Pro Hockey News

Sunday, January 31, 2016

MBB: Ospreys Outlast FGCU at Home, 82-76

Playing one of the closest games of the season, the North Florida basketball team outlasted Florida Gulf Coast for an 82-76 victory Saturday night in front of 4,138 fans, the fifth largest crowd in UNF Arena history.

With the victory, UNF (18-6, 7-0) completed the first half of the Atlantic Sun Conference schedule undefeated and extended their overall win streak to a program record tying eight games. Additionally, the Ospreys have also won 18 consecutive home games.

Beau Beech led the way for UNF finishing with 27 points and eight rebounds. Beech hit eight of the teams 13 three-pointers on the night as the Ospreys became the only team in the country with more than 300 treys made. Dallas Moore scored 18 points and handed out eight assists, while Demarcus Daniels chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds.

Marc-Eddy Norelia had 25 points and seven rebounds to pace FGCU (13-10, 4-3), who have now dropped three straight games overall and to the Ospreys.

"I'm really proud of these guys and how they've performed to get to 7-0 in conference play," said head coach Matthew Driscoll. "I thought the guys were focused for 40 minutes tonight and showed some resolve by raising their level to meet the challenge of FGCU. It is fun for me to coach a team like this. They are extremely talented and committed to each other. We just need to keep working to improve and compete every game."

The Eagles held the early momentum by turning several missed shots by the Ospreys into easy transition baskets. FGCU posted a 56-24 advantage in points in the paint for the game including a 28-10 margin during the first period.

FGCU held a five-point lead, 22-17, before the Ospreys slowly battled back and earned several ties and slight lead changes over the closing four minutes of the half. Moore beat the halftime buzzer with a three-pointer from the top of the key sending UNF into the break with a 38-35 lead.

The game stayed close through the first eight minutes of the second half and that's when the Ospreys used a 10-2 run to build a 71-58 lead following a trey by Trent Mackey at the eight minute mark.

Florida Gulf Coast would make a final charge using a 14-3 surge over the next five minutes to trim the UNF margin to a single possession. With the Ospreys leading 76-74, Daniels made free throw and then tipped in a missed shot by Moore with 38 seconds left to play widening the lead to five points. 

Daniels, the reigning Atlantic Sun Defensive Player of the Year and all-time blocked shot leader in UNF program history, then made is presence felt on the defensive end by swatting a late layup attempt by FGCU to help Ospreys hold on for the victory.

North Florida begins the second half of its conference schedule Monday as the Ospreys host in-state foe Stetson in UNF Arena at 7 p.m.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

MBB: Dolphins’ Defense Drives Hatters Mad in Jacksonville Victory

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University’s men’s basketball team took down Stetson 75-60 on Saturday with an impressive defensive performance, limiting the Hatters to 30.3 percent shooting and just 18.5 percent from three.

“Tonight we were pretty good, for the most part,” said Head Coach Tony Jasick. “We had a couple of plays late that could have worked out a bit better, but when we were focused in it went well.”

The Hatters would scrap their way to a 33-33 tie with 18:30 remaining with a 7-0 run, but JU responded with a run of its own, outscoring Stetson 10-3 over the next three minutes, leading 43-36 at the first media. The Dolphins’ defense locked in for the next four minutes, allowing just one bucket in nine attempts by the Hatters. Jacksonville’s lead would stretch to 16 points, 56-40, with two three-pointers by Darien Fernandez at 9:27. Stetson would claw back within 11 with 5:29 remaining, but would never get the lead under double digits.

“Tonight we did a great job of not settling in and just jogging back,” continued Jasick. “We have a tendency of not pushing the ball all the way to the rim, but our guys were committed on both ends of the floor the entire evening.”

Marcel White and J.R. Holder each scored 15 points for the Dolphins, and White also had a double-double. Kori Babineaux had 14 points, six boards, and five assists, Fernandez had 12 points and six rebounds, and Josh Adeyeye had 11 points and seven rebounds. Antwon Clayton had eight points and seven boards.

“We’ve had some guys that had some standout performances, but now we’re getting to the point where we’re playing unselfish, balanced basketball,” concluded Jasick. “Babineaux’s play at FGCU on Wednesday is a great example of that. A lot of leading scorers will say, ‘Yeah you’re feeling good, but I’m gonna get my points too’, and Kori did a great job of putting the team first and letting Adeyeye carry us that night. Now the whole team is doing that as well.”

The Dolphins got off to a slow start, missing its first three baskets, and Stetson led for the first two minutes. But the Dolphins quickly found their range, outscoring Stetson 10-0 over the next three minutes. At the first media stoppage JU led 15-5. The run continued out of the timeout; the Dolphins had a 6-3 run over the next five minutes and led 21-7 with 11:37 left in the period. But the Hatters wouldn’t go down without a fight, outscoring Jacksonville 16-12 for the rest of the half. The halftime score: Jacksonville 33, Stetson 26.

The Dolphins have a rematch against Florida Gulf Coast University on Monday, and then go on the road for a rematch against Stetson in DeLand, Fla. next Saturday.

