Category Archives: Basketball

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.

Hill College Rebels v McLennan Community College Highlanders

National Junior College Athletic Association

Division I

Region 5 Conference

Saturday 21st January 2017

Tip Off 16.00

Hill College Rebels 74 McLennan Community College Highlanders 78,  attendance 200

@ Bob Bullock Sports Center

112, Lamar Drive

Hillsboro, TX 76645

$4 Admission

No programme.

Having been here just two weeks ago, when I arrived to find the game had been postponed, I could see no reason for the game not to go ahead this time, especially as the visitors were only coming 34 miles north from Waco, so there would certainly be no transport issues.

McLennan came into this one with a 100% record, having won all 21 games they have played this season, including their opening two conference matches, and continued in the same manor. Isaiah Gurley led the way for the visitors  with 25 points, with Davison Turner getting 18 points for the hosts.

The game was over by 5.45pm so plenty of time to get to my second game of the day, which was just a 4 mile detour on the way home.

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors

National Basketball Association

Friday 20th January 2017

Tip Off 19.00

Houston Rockets 108 Golden State Warriors 125,  attendance 18,055

Rockets Starters ;

Trevor Arizona, 12 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast

Ryan Anderson, 0 pts, 1 reb

Montrezl Harrell, 8 pts, 3 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk

Patrick Beverley, 13 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl

James Harden, 17 pts, 7 reb, 11 ast, 1 stl

Playing Reserves ;

Sam Dekker, Eric Gordon, Clint Capela, Corey Brewer, KJ McDaniels, Tyler Ennis, Bobby Brown

Warriors Starters ;

Kevin Durant, 32 pts, 4 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl, 2 blk

Draymond Green, 15 pts, 8 reb, 7 ast, 1 stl, 3 blk

Zaza Pachulia, 10 pts, 9 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl

Klay Thompson, 16 pts, 1 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl

Stephen Curry, 24 pts, 1 reb, 7 ast, 1 stl

Playing Reserves ;

Andre Iguodala, James Michael McAdoo, Ian Clark, Shaun Livingston, Kevin Looney, Patrick McCaw

@ Toyota Center

1510, Polk Street

Houston, TX 77002

Admission $164.97 + $37.34 fees, Resale, Electronic Ticket via Mobile Phone

Team/Information Sheet, free.

Having stayed overnight in San Antonio, following the Spurs-Nuggets game, it left me plenty of time to drive the 197 miles east to Houston. Having arrived just after 4.30 pm, i was able to park up for $12, less than 10 minutes walk from the arena. It was a good job it wasn’t far to walk as i only just made it before a thunderstorm hit and had to shelter across the road in the Hilton Hotel. By the time the rain stopped there was not much time to look for food, although there is very little in the way of eateries in the vicinity, despite it being pretty near Downtown Houston.

I decided instead to eat in the arena, where although the prices were extortionate, the quality was decent. It also meant i was inside early enough to watch the teams warming up. I’m not sure if this is the case at all NBA games, but the Stewards here were excellent and allowed people to go right behind the baskets and see the warm ups up close, allowing you to remain here for around half an hour before moving everyone out to allow those who had paid for tickets in this section to get to their seats. There were a handful at the Rockets end of the court, but probably around 300 at the Warriors end. Of course, 99% were here to see the reigning two time MVP Stephen Curry do his now legendary warm up. When he had finished, the scrum around the players tunnel had to be seen to be believed, but fair play to him, he signed autographs and had photos taken with those who pushed hard enough to get to the front. I was quite surprised he did this before the game as he could have easily injured his hand. Zaza Pachulia also stopped and signed, but there was not quite the same buzz as he exited. Kevin Durant, meanwhile, walked out and totally ignored everyone, looking straight ahead and pretending he was listening to something in the headphones he was wearing.

I have previously avoided travelling to Houston for sports events as we may end up living here at some stage. However, a chance to see the Golden State Warriors was too good to miss, especially as the Rockets are currently ranked with the third best record in the NBA this season, behind Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs. Despite topping the Eastern Conference, current champions Cleveland Cavaliers would only sit in fourth place if they played in the Western Conference. They will stroll through to the Finals with little opposition, whereas the Western Division is a much tougher route.

