Category Archives: Basketball

Toronto Raptors v Chicago Bulls


National Basketball Association

Eastern Conference

Thursday 19th October 2017

Tip Off 19.30

Toronto Raptors 117 Chicago Bulls 100, attendance 19,800

Raptors Starters ;

Norman Powell : 15pts, 4 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl

Serge Ibaka : 8 pts, 4 reb, 2 blk

Jonas Valanciunas : 23pts, 15 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl

DeMar DeRozan : 11pts, 6 reb, 5 ast, 2 blk, 1 stl

Kyle Lowry : 12pts, 4 Feb, 9 ast, 1 stl

Used Subs ;

CJ Miles, OG Anunoby, Fred Van Vleet, Jakob Poeltl, Delon Wright, Pascal Siakam, Alfonzo McKinnie

Bulls Starters ;

Paul Zipser : 7pts, 5 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl

Lauri Markkanen : 17pts, 8 reb, 1 blk

Robin Lopez : 18pts, 8 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl

Justin Holiday : 15pts, 4 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk

Jerian Grant : 7pts, 2 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl

Used Subs :

Denzel Valentine, Cristiano Felico, Ryan Arcidiacono, David Nwaba, Quincy Pondexter, Kay Felder, Antonio Blakeney

@ Air Canada Centre

40 Bay Street


ON M5J 2X2

CAN $123 + CAN $15.25 fees.

No Programme.

The Air Canada Centre is in the heart of Downtown Toronto, immeadiatly to the south of Union Station, which it is connected to via a pedestrian walkway. It was opened in February 1999 and has a capacity of 19,800 for basketball. It is also home to Toronto Maple Leafs, of the National Hockey League and Toronto Rock of the National Lacrosse League. It was announced in August, that from July 2018, it will be renamed Scotiabank Arena, following a new sponsorship deal of CAD $800 million over 20 years.

Tonight was the season opener and despite being announced as a 19,800 sell out, there were quite a few empty seats, so the actual ‘attendance’ in the building was probably around a thousand less than claimed. The game itself ended up pretty one sided after the Raptors outscored the Bulls 33-14 in the second quarter to lead by 58- 37 at the interval. Despite the Bulls edging the second half by 4 points, the damage was done. CJ Miles scored an impressive 22 points from the bench on his debut for the Raptors

As the Raptors are the only non-American team in the N.B.A. it was the first time I have been to a top level game where the fans are there to watch the match, rather than being there just to eat and drink throughout, getting in and out of their seats every ten minutes, paying little attention to the actual action on the court. The same thing happened when I visited Canada to watch Montreal Impact play a Major League Soccer match at the Olympic Stadium… must be a Canadian thing and the match day experience is so much better for it !

McLennan Community College Highlanders v Ranger College Rangers

National Junior College Athletic Association

Division I

Region 5 Conference

Wednesday 8th February 2017

Tip Off 19.30

McLennan Community College Highlanders 66 Ranger College Rangers 68,  attendance 265

@ The Highlands Gymnasium

1400, College Drive

Waco, TX 76708

$2 Admission

Programme free, 4 pages.

Well, this one was certainly a surprise result, despite it being 1st v 3rd in Region 5 Conference. McLennan came into this with a perfect 24-0 winning record for the season and were ranked No.3 nationally in the most recent poll.

They scored the first point of the game from the free throw line, but then trailed for the next thirteen minutes, but gradually came back into it and held a narrow 33-31 lead at halftime. The lead was increased to 43-31 with 16 minutes left, but Ranger fought back gradually to level it up at 61-61 with 2 minutes 50 seconds left. Another score, quickly followed by a 3 pointer made it 61-66 with 1 minute 22 seconds left. McLennan replied with a 3 pointer of their own with 33 seconds left and levelled it up at 66-66 with 5.2 seconds on the clock and it looked like we would be heading into overtime. Incredibly, Ranger then won it with the winning basket right on the buzzer to leave the home crowd stunned.