WBB: Dolphins Defeat Stetson for the First Time in 11 Tries

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The spell has been broken. After 11-straight setbacks, the Jacksonville University women's basketball team finally defeated Stetson, 69-49, at Swisher Gymnasium Saturday.

Backed by double-doubles by Christin Mercer and Sherranda Reddick, the Dolphins shot 53.8 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Hatters, 42-26. The duo each tallied 18 points, and Reddick grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, one more than Mercer.

Jasmyn Brown tied her career-high with 16 points.

MBB: Florida Too Much for No. 9 WVU

Florida came out firing from the start and continued bombing away until the finish of today’s 88-71 victory over ninth-ranked West Virginia in this year’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge at the O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

The Gators (14-7) made 12 three-point field goals and shot 53.1 percent from the floor for the game against a Mountaineer defense that came into today’s game ranked first in the country in steals and turnovers, and second in the country in field goal percentage defense.

Today, the Gators were making them with hands in their faces, wide open, it didn’t matter. And Florida, one of the worst free throw shooting teams in the country, was even making those as well – 24 of 31.

Dorian Finney-Smith hit five of seven from long range, added five of six from the free throw line and finished with a game-high 24 points.

Gator guard Brandone Francis-Ramirez came off the bench to hit all three of his three-point attempts and finished with nine, and guards KeVaughn Allen and Chris Chiozza made two each from behind the arc to finish with 19 and 10 points respectively.

“We didn’t guard and our pressure is close to non-existent anymore,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “We’ve got guys worried about fouling and guys worried about staying in the game longer.”

West Virginia’s only effective stretch of the game came midway through the first half when the Mountaineers went on a 12-0 run to reduce their 16-point deficit to four, but a missed Tarik Phillip three and an Elijah Macon turnover led to a Phillip foul and two Allen free throws. More free throws from Finney-Smith and Devin Robinson followed to get the lead back to double digits, where it remained at halftime.

“We cut it to four, we make penetration and we throw it to Elijah, Nate thinks it’s coming for him so he touches it a little bit and then the ball comes down so Elijah fumbles it out of bounds. Then we take an absolutely God-awful shot and all of a sudden it’s back to eight,” said Huggins. “We can’t do that because our margin for error is just not good enough. We’ve got to make plays when we’ve got opportunities to make plays.”

In the second half, the Gators’ lead swelled to as many as 20 on several different occasions, the latest coming with a minute remaining on Finney-Smith’s last three.

Jaysean Paige and Tarik Phillip scored 15 each coming off the bench, Devin Williams contributed 12 and Nathan Adrian, starting in place of suspended Jonathan Holton, added 10.

Courtesy Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG.
“We didn’t run offense but the times that we did run offense I think we scored every single time at the end,” said Huggins.

West Virginia shot 43.1 percent from the floor, was whistled for 27 fouls and committed 19 turnovers – several of those in live situations resulting in Florida fast-break baskets.

“We continue to turn the ball over,” said Huggins. “I counted five transition opportunities when we had big numbers and turned the ball over before we could get a shot off. That’s 10 points that would have gotten us back into the game and give us a chance.”

Today’s game was supposed to have been the eye of the storm for a West Virginia team that must now go on the road and play 14th-ranked Iowa State on Tuesday night in Ames, followed by games coming up against 17th-ranked Baylor at home on Saturday and then at fourth-ranked Kansas in Lawrence three nights later.

Obviously, the Mountaineers are right in it now.

West Virginia drops to 17-4 overall and is now 0-3 in SEC/Big 12 Challenge games, falling by one last year at home to LSU and dropping an 11-point decision at Missouri two years ago.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

COLLEGE BOWL NEWS: Chavies installed as Orange Bowl Committee's 78th President


Judge Michael B. Chavies was installed as the Orange Bowl Committee's 78th President and Chair. Judge Chavies has been a member of the Orange Bowl Committee since 2000 and succeeds Immediate Past President & Chair Lee Stapleton.

Judge Chavies will oversee the Committee’s continued commitment to the South Florida community, including a full slate of events, highlighted by the 83rd Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 31, 2016. The Orange Bowl invests nearly $1 million in the South Florida community on an annual basis, funding a variety of programs and initiatives, including the Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented by Sports Authority, various scholarship programs and many other youth athletic events.

"It has been my privilege for many years to serve on the Orange Bowl Committee and I am honored that my fellow members have entrusted me to serve in an even greater capacity as president," said Chavies. "I feel fortunate to take part in such a vital organization that is positively shaping our youth and inspires community collaboration and impact. 2016 will be another enriching year for South Florida as we continue to engage in new and meaningful partnerships that promote our mission to youth and sports, as well as initiatives that further drive the direction and future of our local economy.”

A former Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge and accomplished trial lawyer, Judge Chavies is now a partner in Akerman LLP’s litigation practice. He is involved in complex commercial cases in the courtroom for the firm’s larger public companies. He also chairs the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and assists in the firm’s recruitment efforts.