Tonights ticket was also the most expensive i have ever bought, and despite being in the top tier, one seat offset from the halfway line, it was worth every penny. It was bought through Flash Seats and was barcoded on my mobile phone, which when scanned gives a paper print out of your ticket as you enter the arena. This worked fine for me, but this obviously isn’t always the case, as there were 6 windows allocated to ‘Flash Seats Rectification’ at the box office !

There would be three of the starters for the West Division team in the upcoming NBA All-Star game on show tonight. Curry and Durant from the Warriors and James Harden of the Rockets, who is also highly tipped to win this seasons MVP award.

Warriors were able to stifle the Rockets attacking options tonight and limited them to just 7-35 3-point attempts, something that other teams have struggled to do. Eric Gordon, who led this season with the most 3-pointers scored, failed to register any of his 7 attempts from beyond the arc. Curry, who had trailed him by two, managed to knock down 5 of his attempts and regain the current season leader spot for the Warriors. This result leaves Warriors with a 37-6 winning record for the season, with Rockets now 33-13.

The atmosphere was really good and the noise levels were off the charts each time the Rockets scored. The Toyota Center was packed to its 18,055 capacity and very few seats were empty. It has been home to the Rockets since it opened in 2003, with Toyota agreeing to pay $100 million for naming rights, which was the fourth largest deal for a sports arena in the United States at the time.

The journey back north to Dallas was interrupted by a massive thunderstorm, which meant taking shelter for a good half hour at an Exxon fuel station as it was impossible to see the road, and minutes after pulling in there were hail stones hammering down as well. There must have been at least 20 cars parked under the canopy waiting for the storm to pass. Apparently, the storm had also affected the plans of the Warriors. They had been due to fly on to Orlando after the game, where they play the Magic on Sunday lunchtime, but they were forced to stay overnight and fly out on Saturday morning instead. I completed my 248 mile drive home just before 2 am.

San Antonio Spurs v Denver Nuggets

National Basketball Association

Thursday 19th January 2017

Tip Off 19.30

San Antonio Spurs 118 Denver Nuggets 104,  attendance 18,418

Spurs Starters ;

Kawhi Leonard, 34 pts, 5 reb, 4 ast, 2 stl, 4 blk

LaMarcus Aldridge, 10 pts, 3 reb, 6 ast, 1 blk

David Lee, 10 pts, 16 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk

Danny Green, 5 pts, 1 reb, 4 ast, 2 stl

Dejounte Murray, 24 pts, 2 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl

Playing Reserves ;

Manu Ginobili, Dewayne Dedmon, Jonathon Simmons, Patty Mills, Davis Bertans

Nuggets Starters ;

Juan Hernangomez, 8 pts, 6 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk

Kenneth Faried, 5 pts, 9 reb, 1 ast

Nikola Jokic, 35 pts, 12 reb, 4 ast, 2 blk

Will Barton, 18 pts, 3 reb, 7 ast, 2 blk

Emmanuel Mudiay, 12 pts, 1 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl

Playing Reserves ;

Jameer Nelson, Jusuf Nurkic, Jamal Murray, Mike Miller

@ AT&T Center

1, AT&T Center Parkway

San Antonio, TX 78219

Admission $65 + $19.10 fees

No programme.

The AT&T Center was opened in October 2002, at a cost of $186 million and was originally known as the SBC Center, taking on its current sponsor name in 2006. Capacity here is 18,418, which according to tonight’s attendance figure was full, although this is nowhere near the case as there were loads of empty seats.

Spurs have reached the Play Offs in 24 out of the last 25 seasons and will easily qualify again this time round. They currently sit second in the Western Conference, behind Golden State Warriors, with a 33-9 win record. The visiting Nuggets sit in the last qualifying position of eighth.

