfinal, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

COLLEGE BASKETBALL (MEN’S)

7 p.m.

CBSSN — Drexel at Hofstra

ESPN2 — SMU at FAU

ESPNU — Radford at Gardner-Webb

FS1 — Rutgers at Purdue

9 p.m.

CBSSN — Sam Houston St. at New Mexico St.

ESPN2 — Washington at Arizona St.

ESPNU — Troy at Arkansas St.

FS1 — Michigan at Northwestern

10 p.m.

PAC-12N — Oregon St. at California

11 p.m.

CBSSN — Loyola Marymount at Santa Clara

ESPN2 — Oregon at Stanford

ESPNU — UC Santa Barbara at UC Irvine

FS1 — Washington St. at Arizona

COLLEGE BASKETBALL (WOMEN’S)

5 p.m.

ESPNU — Little Rock at SE Missouri

6 p.m.

ACCN — Louisville at Georgia Tech

BTN — Ohio St. at Penn St.

7 p.m.

SECN — Alabama at South Carolina

8 p.m.

ACCN — NC State at North Carolina

BTN — Ohio St. at Minnesota

PEACOCK — Iowa at Indiana

9 p.m.

SECN — Auburn at LSU

9:30 p.m.

ESPN — Utah at UCLA

GOLF

5 a.m.

GOLF — DP World Tour: The Magical Kenya Open, First Round, Muthaiga Golf Club, Nairobi, Kenya

8 a.m.

GOLF — PGA Tour Champions: The Hassan II, First Round, Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Rabat, Morocco

4 p.m.

GOLF — PGA Tour: The Mexico Open At Vidanta, First Round, Vidanta Vallarta, Vallarta, Mexico

10 p.m.

GOLF — LPGA Tour: The Honda LPGA Thailand, Second Round, Siam Country Club – Pattaya Old Course, Chonburi, Thailand

5 a.m. (Friday)

GOLF — DP World Tour: The Magical Kenya Open, Second Round, Muthaiga Golf Club, Nairobi, Kenya

MLB BASEBALL

3 p.m.

ESPN — Spring Training: LA Dodgers vs. San Diego, Peoria, Ariz.

NBA BASKETBALL

7:30 p.m.

TNT — Phoenix at Dallas

10 p.m.

TNT — LA Lakers at Golden State

NHL HOCKEY

7 p.m.

ESPN — Washington at Tampa Bay

SOCCER (MEN’S)

12:40 p.m.

CBSSN — UEFA Europa League: AC Milan at Rennes, 2nd Leg

3 p.m.

CBSSN — UEFA Europa League: Feynoord at AS Roma, 2nd Leg

SWIMMING & DIVING

11 a.m.

ACCN — Atlantic Coast Championship: Day 2 – Finals, Greensboro, N.C.

TENNIS

5 a.m.

TENNIS — Dubai-WTA, Doha-ATP, Rio de Janeiro-ATP, Los Cabos-ATP Quarterfinals

6 a.m. TENNIS — Dubai-WTA, Doha-ATP, Rio de Janeiro-ATP, Los Cabos-ATP Quarterfinals