Prior to being appointed to the bench by Governor Lawton Chiles in 1992, he practiced law for 18 years, specializing in civil litigation, appellate law, and criminal defense. A two-time Rutgers University alumnus, Judge Chavies received both his B.A. and J.D. from the University. Michael and his wife Pamela live in Miami.

Donald Slesnick moves into Judge Chavies’ role as President-Elect and Chair-Elect and will serve as the 79th President and Chair during the 2017-2018 year. Sean Pittman will serve as the First Vice-Chair and will become President and Chair in 2018-2019. Eric Poms enters his 11th year as the Chief Executive Officer and marks his 23rd year with the Orange Bowl Committee.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

COLLEGE BASEBALL NOTEBOOK: Flagler's O’Reilly earns preseason all-conference honors

Jacksonville SportsDay

Flagler College senior right-handed pitcher Mike O’Reilly was selected to the Preseason All-Peach Belt Conference Baseball Team which was released this morning by conference officials.

O’Reilly was selected to the NCBWA Preseason All-Southeast Region First-Team last Saturday.

Last year, O’Reilly led the staff with a 2.89 earned run average and posted a 7-3 record with one save and he tossed three complete games. He was selected as the PBC’s Pitcher of the Year and earned first-team all-conference honors as well as being a consensus first-team all-region pick. O’Reilly struck out a staff-best 94 batters in 93.1 innings of work. 

O’Reilly led the Peach Belt in shutouts (2); was second in wins, complete games and innings pitched; third in ERA; fourth in strikeouts; and sixth in games started (13). He was selected as the PBC’s Pitcher of the Week two times last year. 

Flagler will open the 2016 season on the road with a three-game series Feb. 5-6 at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. The two teams will play a single game on Feb. 5 and then play a doubleheader on Feb. 6. Flagler’s home opener will be Feb. 10 against Florida Tech at 6 p.m.

FSU 17th in Preseason Polls: The Florida State received another preseason top 25 ranking entering the 2016 season on Monday when Baseball America ranked the Seminoles 17th. Florida is first and Miami sixth

“We are very proud that Baseball America recognized FSU as the 17th ranked team in the country,” said head coach Mike Martin. “We know that we have a long way to go to reach our goal, but I am anxious to get the season underway.”

Florida State is looking to repeat its 2015 ACC Tournament Championship and at the same time capture its ninth ACC Atlantic Division crown since the 2007 campaign when the team’s first official practice begins on Friday, Jan. 29.

The 2016 season begins on Friday, Feb. 19 when the Seminoles host Rhode Island for the first of a three-game set that is slated to begin at 4 p.m.

Monday, January 25, 2016

JAGUARS: Todd Wash become DC

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced today that defensive line coach/run game coordinator Todd Wash has been promoted to defensive coordinator.

Wash, who has 20 years of coaching experience, including nine seasons in the NFL, was named the Jaguars defensive line coach on January 28, 2013, adding run game coordinator to his title prior to the 2015 campaign. Wash and Head Coach Gus Bradley had previously coached together at Seattle (2011-12), Tampa Bay (2007) and North Dakota State (2002-03).

Also among the coaching changes, Tony Sorrentino was promoted to assistant wide receivers coach, Aaron Whitecotton was promoted to assistant defensive line coach and Daniel Bullocks, a former NFL safety with the Detroit Lions (2006-09) and coach at Northern Iowa (defensive backs, 2012-14) and Eastern Michigan (cornerbacks, 2015), has been hired as the assistant defensive backs coach.

The team also announced that Gus Bradley, who is entering his fourth season as the Jaguars head coach, has signed a one-year contract extension through 2017.

“For an organization that we believe is ready to make its move, extending Gus through the 2017 season provides our club with much-needed stability in every respect,” said General Manager Dave Caldwell. “It solidifies Gus’ good standing with our current players, provides certainty for free agents who may be considering the Jaguars and helps to deliver the continuity throughout our coaching staff that we think is critical for us to turn the corner. It also gives us the best opportunity to win in 2016. I appreciate Shad supporting this approach as we enter a pivotal season with high expectations at every level of the organization.”

 The Jaguars also announced that Mark Ellenz has been named the team’s director of college scouting, effective immediately. Ellenz, who served the last three seasons as the Jaguars’ eastern regional scout after being hired on May 2, 2013, spent 12 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts’ scouting department from 2001-13. 

Prior to joining the Colts, Ellenz was an assistant defensive backs coach at his alma mater, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where he graduated with a master’s degree in sports administration and a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Ellenz was a three-year letterman at strong safety on the school’s football team and spent the 1998-99 seasons as an assistant training camp coordinator with the New Orleans Saints.

“With his work ethic and attention to detail, Mark will do a tremendous job in this new role with the Jaguars,” said General Manager Dave Caldwell. “He is an exceptional talent evaluator and has certainly earned the respect of his peers around the league. During my seven years with him in Indianapolis, I came to truly respect Mark for how organized, detail-oriented and thorough he is in his assessment of players. He is a valuable part of our personnel department and we know he’ll be able to step in immediately and oversee our college scouting.”

