Thursday, March 16, 2017

Morehead State Names Preston Spradlin Head Coach

Morehead State has removed the interim tag from Preston Spradlin and officially named him head coach.

Here's a release from MSU:

MOREHEAD, Ky. - Preston Spradlin, who spent the majority of the 2016-17 season as interim head coach and just concluded his third season with the program, has been named the 14th head men's basketball coach at Morehead State.

"First off, I am so grateful to President Wayne D. Andrews, Brian Hutchinson, and our administration for the opportunity to lead the men's basketball program and to represent Morehead State University and the community of Morehead," said Spradlin. "As a native Kentuckian, and more importantly, as someone that has been a part of the Morehead State family for the past three seasons, I fully understand how special this university is and I am honored to continue serving our student-athletes in all facets and am eager to reignite our passionate fan base."

"Preston emerged through a rigorous process that demonstrated truly how special this job is in the basketball community," said President Wayne D. Andrews. "I have appreciated his good work throughout this season and know his values will help us continue to achieve our goals at a very high level."

"Preston exhibits many fine qualities that I look for when considering head coaching candidates," said Director of Athletics Brian Hutchinson. "His knowledge of our basketball program is unique, which gives him a head start in building towards our short term goals. Most importantly, he's a student-first coach that will undoubtedly lead us to achieving our long term goals in the OVC and nationally. I'm honored to have Preston lead our men's basketball program for years to come. He's earned the job and we need the Eagle Empire to rally behind him and this program."

Spradlin officially took on the interim head coaching position on Dec. 15, 2016, nine games into the season after the Eagles opened with a 2-7 record. He then guided Morehead State to a 12-9 record the rest of the way and a 10-6 mark in OVC play, which ranked second in the league.

At the conclusion of the season, he finished second to Belmont's Rick Byrd in OVC Coach of the Year voting.

Following the 2015-16 season, Spradlin was named to the National Basketball Coaches Association (NABC) 2016 Under Armour 30-Under-30-Team, which recognizes 30 men's basketball coaches across the country that are under the age of 30.

Spradlin came to Morehead State after five seasons with national power Kentucky. He spent two campaigns (2009-11) as a graduate assistant with the Wildcats before three years as the assistant director of operations (2011-14).

Spradlin, a native of Pikeville, Ky., worked with the Dominican Republic National Team during the summers of 2011 and 2012. The squad reached its highest finish and won the bronze medal in the Tournament of the America's Olympic Qualifier in 2011 and came within one game of qualifying for the 2012 Olympics.

Spradlin earned a bachelor's degree in history from Alice Lloyd (Ky.) in 2009 and master's degree in kinesiology and health promotion, with a sports leadership emphasis, from Kentucky in 2011. He was a four-year men's basketball letterwinner for the NAIA Eagles from 2005-09.

Spradlin, a 2005 graduate of Betsy Layne High School (Ky.), is married to the former Misty Tackett. The couple has one son, Bentley, who was born on June 19, 2012.

What they are saying about Coach Spradlin...

John Calipari - Kentucky Head Men's Basketball Coach

"I am so proud of Preston. He was a valuable member of our staff. Being from Eastern Kentucky, I'm sure it is a dream come true for him to get this position and there's no doubt in my mind that he will make the school and their fans proud."

Mitch Barnhart - Kentucky Athletics Director

"In the five years he spent with us at Kentucky, we all saw the kind of coach and the kind of man Morehead State has in Preston Spradlin. His work ethic, mind for the game, and ability to lead young people are truly special. Those qualities were all on display in the incredible work he did stepping in as interim coach this season. We are thrilled for Preston, Misty and Bentley, and look forward to his continued success."

Paul Biancardi - ESPN Men's Basketball National Recruiting Director

"I first met Preston at the University of Kentucky and came away impressed with his communication skills and humble personality. This year I watched several of his games as the interim head coach at Morehead State. His team played with passion and you could see they were connected as a group. He did an outstanding job leading his team in a stressful situation because he always made it about the players first. Morehead State found the right candidate in Preston Spradlin to lead their program in the competitive Ohio Valley Conference."

Seth Greenberg - Former Virginia Tech Head Men's Basketball Coach and ESPN Analyst

"Preston Spradlin is the total package. He can coach, teach, and mentor. He has impeccable character and a work ethic second to none. He is a home run hire."

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Morehead State is Close to Hiring a Coach

I'm told by a good source that Morehead State University is close to hiring a men's basketball coach.

I can confirm a report by Jeff Goodman that the two finalists for the job are interim head coach Preston Spradlin and Pittsburgh assistant coach Jeremy Ballard.

I would expect a decision soon with an announcement coming as soon as Friday.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Kentucky Christian Comes Up Short in NCCAA DII National Title Game

Kentucky Christian came up short in Sunday's NCCAA Division II national championship game.

The Knights were defeated 89-70 by No. 4 Randall University.

Here's a recap from KCU:

Ankeny, IA - The Knights season was a great journey that didn't end the way we had all hoped. After winning two highly contested games at the National Tournament, the Knights fell short in the Championship game to the #4 seed Randall University, 89-70.

