Sunday, April 05, 2015


Happy Easter
From The Bedlam on Baltic Avenue.

Stanford: 2015 National Invitation Tournament Champions

NEW YORK -- With the season -- and his record-breaking career -- winding down, Chasson Randle found a way to deliver one last time and help bring another NIT title home to Stanford.
Randle put Stanford ahead with two free throws after drawing a controversial shooting foul with 3.4 seconds remaining in overtime, and the Cardinal held on for a 66-64 win over Miami on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

It was the third NIT title for Stanford and second since 2012.

"Our guys just refused to lose," coach Johnny Dawkins said. "I think that's what you saw down the stretch of the game, the last few minutes and in overtime, just a will to win."

Randle said, "It's just a great feeling, just to be able to end your season and your career with a win."

With Stanford trailing 64-63 in the final seconds of overtime, Randle was heavily defended and seemingly out of answers when he took an off-balance shot and appeared to lean into Miami's Davon Reed. Randle was awarded the free throws, and he calmly buried both to give the Cardinal its second NIT championship in four years.

"We were going to put the ball in Chasson's hands, and he was going to decide it for us," Dawkins said.

Randle, the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament after he finished with 25 points in the championship game, was difficult to pin down even after the dramatic contest ended.

Asked if he initiated contact, he replied, "The ref called it. I can't do anything about it."
After a Miami turnover, Anthony Brown was fouled and made one free throw to make it 66-64, but the Hurricanes had one more chance. But Sheldon McClellan's off-balance jumper from the right corner fell short and Stanford (24-13) began to celebrate.
Dawkins, in his seventh year, acknowledged that the program's aspirations extend well behind the NIT, college basketball's consolation prize. "We are a program that wants to compete in the NCAA and wants to compete for championships," he said. "Unfortunately, that has not happened as much as we would like.
"But our last four years, we've won two NIT championships and we have gone to the Sweet 16. I don't think that's horrible. I think we have shown we can be competitive in either tournament."
Randle, who ended his career with a Stanford-record 2,375 points, scored Stanford's final four points in regulation, which ended at 59-59. With fans for both teams rising to their feet, he twice slashed down the right side to bank home scores.
The Hurricanes forced overtime on McClellan's driving score with 16.8 seconds to play.

Evansville: 2015 College Tournament Champions

EVANSVILLE - University of Evansville basketball fans were excited by Thursday night’s championship of the Postseason Tournament and hopeful it signals even greater achievements next season.
A juiced-up crowd of 4,549 fed energy to the Purple Aces, who defeated Northern Arizona 71-65 for the CIT crown. Fans in purple, orange and white filled much of the Ford Center’s available lower bowl seating (the area behind one basket was taken by a stage set up for an Easter church service) and created a big-game atmosphere.
Fans stood and roared in the close contest’s waning minutes. The size of Thursday’s crowd wasn’t much bigger than Evansville’s season average, but its enthusiasm was sky-high.
“I wish every crowd next year was like this one. This is how it should be,” said Lance Wilkerson, marketing director for UE athletics and the men’s basketball team’s radio voice. “You know, the fans are the ones generating the noise, not the athletics department trying to force them to generate the noise. That’s how the great fan bases are, it comes from within.”
The Aces reeled off five wins in the CIT — three at the Ford Center and two on the road. Although the CIT wasn’t the NCAA Tournament or NIT fans wished for, Evansville’s CIT run delighted long-time rooters such as Steve Kweskin, who noted the Aces hadn’t won a postseason tournament since the Division II championship in 1971.
Kweskin said the CIT title “would be good for Marty,” referring to Aces’ eight-year coach Marty Simmons. “All the people who are against Marty, this might change their minds.”
Numerous fans said they hope positive vibes from Evansville’s CIT title carry over to next season, when the Aces’ nonconference schedule includes a trip the Wooden Classic in Anaheim, California. Teams such as Arizona, Michigan State, Boise State and Boston College are signed on to participate.
“It’s good experience for next year, and it’s good for recruiting down the line,” Aces fan Robert Elpers, of Haubstadt, said of the team’s CIT championship run. “Most teams who play in these tournaments (such as the CIT), the following year, they are better teams.”
Last year’s CIT champion, Murray State, finished 29-6 and won two games in the NIT.
Mark Miller of Evansville was a UE student during the program’s transition to Division I in the 1970s, and he’s been a fan ever since. As he awaited tipoff Thursday night in the Ford Center, he said a CIT title would mean only good things for the Aces.
“It would be a great springboard for next season, to get some enthusiasm for the future,” Miller said.
Wilkerson noted this year’s Aces struggled down the stretch, losing seven of their last 10 games before accepting the CIT invitation and dashing to the title.
“A lot of teams would have packed it in,” Wilkerson said. “I think our guys wanted to play. ... For these guys to experience success and cut down the nets, they can draw from this when we go to L.A. for Wooden Classic. And of course the most important thing is to play well in the Missouri Valley (Conference).”

Loyola-Chicago: 2015 College Basketball Invitational Champions

MONROE, La. -- Devon Turk had 14 points, and Loyola of Chicago rallied to win the College Basketball Invitational title, 63-62 over Louisiana-Monroe on Wednesday night.
Loyola was down four points with five minutes left when Turk buried a 3-pointer from the wing to make it a one-point game.
Milton Doyle then hit a jumper, and Jeff White's steal led to two Doyle free throws to give the Ramblers a 61-58 lead with about three minutes left.
With three seconds left and Loyola up 63-60, Louisiana-Monroe's Jamaal Samuel missed the first foul shot of a one-and-one, and his teammates grabbed the board to cut the lead to one. But the Warhawks ran out of time.
Doyle finished with 13 points.
The Ramblers' Earl Peterson, who averaged 14 points per game in the championship series, was named the tournament's most valuable player, according to Loyola's website. He had 12 in this game, hitting five of seven shots from the field.
Majok Deng had 17 points for Louisiana-Monroe.
The dramatic end of the game was fitting as the teams tussled and kept the score close.
Early on, a three-point play from Majok Deng gave ULM an 11-7 lead, but five straight Loyola points gave the Ramblers a 14-12 lead. The Warhawks opened up a five-point lead before Loyola rallied again. Turk answered with a three, the 205th of his career to break the school record, according to the school's website.
The game stayed competitive throughout. Every time Loyola seemed to be taking control, ULM answered until the Ramblers' late run sealed it.
For the second straight game, Loyola shot better than 50 percent from the field. It hit 54.5 percent against one of the nation's top-10 field goal percentage defenses.