Ellenz replaces Kyle O’Brien, who spent the last three seasons as the Jaguars’ director of college scouting before becoming the Detroit Lions’ director of player personnel last week.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

MBB: Dolphins Earn Second Road Win of Season against Spartans

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The men's basketball team of Jacksonville University defeated the Spartans of USC Upstate 77-68 on Saturday afternoon, earning its second road win of the season.

"I thought the first half we lived in the paint with the ball, which was key to
winning this game," said Head Coach Tony Jasick. "Upstate is really effective when teams get casual and don't get into the paint, so penetrating into the paint was a key for us in this game."

Josh Adeyeye hit a huge three out of the halftime locker room, giving the Dolphins a 12 point lead with 19:28 left in the game. Jacksonville briefly struggled from the field, missing its next three shots as the Spartans fought back within seven, 39-32, with 17:27 remaining. 

But two big threes from Marcel White got the Dolphins' lead back over double digits in just over a minute, and the lead would grow to 16 with buckets from Antwon Clayton, J.R. Holder, White and Darien Fernandez.

Holder led the Dolphins in scoring with 21 points on 7-10 shooting, including 2 2 from beyond the arc. White had 17 points and five boards, Kori Babineaux had 16 points and seven assists, and Josh Adeyeye had 14 points and seven boards. Antwon Clayton rounded out the starters with four rebounds, three blocks, two points, and one steal.

"I'll be honest with you," said Jasick. "When we play unselfishlessly and to our strengths, that's what leads to our success. That's what Holder, Babineaux, White, Clayton, and Adeyeye did today."

The Dolphins conclude their road trip on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. tip at Florida Gulf Coast, and then close out January with a home game against Stetson on Saturday.

Friday, January 22, 2016

GATORS INSIDER:Spring Game Set for Friday Night April 8

GAINESVILLE, Fla.- For the first time, the Florida football team will conclude its spring practices with their annual spring game on a Friday night.

The 2016 Orange & Blue Debut, presented by Sunniland, will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 8, in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Admission to the game will be free.

In addition, Florida's baseball game against Mississippi State at McKethan Stadium has been moved up to 5:30 p.m. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

AFL: Jacksonville Sharks to make Four Appearances on CBS Sports Network

JACKSONVILLE – The Arena Football League and the CBS Sports Network have announced the schedule of the 2016 nationally televised games that will air on CBS Sports Network during this upcoming season. CBS Sports will broadcast 17 Arena Football games during the regular season and the 2015 American Conference Champion Jacksonville Sharks will appear in four of them.

The Sharks first 2016 appearance on CBS Sports will take place on Monday, April 11th at the Philadelphia Soul. CBS Sports will broadcast at Sea Best Field June 4th at 7 p.m. as the Sharks take on the Soul again. The Sharks vs. rival Orlando Predators at Sea Best Field Saturday, June 18th will also be nationally televised by CBS Sports. 

The Sharks last CBS Sports broadcast game of the regular season will be on the road against the Arizona Rattlers Saturday, July 9th at 9:30 p.m. The partnership with CBS Sports continues to allow our fans from around the nation the ability to follow the Sharks during the 2016 season and allows those in Jacksonville the to watch the Sharks in Philadelphia and Arizona.

CBS Sports Network spends it’s fourth season as the primary national television partner of the AFL. For more information on CBS Sports Network visit  

The Sharks expect to release more broadcast information as we approach the regular season and await the official schedule from additional broadcast providers.

Monday, January 18, 2016

NASL: Armada FC Releases 2016 Regular Season Schedule

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Armada FC announced its 2016 North American Soccer League regular season schedule for both the Spring and Fall Seasons.

After opening on the road against the NASL’s defending champions, the New York Cosmos, on Sunday, April 10, the Armada will return to Jacksonville for its home opener at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 15 against expansion club Miami FC.

In all, the Armada will play a total of 32 NASL matches – 10 in the Spring and 22 in the Fall. All of Jacksonville’s home matches will be played at Community First Park at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. 

Other home matches in the Spring include a tilt with FC Edmonton at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4 and Saturday home games against expansion club Rayo OKC (7 p.m. on May 7), Indy Eleven (7 p.m. on May 28) and in-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Rowdies (7 p.m. on June 11), to round out the Spring home schedule. Jacksonville will have open dates in the league’s opening weekend on April 2 and on April 30.

Following the midseason break, Jacksonville will turn around and open the Fall Season at Tampa Bay on Saturday, July 2. The Armada will host expansion club Puerto Rico FC at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 9 at Community First Park for the first home match of the fall. 

Following a pair of road clashes with the Cosmos (July 13) and Miami FC (July 16), the Armada will return home for a 7 p.m. matchup with 2015 NASL runner-up Ottawa Fury FC on Saturday, July 23.

Jacksonville’s other Fall home fixtures include the Carolina RailHawks (7 p.m. on Aug. 6), 2015 playoff club and in-state rivals, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (6:30 p.m. on Aug. 17), 2015 playoff club Minnesota United FC (7 p.m. on Aug. 20), Rayo OKC (7 p.m. on Sept. 24), FC Edmonton (6:30 p.m. on Sept. 28), Indy Eleven (7 p.m. on Oct. 8), Miami FC (6:30 p.m. on Oct. 12), New York (7 p.m. on Oct. 15) and Tampa Bay (4 p.m. on Oct. 30). The Armada’s open date in the Fall will be Aug. 27.