The first half was very competitive with the Knights taking an eight point lead followed by a Saints rally leaving the score at the half 36-33 in favor of Randall.

As the game went on, the Knights slowly ran out of gas. They played hard, but the previous games had taken their toll.

Hayden Dunn gave a valiant effort scoring 19 points and bringing down nine rebounds for the Knights. Trenton Walker again left everything on the floor adding 11 points and six rebounds. Nick Miller and Conner Gauze were also in double figures with 10 and 12 points, respectively.

Like the Lady Knights, free throws and offensive rebounds plagued the Knights as they tried to battle back. Randall was led by Xavier Hunter with 22 points and Adam Morales with 21 points and six assists. Both players were named to the All Tournament Team. The Knights Hayden Dunn and Owens Crawford were also among the recipients.

The Knights fought hard and never gave up. They look to return to the National Tournament next season as all the players on their roster will be back. Congratulations to the Knights on a very memorable season!!

Bellarmine University Rolls Into Sweet 16 with Big Win Over Quincy

Bellarmine hammered Quincy 93-64 Sunday to roll into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division II National Tournament.

The Knights will battle Findlay tonight at 7:00 p.m. for a shot at that national quarterfinals.

Here's a recap of Saturday's win from BU:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With a little over five minutes left in the NCAA Midwest Region semifinals, Rusty Troutman and Adam Eberhard exited the court together and took a seat.

The Bellarmine University men's basketball duo helped create a masterpiece Sunday evening at Knights Hall. And they got to soak it all in as the finishing touches were put on it.

The second-ranked Knights got 27 points apiece from Troutman and Eberhard as they steamrolled into the Sweet 16 of the DII NCAA Tournament with a 93-64 lambasting of Quincy.

"It was an incredible, extraordinary performance against a very, very good basketball team," Bellarmine Coach Scott Davenport said. "They're a senior team, five of the seven seniors redshirted. We have as much respect for them as anybody we've had all year, because they're winners. They proved that last night (in a win over Kentucky Wesleyan)."

Freshman forward Ben Weyer added 12 points for top-seeded Bellarmine (30-3), which will meet sixth-seeded Findlay at 7 p.m. (ET) Tuesday in the regional final. Fifth-seeded Quincy finished the season 25-7.

Winners of 16 straight games, Bellarmine shot 54.5 percent and limited Quincy to 41.4 percent. The Knights took exceptional care of the ball, tying a season best with only six turnovers while forcing 16, and posted a plus-four rebounding advantage. Led by junior guard Tyler Jenkins, Bellarmine amassed 24 assists, the same amount of field goals compiled by Quincy.

"The preparation from last night through the walk-through today to our film session left me speechless," Davenport said. "From the assistant coaches to the players to the captains, it was one through 14 locked in. I'm very, very proud of them. I've been at a lot of levels in this game, a lot of tournament competition, that turnaround and that execution from game plan to competition was incredible."

First-team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference selections Troutman and Eberhard were unstoppable. A senior guard, Troutman erupted for 21 points in the first half as he drilled five 3-pointers in leading the Knights to a 48-28 lead. Troutman finished 9 of 16 from the field, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range. He also had eight rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Eberhard scored 14 points in the first half and 13 in the second. The sophomore forward made 11 of his 14 shots and added eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals. Behind Eberhard, Bellarmine had a 44-28 advantage in points in the paint against a Hawks squad that often possesses a dominant interior game.

Troutman spotted Eberhard for a layup on Bellarmine's opening possession and the Knights were off. Eberhard scored 10 points and Troutman nailed his first 3-pointer as Bellarmine blazed out to a 15-2 lead.

Quincy responded and got back within four before trailing 31-24 with 5:42 left in the first half. Bellarmine followed with the decisive run of the game, a 17-2 surge where the sizzling Troutman drained three 3-pointers in a span of a little over two minutes. The result was a commanding 48-28 advantage at the intermission.

Quincy opened the second half on a 5-0 run, but the Hawks' comeback hopes were extinguished when Eberhard scored the first seven points in a 9-0 burst that extended the lead to 24. The advantage never dipped below 19 thereafter.

"They had a blast when they were getting each other shots, and that's what extraordinary teams do," Davenport said.

Evan McGaughey scored 19 points and Marcus Hinton added 14 for Quincy. Bellarmine shot 59.4 percent in the second half against the Hawks.

For more coverage of Bellarmine athletics, follow us on Twitter (@BUKnights), Instagram (BUKnights), Facebook (BUKnights) and the BUKnights mobile app available for iPhone and Android.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Union College Advances to NAIA DII National Championship Game

The Union College Bulldogs (34-3) have knocked off Indiana Wesleyan to advance to the NAIA Division II national championship game.

The Bulldogs have now won 32 consecutive games.

They will play No. 2 Cornerstone (Mich.) in the championship game tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Here's a recap of today's win over No. 4 Indiana Wesleyan:

POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. – One. More. Game.

Top-seeded Union College pieced together one of its best overall games of the season in registering a 92-80 victory on Monday over No. 4-ranked Indiana Wesleyan to advance to the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Championship title game.