In the end it was pretty comfortable for Spurs, although the Nuggets were never out of it, thanks mainly to a superb 35 points from Jokic. Spurs were once again led brilliantly by Kawhi Leonard, netting 34 points, who was yesterday named as a starter for the upcoming NBA All-Star game. Dejounte Murray weighed in with a season-high 24 points. Spurs are certainly a team who know how to get the job done and are very hard to beat. The only downer for them tonight was when coach Gregg Popovich was sent from the bench after entering the court to berate one of the officials after he disagreed with a decision against them. Certainly a man who shows passion for his team.

The 282 mile journey down from Dallas had taken five hours, including a stop, so i was glad that i was staying over, rather than driving straight back after the game. I had booked into a hotel that was 12-13 minutes walk from the arena, so didn’t have to worry about parking the car, although for once it wouldn’t have been too bad, as across the road from the arena, in the car park of a small office unit, it was only $10 and even on the main car parks it looked to only be $15.

Brookhaven College Bears v Eastfield College Harvesters

National Junior College Athletic Association

Division III

Region 5

Metro Athletic Conference

Wednesday 18th January 2017

Tip Off 19.00

Brookhaven College Bears 92 Eastfield College Harvesters 105,  attendance 68

@ 3939 Valley View Lane

Farmers Branch, TX 75244

No admission or programme.

Brookhaven were always on the back foot in this one and were down 45-56 at halftime. keilyn Nance top scored for them with 24 points. D’Andre Dudley scored 13 points for them from the bench.

Centenary College Gents v University Dallas Crusaders

National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III

Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference

Saturday 14th January 2017

Tip Off 18.00

Centenary College Gents 97 University Dallas Crusaders 81,  attendance 327

@ Centenary Gold Dome

Dixie Drive

Shreveport, LA 71104

No admission

Programme free, 4 pages.

Well, it took just about an hour to get here from Marshall, even allowing time to call in and pick up a sandwich at Subway en route. Even then, the game was 14 minutes late getting underway.

The Centenary Golden Dome is impressive from the outside and easy to see where it gets its name from. It was built in 1970 and renovated in 2011. Seated capacity here is 3,000..

Gents top scorers were James Sapp, 27 points from the bench, and KJ Boyd with 21. For Crusaders, both Prince Giadolor and Michael Sarrat scored 15 points. There were 4 lead changes and three ties, and despite leading by 5 points early on, Dallas rarely looked like they could win it.

East Texas Baptist University Tigers v Belhaven University Blazers

National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III

American Southwest Conference *

Saturday 14th January 2017

Tip Off 15.00

East Texas Baptist University Tigers 102 Belhaven University Blazers 55,  attendance 414

@ Ornelas Gymnasium

1209, North Grove Street

Marshall, TX 75670

$3 Admission

Programme free, 4 pages.

*Despite this being an American Southwest Conference game, the result does not count towards the league tables or end of season play offs, as Belhaven, from Jackson, Mississippi, have made a recent transition into NCAA Division III, and are therefore not yet eligible to qualify for the tournament, but do play all the teams home and away, as if they were.

They were pretty poor and at one stage looked like they might score the lowest points total of any team I have seen in basketball, but in the end easily made the pathetic 39 points that USF Bulls had managed as my current worst score witnessed. Their only player to reach double figure points was Brandon Pressley, with 14. Not surprisingly, Tigers had six players into double figures, the highest being the 14 points by Dylan Augustine.

It made a welcome change to have the home team band present, something you see more at the American Football games, and them playing the national anthem was far better than the usual warbling that is blurted out by so many of the karaoke type singers, who try and put their own mark on the anthem.

The one bright spot about the game being so one sided, thus avoiding the possibility of overtime, meant that I still had plenty of time to head 41 miles east, into Louisiana, for a second game of the day, despite the game here starting eleven minutes late, even though the women’s game beforehand had already finished when I arrived at 2.40 pm.

Texas Legends v Rio Grande Valley Vipers

National Basketball Association – Development League

Friday 13th January 2017

Tip Off 19.30

Texas Legends 121 Rio Grande Valley Vipers 139,  attendance 5,475

@ Dr Pepper Arena

2601, Avenue of the Stars

Frisco, TX 75034

Admission $10 + $7.50 fees, Print at Home Ticket

Programme free, 44 pages.