Before pushing ahead to the regular season, the Armada will have a three-game preseason slate against Major League Soccer clubs Philadelphia Union (Feb. 6), Orlando City SC (Feb. 13) and New York Red Bulls (Feb. 27) at Community First Park.

The Armada also announced it will be taking on the University of North Florida and Jacksonville University in additional preseason matches. 

The Armada will be traveling across town to Hodges Stadium to take on UNF at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24 and will also play JU at Southern Oak Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

MBB: Dolphins picked up first Atlantic Sun Conference win of the season

Senior Kori Babineaux scored 21 points and Jacksonville University had four players in double figures as the Dolphins picked up their first Atlantic Sun Conference win of the season beating Kennesaw State 83-70 Thursday.

Babinueax, a guard from Folsom, Calif., led a second-half JU charge scoring 13 of his points in the second half as the Dolphins (9-10, 1-1) won their ninth consecutive home game. It was his seventh 20-point game of the season.

Teammates J.R. Holder with 18 points, Josh Adeyeye with 15 and Marcel White with 14 joined Babineaux in double figures and they offset a 25-point night from Kennesaw's Kendrick Ray.

The Dolphins overcame the loss of 3-point specialist redshirt junior Darius Dawkins who was injured in the first half. Coming in to the game, Dawkins led the nation in 3-pointers made with 68. He had a pair before going down in the first half.

"Give our guys credit,'' JU head coach Tony Jasick said. "When you lose a player like Dawkins the team can respond in one of two ways and our guys responded in a big way.''

JU built a 43-37 halftime lead and built the advantage to as many as 16 points through the second half as Babineaux and White took control.

The Dolphins corralled 51 rebounds during the game, 20 on the offensive boards and hit on 11 of 22 3-point attempts.

"It was a real good team effort,'' Jasick said. "Our guys are contributing and competing hard in practice every day and hopefully this will strengthen our depth going forward.''

For KSU (5-13, 1-1) Ray was 5-for-6 on his 3-point attempts and teammates Yonel Brown with 16 points and Migel Pruitt with 12 supported.

The Dolphins raced to an early 12-5 lead and were up 21-13 with 10:33 when Holder made a layup and for the remainder of the half the game became an entertaining 3-point shooting contest.

The Owls connected on four consecutive 3-point attempts to get to within one at 26-25, the Dolphins edged away and KSU tied at 30 on a 3-pointer from junior Kendrick Ray. Ray had 16 of his points in the opening half.

JU's Josh Adeyeye then heated up and hit a trio of 3-pointers for a 39-32 lead with 2:07 to play and the Dolphins ended the half with a 43-37 lead.

JU returns home Saturday to face Lipscomb at 7 p.m. at Swisher Gym.

NASL NOTEBOOK: Armada FC Signs Midfielder Sandoval

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Armada FC announced on Wednesday the signing of attacking midfielder Junior Sandoval.

A 25-year-old from Quimistán, Honduras, Sandoval arrives in Jacksonville after a stint with Colombian Primera A side Jaguares de Córdoba, where he made 14 appearances, scored one goal and became only the third Honduran ever to play in the Colombian first division.

“Junior is an attack-minded player who is very good technically,” said Tony Meola, Armada FC head coach and technical director. “He’s scored goals in this league, and when we had the opportunity to bring him in, we just thought it added another dimension to what we could do.”

Prior to joining Jaguares, Sandoval made a name for himself with the Atlanta Silverbacks on both the first team and reserves. In the Silverbacks’ 2014 campaign, he scored seven goals in 24 appearances, only second on the team that season behind Jaime Chavez.

The Armada will start preseason training on Jan. 18 and host three MLS clubs – the Philadelphia Union (Feb. 6), Orlando City SC (Feb. 13) and New York Red Bulls (Feb. 27) – for friendlies at Community First Park at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

SEC HOOPS: No. 15 Men's Basketball Tops Florida, 71-68

Jalen Jones scored 26 points and Danuel House added 22 to help Texas A&M (14-2, 4-0 SEC) defeat Florida 71-68 for their seventh straight win.

Florida (10-6, 2-2 SEC) never led after halftime.

Dorian Finney-Smith led the visitors with 17 points and Justin Leon had 16. The Gators' KeVaughn Allen, who averages 10.5 points a game, was held scoreless.

The undefeated streak in SEC play is te Aggies best league start since going 4-0 to open Big 12 play in 2006-07. The Aggies are 10-0 on their home court.

The winning streak is the longest since winning 13 straight in 2010-11.

Monday, January 11, 2016

NASL NOTEBOOK: League Suspends Operation of Atlanta Silverbacks

NEW YORK  - The North American Soccer League (NASL) announced Monday that it has suspended its operation of the Atlanta Silverbacks for the 2016 season and possibly beyond.