This is more than likely my last game I will do as a resident of the U.S.A. and could be my last basketball game for a while, as I don’t think there will be much comparison in standard to that which is played in the U.K.

Another thing that certainly won’t compare when returning to ‘rip off’ Britain is the price of petrol. I filled the car up last night with unleaded fuel at $196.9 a GALLON ! In sterling, that is roughly £1.57, or just 35p per litre !!!

Navarro College Bulldogs v Kilgore College Rangers

National Junior College Athletic Association

Division I

Region 14 Conference

Saturday 4th February 2017

Tip Off 16.00

Navarro College Bulldogs 57 Kilgore College Rangers 51,  attendance 125

@ Wolens Special Events Center

3200, West 7th Avenue

Corsicana, TX 75110

No Admission

Programme free, 14 pages, Media Copy.

Eric McCollum scored a game-high 18 points for the Bulldogs, including six of the last eight inside the final 1 minute 51 seconds to end a five game losing streak. Davon Newton top scored for Rangers with 13 points.

Tyler Junior College Apaches v Navarro College Bulldogs

National Junior College Athletic Association

Division I

Region 14 Conference

Wednesday 1st February 2017

Tip Off 19.30

Tyler Junior College Apaches 84 Navarro College Bulldogs 64,  attendance 600

@ Wagstaff Gymnasium

1720, Apache Pass

Tyler, TX 75701

$3 Admission

Team Sheet, free.

No.10 ranked Tyler were far too strong for the visitors, this win taking them to an 18-2 record for the season. They led 49-29 at halftime and kept that margin for a comfortable win. At one stage during the second half, all five players on court for Tyler had scored double figure points.

It certainly didn’t feel much like February, as I set off east along I-20 in glorious sunshine and 81 degree temperatures. It was to be the last trip for the Camaro, as it is being sold tomorrow, in preparation for our return to the UK. One thing for certain, it will be a lot harder to pick the car out in a crowded car park from now on !

Jarvis Christian College Bulldogs v Paul Quinn College Tigers

National Association Intercollegiate Athletics

Red River Athletic Conference

Saturday 28th January 2017

Tip Off 19.30

Jarvis Christian College Bulldogs 93 Paul Quinn College Tigers 69,  attendance 210

@ E.W. Rand Center

Private Road 7630, off Jarvis Boulevard

Hawkins, TX, 75765

No admission or programme.

The 90 mile drive south from Paris was pretty straightforward, despite it being all single carriageway and the Camaro knocked 10 minutes off the estimated arrival time on the SatNav without breaking sweat. What I thought was 13 minutes to spare turned out to be 28, as once again the late finish of the women’s game caused our game to start late.

As stated at last weeks game involving Paul Quinn College, although they compete in the Red River Athletic Conference, their matches do not count towards the standings for the end of season play offs.

Bulldogs dominated from the start and led 37-26 at halftime. Deon Fisher top scored for them with 20 points. Tigers only had eight players, so tired considerably late in the game as a lack of rotation opportunities cost them dearly. In fact, Jalen Johnson actually played the entire 40 minutes for them, adding eleven points to the 19 from top scoring Blake Ervin. It could have been worse as Bulldogs actually had a lead of 29 at one stage.

Paris Junior College Dragons v Kilgore College Rangers

National Junior College Athletic Association

Division I

Region 14 Conference

Saturday 28th January 2017

Tip Off 16.00

Paris Junior College Dragons 68 Kilgore College Rangers 52,  attendance 225

@ Harold E. Hunt Center

South Collegiate Drive

Paris, TX 75460

$4 Admission

Programme free, 4 pages.

It was 32-31 at halftime, but with Kilgore only managing a pathetic 21 points in the second half, it was comfortable for Paris, with Abrian Edwards, Jordan Embry, Reggie Tharp and Darius Williams all into double figure points for them. Top scorer for Kilgore was Cheikh Diallo with 16 points.

Despite starting 10 minutes late, as, just for a change, the women’s game had overrun, it was all over by 5.40pm, which gave me a little bit of leaway to head south for a second game of the day.