Well, where do I start with this ? Perhaps try and see a few positives from the evening.

The Dr Pepper Arena was opened in 2003 and underwent renovation in 2009. There are around 6,000 seats, set out in a horseshoe, although the ones at the end of the court offer a dreadful view of the action, although that is not too much of a problem to the average American sports fan, as the actual game is of no interest to them whatsoever. On arrival, you park next to the arena in one of two multi storey car parks, for $10. When entering the building you would never know Basketball even existed. There is an ice rink inside the entrance and a huge club shop…….which is all for the Dallas Stars of the NHL. They also have their offices here. The basketball is up the escalators, on the next level, although no signs tell you that.

The foyer area was teaming with loads of kids, perhaps ten years old and below, who I assumed were there for some kind of event at the ice rink…….how wrong could I be. Unfortunately, they were here for some promotion involving Frisco Independant Schools District and Texas Legends, according to what was printed on the front of the match programme. It got even worse when actually entering the arena itself. Set up at each end of the court were inflatable ‘bouncy castle’ type contraptions and a ‘bucking bronco’. There were also hula hoops and basketballs flying back and forth in a melee of a couple of hundred kids at each end. Still, at least once the game started it would quieten down. Wrong again, as it continued through the entire game, and as is always the case when kids are dragged along to a game, some of them get bored and the running up and down the aisles of the seats becomes the ‘in thing’.

Luckily, I had bought the cheapest available ticket, which was actually on a corner, just set back behind the court. Needless to say, it was possible to move to a better seat, which I did, over in the Club Seats, which were on sale at $28 and were very nicely padded and far better than the plain plastic ones elsewhere. This was also the only place where the match programme was available, as there was a copy hung over the back of each seat. Another problem remained here though, the fact that music was played full blast throughout the game. I know they play it at all NBA games, but that is just occasional bursts at to whether the team are attacking or defending, not non stop for over 2 hours !

I am not too sure just what kind of players actually play in the Development League, as to me it says ‘reserves’ or ‘up and coming’. Surely, if these younger players were any good, they would be playing at a decent level of College Basketball ?

As for Texas Legends……..that conjures up images of the likes of Dirk Nowitzki at Dallas Mavericks, Tim Duncan at San Antonio Spurs, or members of the Houston Rockets that won back to back NBA titles in 1994 and 1995, not a team of players hopeful of perhaps one day getting a game at the highest level. It has to be possibly the worst name ever thought up to brand a team like this.

As for the game itself, I can’t really comment, as it was so hard to try and concentrate amid the constant distractions, that it became nothing more than an endurance test, which I failed to complete, as with 7 minutes left on the clock, and Vipers up by 18 points, I called it a day. Enough is enough.

In case anyone wonders…..Legends are affiliated to Dallas Mavericks, whilst the Vipers are linked to Houston Rockets.

Texas College Steers v Louisiana State University Shreveport Pilots

National Association Intercollegiate Athletics

Red River Athletic Conference

Thursday 12th January 2017

Tip Off 19.30

Texas College Steers 65 Louisiana State University Shreveport Pilots  77,  attendance 300

@ Gus F. Taylor Gymnasium

2404, North Grand Avenue

Tyler, TX 75702

$5 Admission

No programme.

We finally got underway 37 minutes late as the preceding women’s game went in to overtime. After a very slow start, Pilots, the Number 23 ranked team in the NAIA, settled down and at halftime it was 36-38. They were more dominant in the second half and always looked comfortable in hanging on for the win. John Ruffin top scored for the Steers with 16 points, whilst Benjamin Batts led the way for the visitors with 18 points.

The atmosphere here was superb with the crowd right on top of the court. I doubt whether more than fifty or so more people could have actually squeezed in to a packed house, as a decent view was hard to find due to the pillars of the roof blocking the view of the baskets from a lot of areas.