"The goal all along has been to secure committed local ownership in Atlanta, but despite significant conversations with a number of interested parties, we were unable to identify a group that could lead the Silverbacks in a direction consistent with the rest of our clubs," said NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson. "It's unfortunate, and particularly sad for the Silverbacks' passionate fan base, which has supported the club tremendously throughout the years."

Originally founded in 1998, the Silverbacks joined the NASL for its inaugural season in 2011, and were operated by the league last season while it searched for a long-term local ownership group.

Silverbacks President and General Manager Andy Smith, who had been with the club for four of its five NASL seasons, took a moment Monday to speak on behalf of the organization.

The NASL will kick off its sixth season this April, and the 2016 schedule will feature three new clubs: Miami FC, Puerto Rico FC, and Rayo OKC. 

ARMADA HOSTS SEAT SELECTION For the next two Saturdays, the Jacksonville Armada FC will host a pair of Select-Your-Seat events where fans can come out to Community First Park at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and pick their exact seat location for 2016.

At both events, fans can also meet Armada players and get their favorite club gear signed as well as enjoy English Premier League soccer on the stadium’s videoboard. Those in attendance will also have a chance to win special prizes.

This Saturday, 2015 Armada FC season ticket members will have exclusive park access from 10-11 a.m. and from 11-2 p.m., it will open to the general public. 

On Saturday, Jan. 23, the event will be open to the general public from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Parking for both events will be free in Lot P.

Season tickets start at $10 per match, and payments can be spread out over time with interest-free payment plans. To RSVP for the event, call 1.844.2.ARMADA or visit


Sunday, January 10, 2016

RIVER CITY RUMBLE: First round goes to UNF, 83-68

Jacksonville SportsDay

Jacksonville University dropped their opening Atlantic Sun Conference men's basketball game of the season Saturday night losing the first round of the River City Rumble 83-68 to North Florida.

The Ospreys (12-6, 1-0) were led by senior Demarcus Daniels who matched a career high with 22 points, while also pulling down 10 rebounds. 

Chris Davenport also tallied a double-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds. UNF also got double digit performances from Dallas Moore (13), Nick Malonga (13) and Aaron Bodager (11). 

"We guarded extremely well tonight," said head coach Matthew Driscoll. "I felt like our preparation was the difference in the game. We had some great practices earlier this week and the guys executed our game plan."

The Dolphins (8-9, 0-1) saw a game-high 30 points from Kori Babineaux. Babineaux was 13 of 29 from the floor while collecting seven rebounds. Darius Dawkins had 17 points, hitting 4-9 treys, and Marcel White had 15 points on 6-10 shooting.

The Dolphins shot 39.4 percent from the floor and made four of their 21 three-point attempts.

"We executed our defense and forced UNF to rely on its bench for scoring, which is what we wanted to do," said JU head coach Tony Jasick. "Give credit to UNF. Their role players responded in a big way."

GAME NOTES: UNF led 33-22 at the half....Babineaux's 30 points were one off a career-best, set earlier this year against FSU...JU came out at halftime to put together a 10-0 run....Jacksonville won the battle in the paint, 38-36..UNF senior Trent Mackey collected the 1,000th point of his collegiate career after hitting a three-pointer in the second half.....attendance was 5,807...UNF's Beau Beech fouled out at 7:30 mark of the second half....The Ospreys extended their home win streak to 15 games...UNF has now won eight of the last 10 meetings between.

JU WOMEN WIN: JU got off to a good start in conference play and the River City
Rumble with a 73-39 victory at North Florida. The Dolphins outscored in the paint (40-12), off turnovers (23-11), second chance (15-9), fast break (6-0) and off the bench (30-9). The Dolphins also finished with 15 steals and out rebounded the hosts, 46-26. Christin Mercer led the visitors with 17 points and added seven rebounds. Briona Brown recorded 16 points and nine rebounds while Sherranda Reddick had 12 points with five steals. UNF junior Claire Ioannidis led the team in scoring with 13 points on 5-for-11 including three treys from the field, while dishing out four assists. Taru Madekivi hit two triples for six points

Friday, January 8, 2016

NASL: Armada FC to Take on Three MLS Teams in Preseason Action

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Armada FC announced on Thursday it will battle three Major League Soccer opponents during February preseason action at Community First Park at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

In addition to taking on the previously announced Philadelphia Union at Community First Park on Saturday, Feb. 6, the Armada will also host in-state rival Orlando City SC on Saturday, Feb. 13 and the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, Feb. 27. All three preseason matches will kick off at 6 p.m.

“Part of our thinking (with scheduling three MLS teams in the preseason) was to challenge our guys right outside of the gate,” said Tony Meola, Armada FC head coach and technical director. “These games will obviously be good for us. It will allow us to evaluate our players against strong competition.”

The Armada will open up their preseason and the home MLS tripleheader with the previously announced matchup against the Union at Community First Park on Feb. 6. Jacksonville defeated Philadelphia 3-1 in the club’s first-ever competitive match at EverBank Field last year on Feb. 7 in front of 13,934.