East Central University Tigers v University Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils

National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II

Great American Conference

Thursday 26th January 2017

Tip Off 19.30

East Central University Tigers 100 University Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils 98,  attendance 724

@ Kerr Activities Center

1100, East 14th Street

Ada, OK 74820

$8 Admission

$1 Programme, 8 pages, double issue including Saturday 28th January.

This was 2nd v 1st in the Great American Conference, with the visitors ranked Number 18 nationally.

Tigers were led by Braxton  Reeves who scored 32 points and four assists. The Boll Weevils looked to be well in control, going up 2-13 early on, but Tigers had levelled it up to go in all square at halftime 52-52.

Tigers edged ahead and held the lead until the Boll Weevils tied it up at 91-91 with 3 minutes 45 seconds to play. Tigers ahead again by 96-91, but the lead cut back to 98-96 with a minute to play. Reeves then scored two crucial free throws with 7.8 seconds left, before the visitors scored again with the last shot of the match.

Cedar Valley College Suns v Eastfield College Harvesters

National Junior College Athletic Association

Division III

Region 5

Metro Athletic Conference

Wednesday 25th January 2017

Tip Off 19.00

Cedar Valley College Suns 94 Eastfield College Harvesters 109,  attendance 83

@ 3030, North Dallas Avenue

Lancaster, TX 75134

No admission or programme.

Cedar Valley were no match for Number 4 ranked Eastfield, despite 25 points from Eric Stewart and 23 points from JF Thomas Jr. as well as an impressive 20 rebounds. Eastfield had two players who combined for 60 points, according to the final scoreboard, although I have no idea who they were as no details have been posted by either the NJCAA website or that of Eastfield themselves.

Kilgore College Rangers v Blinn College Buccaneers

National Junior College Athletic Association

Division I

Region 14 Conference

Monday 23rd January 2017

Tip Off 19.00

Kilgore College Rangers 68 Blinn College Buccaneers 70,  attendance 180

@ Masters Gymnasium

1100, Broadway Boulevard

Kilgore, TX 75662

$5 Admission

Programme free, 4 pages.

This one was always going to be close. Both teams had a record for the season of 11-6, with conference games being 2-5. It was 33-33 at halftime and at no time in the game was there a greater margin than 5 points. With 3.2 seconds left It was 68-69 and Blinn were at the free throw line. After successfully getting the first throw a timeout was called. The second throw was then missed, but despite Kilgore getting the rebound, the pass was thrown out of bounds and that was it.

There was certainly an International feel to the Kilgore squad. One from England, one from France and three from Senegal. The latter supplied their undoubted star of the show, 6′ 10″ forward Ndene Gueye. He put in an excellent display and certainly didn’t deserve to end up on the losing side. 30 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks are great figures at any level. James Harrison top scored for the visitors with 16 points.

Paul Quinn College Tigers v Langston University Lions

National Association Intercollegiate Athletics

Red River Athletic Conference

Saturday 21st January 2017

Tip Off 19.30

Paul Quinn College Tigers 71 Langston University Lions 76,  attendance 300

@ 3837, Simpson Stuart Street

Dallas, TX 75241

$5 Admission

Team Sheet free, printed double sided.

It was an easy 59 mile drive from this afternoons match and being such a small detour from my route home made it a perfect double.

Again, a close match and not decided until the last few seconds, with the game tied three times and the lead changed six times. Langston, from Oklahoma, are fourth in the RRAC table, whilst Paul Quinn are not eligible for the postseason play offs, but do play all the fixtures as if they were. Jalen Johnson top scored for PQC with 20 points, the visitors led by Myles Eglin with 16 points.

The first thing to be said about this venue is what a great atmosphere it generates. Singing, chanting and dancing in the aisles was non stop, with a group of around 20-30 being very well versed in their routines. They would certainly give the cheerleaders a run for their money at most venues, although here they added to the entertainment from the official dancers at courtside.