The Bulldogs now have won 32 games in a row, upping their overall record to 34-3. Union will face No. 2 Cornerstone (Mich.) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT.

Mike Martin (SR/Flint, Mich.) scored the game's first points, but Indiana Wesleyan reeled off the next seven to take a 7-2 lead with 18:14 to go in the half. In what has become commonplace for the Bulldogs, the team responded with a 17-4 run to seize a 19-11 advantage. Gerrard Newby (SR/Lexington, Ky. ) buried the first of his three 3-pointers of the night to give Union the eight-point lead at the 13:22 mark.

From that point on, Union never trailed again.

"Obviously, Indiana Wesleyan is a superb team," said head coach Kevin Burton. "I thought we were really aggressive … and that our mentality was better than any technicality of the ballgame as far as execution and that sort of thing."

A big key for the Bulldogs was their work on the glass. Union outrebounded Indiana Wesleyan 45-33 and hauled in 17 offensive boards. The Bulldogs tallied 13 second-chance points, while only allowing the Wildcats (29-8) to net seven.

"Our mentality helped us rebound the basketball," noted Burton.

Once Union built the eight-point lead, the margin never dipped below six as it took a 46-35 lead into the half.

The Bulldogs came out of the locker room on fire, quickly stretching the lead to 52-35 thanks to a Martin 3-pointer and an old-fashioned, three-point play from Newby.

Still, Indiana Wesleyan did not wilt until the pressure. The Wildcats fought back with an 11-2 run, cutting the deficit to 54-46 following a Jacob Johnson basket with 14:27 to play.

Once again, Union found the answer it needed in an 11-0, which was capped by three consecutive 3-pointers – two from Sam Natt (SR/Los Angeles, Calif.) and one from Newby. The rally pushed the lead to 70-50 with 11:10 remaining.

"When we had a big lead and they, of course, made their run," said Burton. "I really liked how aggressive we were offensively, looking for open looks. Their full-court defense kind of spaced out the defense for us to get some open looks."

Indiana Wesleyan countered with a 10-0 run of its own to make it 70-60 with 7:21 to play. Union pushed the lead back up to 17, yet Indiana Wesleyan would not go away. The Wildcats rallied yet again and made it an 83-74 contest after a pair of Joel Okafor free throws with 1:46 to play.

The Bulldogs, though, put the clamps down and closed out the game by hitting 9-of-12 free throws down the stretch to lock up the 92-80 victory. Martin scored a season-high 22 points to lead the Bulldogs. He scored 20 or more points one other time this season, netting 20 against Montreat (N.C.) on Jan. 28.

"He's a high-energy guy," Burton said of Martin. "Defensively, he's been really good for us. In the last couple games, he's been very, very effective for us defensively. … He's a good finisher around the rim. He's a good scorer. We've not needed him to score for us, but he certainly has that ability."

Sherman followed with 20 points; the third time in the national tournament he has scored 20 or more in a game. Paul Stone (SR/Danville, Va.) added 17 points, and Newby posted his 17th double-double of the year with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

This marks the first time any Union team has ever advanced to a NAIA championship game in any sport. The men's basketball team joins the women's soccer program (2002) as the only ones to make the Fab Four.

Allen Edwards and Wyoming to Compete in 2017 CBI Tournament

Former University of Kentucky player Allen Edwards and Wyoming will compete in the 2017 CBI Tournament.

Wyoming will play Eastern Washington on Wednesday night at 9:00 p.m.

The field was released late last night by the Gazelle Group.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Schedule Released for 2017 CIT Tournament

The schedule for the 2017 Postseason Tournament has been released.

UT-Martin will represent the Ohio Valley Conference in the tournament.

Samford and head coach Scott Padgett will also participate in the CIT.

Here's a look:

All Times EST

Coach John McLendon Classic
Norfolk State (17-16) @ Liberty (19-13) 7:05 pm

Hugh Durham Classic
Saint Francis (16-16) @ Jacksonville (17-15) 7:00 pm

Houston Baptist (17-13) @ Campbell (17-17) 7:00 pm
Canisius (18-15) @ Samford (19-15) 8:00 pm

Lou Henson Classic
Ball State (21-12) @ Fort Wayne (19-12) 7:00 pm

Fairfield (16-14) @ UMBC (18-12) 7:00 pm
Georgia State (20-12) @ Texas A&M Corpus Christi (20-11) 8:00 pm
Stephen F. Austin (18-14) @ Idaho (18-13) 11:00 pm

Saint Peter's (19-13) @ Albany (21-13) 7:00 pm
Furman (21-11) @ USC Upstate (17-15) 7:00 pm
UNC Asheville (23-9) @ UT Martin (21-12) 8:00 pm
Lamar (19-14) @ Texas State (20-13) TBA

Riley Wallace Classic
Weber State (19-13) @ Cal State Fullerton (17-14) 10:00 pm
March 17-20

MARCH 23-26

Wednesday, March 29 on CBS Sports Network
7:00 & 9:00 pm
Friday, March 31 on CBS Sports Network
9:00 pm
NOTE: All Games are streamed live through Facebook Live

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