Tickets to all three preseason matchups are available as part of the Armada’s 2016 season ticket package with seats starting at $10 per match. The three home preseason matches are also available as part of the Armada’s new MLS Preseason Hat-Trick Pack starting at $36 per seat. Fans can purchase their tickets by calling 1.844.2.ARMADA or visiting

Thursday, January 7, 2016

NBA: Jacksonville Sent RFP as Orlando Magic Investigates New Development League Franchise

The Orlando Magic announced today that the organization has begun the process of bringing an NBA Development League (D-League) franchise to Central or Northern Florida. The franchise would be a direct one-to-one affiliate of the Orlando Magic, with the hope of beginning play for the 2017-18 season.

The franchise  is sending an RFP to eight locations seeking the best home for the Development League club. 

Locations receiving the initial RFP include: Daytona Beach (Ocean Center); Estero (Germain Arena); Fort Myers (Lee Civic County Center); Jacksonville (Veterans Memorial Arena); Kissimmee (Silver Spurs Arena); Lakeland (Lakeland Center); Orlando/ESPN Wide World of Sports (HP Field House); Orlando/UCF (CFE Arena).

"Our goal is to have our Development League team closer to home, and we are beginning our due diligence to look at options in Central and Northern Florida," said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. "Having our D-League team closer to Orlando would give us the best opportunity to continue to develop our young players, while also extending the Magic brand in our region."

The Orlando Magic and the Erie Bayhawks are in the second year of a three-year single affiliation partnership. While the Magic control the basketball operations, the Bayhawks are responsible for the team's off-the-court business operations.

The NBA Development League, founded in 2001, is the NBA's official minor league.  Featuring 19 teams with direct affiliations to NBA franchises, and three more teams joining for the 2016-17 season, the NBA D-League is a proven developer of talent.

MBB: Flagler rally falls short in 78-75 loss to Francis Marion

ST. AUGUSTINE – Vaughn McCall poured in a game-high 24 points but it wasn’t enough as Flagler College’s second half comeback came up short in a 78-75 loss to Francis Marion University in a Peach Belt Conference men’s basketball game Wednesday night at Flagler Gymnasium.

Francis Marion snapped a five-game losing streak to improve to 8-5 overall and the Patriots earned their first Peach Belt win of the season and is now 1-4. Flaglerfell to 5-8 overall and 1-4 in conference play.

Browning led the Patriots with 22 points and he grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. Mike Davis, Jr., added 20 points and had two blocked shots. Alante Fenner tallied a game-high six assists and had four steals.

Francis Marion forced 14 Flagler turnovers and turned those into 21 points.

Kessler Bell added 11 points and six rebounds for the Saints. Austin Howard chipped

in with 11 points and dished out four assists. Nick Grier finished with 10 points
and six rebounds. Keith Gray contributed six points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.

Flagler made 86.7 percent (13-15) of its free throw attempts. The Saints tallied 21 assists. Flagler heads north on Saturday to face the University of South Carolina Aiken, a team it beat on Monday 72-70. The game will tip at 3:30 p.m.

Monday, January 4, 2016

MONDAY SEC NOTEBOOK: Muschamp Adds Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach to Staff

Kurt Roper

Jacksonville SportsDay

South Carolina head football coach Will Muschamp has announced the hiring of Kurt Roper as the Gamecocks’ co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. 

Roper comes to Carolina after spending the 2015 season with the Cleveland Browns as senior offensive assistant coach. He joined the Browns after spending 2014 as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at the Florida under Muschamp. Roper brings 19 years of experience on the collegiate level, including 13 in the Southeastern Conference, and helped his teams appear in 11 bowl games. 

“I’m excited to have Coach Roper joining the staff,” said Coach Muschamp. “He’s been a play-caller in the SEC, has experience in working with and developing quarterbacks like Eli Manning and former Gamecock Connor Shaw, has an NFL background, and did a great job at Duke under David Cutcliffe. We are excited for what he offers.”

Prior to his year-long stint in Gainesville, Roper spent six years coaching at Duke, first as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach from 2008-13, before spending his final season as assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.


SEC Player of the Week – Texas A&M’s Jalen Jones, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound senior forward from Dallas, Texas, averaged 19.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in wins over Cal Poly and Arkansas. Jones exploded for a career-high 28 points during Saturday’s SEC-opening victory over Arkansas at Reed Arena. The Dallas native converted 9-of-13 shots from the field, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range, while grabbing seven rebounds and notching two steals. Earlier in the week, Jones scored 11 points with six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal against Cal Poly.

SEC Freshman of the Week – LSU’s Ben Simmons, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward from Melbourne, Australia, averaged 28.5 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and 1.5 blocks in games against Wake Forest and Vanderbilt. Simmons had 21 points, 12 rebounds in LSU’s game against Wake Forest. In the conference opener at Vanderbilt he registered the second-highest scoring game of his career with 36 points to go with 14 rebounds and four assists. He made 10-of-15 field goals and 16-of-19 free throws against the Commodores. Simmons drew 25 fouls in the two games and recorded his SEC-best ninth and 10th double-doubles on the season.


Early shooting woes and turnover issues were too much for the University of Florida women's basketball team to overcome on Sunday afternoon, as it dropped a 76-70 decision to No. 8 Mississippi State in the Southeastern Conference opener for both squads played at the O'Connell Center.

The loss snapped the Gator's 12-game winning streak which was the second-longest run in program history.

Despite making seven of its 16 shots during a furious rally in the fourth quarter when UF outscored MSU 25-16, the Gators went just 22 of 68 (32.4 percent) from the field. They also committed a season-high 32 turnovers, making it even more difficult to chip away at Mississippi State's lead, which swelled to 19 points early in the third quarter.

Redshirt senior guard Carlie Needles, who appeared off the bench for the first time all season, scored a season-high 17 points. Junior forward Ronni Williams recorded her fifth double-double of the year, finishing with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Sophomore forward Haley Lorenzen and junior center Tyshara Fleming snagged seven rebounds apiece for the Gators. All seven of Lorenzen's boards came at the offensive end of the floor.

Friday, January 1, 2016

No starters. No Problem. Baylor sets new bowl, program marks in Orlando

North Carolina center Lucas Crowley, who played at Nease.
(Photo by Stephen Dowell)

Jacksonville SportsDay
Entering the Russel Athletic Bowl in Orlando No. 17 Baylor was without its top two quarterbacks, leading rusher, and an All-American receiver.

Baylor QBs Seth Russell (neck) and Jarrett Stidham (broken ankle), receiver Corey Coleman (hernia surgery), and running back Shock Linwood (broken foot) were all absent.

Never the less, the Bears piled up an FBS bowl-record 645 yards rushing to upset 10th-ranked North Carolina, 49-38, before 40,418 at Citrus Bowl Stadium. The win was Baylor's first bowl victory since 2012, snapping a string of two consecutive bowl losses.

Johnny Jefferson rushed for a school-record 299 yards and was named the bowl’s MVP. Jefferson made amends for a fourth quarter fumble in a 23-17 loss to Texas in the regular-season finale.

"The big thing for me was the last game we played, I had a bad mistake," said Jefferson. "And I promised the guys that I was going to come out and give it my all. And today, God blessed me, and those big guys up front blocked amazingly."

With Jefferson reaching 1,000 rushing yards on the season in the game, it gave Baylor a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in the same season for the first time in program history as he joined Linwood.

Baylor's nation-leading offense averages better than 300 yards on the ground and in the air. Third-string QB Chris Johnson making just his third career start for Baylor. Terence Williams rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns for the Bears (10-3)

The Tar Heels struggled to halt Baylor's running attack. Five different players took snaps from center.

The rapid rotation of Jefferson, Devin Chafin and Williams in the backfield kept North Carolina on its heels.  Baylor averaged 7.7 yards per carry.

"We thought they would do basically what they had been doing," said UNC head coach Larry Fedora, "We thought they would throw it around a little bit more. We knew that (Johnson) would run it a little bit more. That's what we were expecting. All they did was come out and just run it down our throat."

North Carolina ignited the scoring, going 69 yards on 13 plays and capping it with QB Marquise William's nine-yard TD pass to Brandon Fritts in the back of the end zone.

Williams’ pass to Fritts was his 22nd scoring pass of the year, which established a new single-season high. The senior had 324 yards of total offense against Baylor and finished the season with 4,020 to break the UNC single-season record he set last year

Williams passed for 243 yards and three TDs, and rushed for two more. Elijah Hood added 118 yards rushing.
RUSSELL ATHLETC BOWL NOTES- 645 yards rushing and 756 total yards are both records for the Bowl…..Devin Chafin, who finished with a career-high 161 yards rushing on a Bears’ bowl-record 27 tries….ending the season with two losses and losing their previous two bowl games, Baylor’s seniors to go out with their 40th win and the program's 50th in the last five years…. Baylor and North Carolina met for the first time…Jefferson hit the 1,000-yard plateau for the season with his 23rd and final carry of the night… Baylor finished with 358 rushing yards in the half, breaking the previous bowl record of 325 rushing yards set by Illinois against Virginia in 1999.

BAYLOR MARKS FALL – The Bears’ 645 rushing yards were the most in program history as well as NCAA bowl history. Baylor’s 756 total yards were the 8th-most in program history and were 2nd-most in Baylor bowl history. Johnny Jefferson and Devin Chafin’s combined 460 rushing yards were most by a duo in NCAA bowl history. In addition Baylor’s first downs (38), rushing attempts (84) and plays (101) first downs set program bowl records.

CAROLINA BLUE - The Tar Heels’ best defensive lineman, Nazair Jones, was out of the game with an injury…North Carolina now 14-18 all-time in bowl games…Marquise Williams accounted for five touchdowns, including three passing scores and two rushing TDs….place-kicker Nick Weiler set a single-season record with 127 points, breaking the previous mark of 126 set in 1970 by tailback Don McCauley. Against Baylor, he made a 32-yard field goal and all five extra points…Carolina scored in 32 of the final 35 quarters of the season, including all four against Baylor.