Women’s Basketball: Tennessee ‘just another team’ to Dayton

Published: Friday, March 17, 2017 @ 7:05 PM
Updated: Friday, March 17, 2017 @ 7:05 PM

With their schedule getting tougher each year, the Dayton women’s basketball players have learned to take games against power-five conference teams in stride.

And it’s no different as they enter the NCAA Tournament on Saturday against traditional juggernaut Tennessee.

“We are just going to focus on what we can do. They are just another team,” guard JaVonna Layfield said Friday before practice at the KFC Yum! Center. “We can’t get caught up in all of that.”

The Flyers, 22-9, put that focus to the test today at 4 p.m. Host Louisville and Chattanooga play at 1:30. The winners meet Monday for a chance at the Sweet 16.

“Every team you play is great,” Dayton coach Shauna Green said. “You have to approach things with the right mindset. I think our schedule prepared us.”

Here are five things to watch today:

1. Common opponent

The Flyers and Volunteers each played Texas A&M. The Flyers defeated the Aggies 74-47 in a holiday tournament in Florida on Dec. 20. Tennessee lost to the Aggies 61-59 on Feb. 12.

“Obviously A&M is a completely different style than we are,” Green said. “We know we are going to have to be as sharp as possible to win the basketball game.”

2. Get it and go

Dayton likes to get the rebound and run. The Flyers average 66.1 points while Tennessee averages 73.9, but the Volunteers have allowed teams to shoot 39 percent from the floor.

“It comes down to defense and rebounding,” Green said. “I think we play at a faster pace. We like to get out and run and try to get some easy baskets in transition.”

3. Battle of the boards

The Flyers average 42 rebounds to 41 for their opponents. Post play will be big.

Dayton has seniors Saicha Grant-Allen (6-foot-5) and Andrijana Cvitikovic (6-3) along with freshman Alex Harris (6-1) in the post. Tennessee counters with Mercedes Russell (6-6) and also features Diamond DeShields (6-1), daughter of former major leaguer Delino DeShields, now the manager of the Reds’ Class AAA team in Louisville.

“I would say I enjoy playing against shot blockers,” Russell said. “I know Dayton has a couple of posts that like to block shots and I think that is always a fun, challenging game.”

4. On a roll

Dayton enters having won 19 of its last 22 games, claiming the Atlantic 10 regular-season and conference tournament titles.

Tennessee dropped its opener in the Southeastern Conference tournament 72-64 to Alabama and is 6-4 in its final 10 games heading into the tournament.

5. Depth and pace

Dayton has 10 players that who average 10 or more minutes while Tennessee has six.

“We have to use our strengths,” Green said. “(Rotating players in) is something we have done all year and we like to play with a lot of pace and I think our depth helps us. Hit or miss, we want to have the ball down the floor and a shot up in six seconds or less. That’s who we are.”

SATURDAY’S GAME

NCAA women’s tournament, first round

No. 12 Dayton vs. No. 5 Tennessee, 4 p.m., ESPN2

UMass looking for a new coach again after Kelsey changes mind

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 5:16 PM

UMass looking for a new coach again after Kelsey changes mind

One Atlantic 10 Conference program finds itself looking for a new coach for the second time this week.

Massachusetts announced Tuesday it was hiring Cincinnati native and Xavier grad Pat Kelsey, the head coach at Winthrop. He arrived in Amherst on Wednesday, posed for photos and was all set to be introduced at a press conference Thursday.

At the last minute, Kelsey changed his mind, telling reporters, “It wasn’t the place for him.” According to reports, he will return to Winthrop.

Kelsey expressed his excitement about the UMass job Tuesday on Twitter, writing, “So excited to be a part of the rich tradition of @UMassBasketball. I may fall over when I meet Dr. J. Can't wait to get to Amherst!”

UMass fired coach Derek Kellogg after the season. The hiring of Kelsey, who guided Winthrop to the NCAA tournament this season, was seen as a smart move. Now UMass is back to square one.

Cincinnati Bengals re-sign special teams ace to one-year contract

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 4:14 PM


            Cincinnati Bengals re-sign special teams ace to one-year contract

The Bengals today re-signed running back and special teams ace Cedric Peerman to a one-year contract.

Peerman had become an unrestricted free agent with the start of the new NFL business year.

Mock Draft 2.0: Who will the Bengals select in the first round?

A seven-year NFL veteran, Peerman was limited to six games in 2016 due to a fractured forearm suffered during the preseason.

In 2015 he notched 17 special teams tackle to earn a Pro Bowl selection. The 5-foot-10, 212-pounder has led the Bengals to a top 10 ranking in special teams effectiveness in three of last five seasons.

“It’s big for us to get Cedric back,” special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons said. “He’s demonstrated over time what an effective player he is. He’s a leader of our unit, a core part of what we do.”

Peerman, 30, has played 90 of his 92 career NFL games with the Bengals. He has 72 career special teams tackles and has averaged 5.0 yards on 70 career carries.

Boys Basketball: Trotwood-Madison stunned in state semifinals

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 2:33 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 3:39 PM


            Boys Basketball: Trotwood-Madison stunned in state semifinals

Jayvon Graves hit the winning shot with .7 seconds left as Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary defeated Trotwood-Madison 62-60 in a boys high school basketball Division II state semifinal at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center on Thursday afternoon.

It was a stunning loss for Trotwood, which defeated Akron SVSM 100-61 in mid-January.

The Irish advance to Saturday’s 10:45 a.m. state championship against Wauseon (27-1), which defeated Columbus Eastmoor Academy 42-35 in Thursday’s D-II semi opener.

Trotwood-Madison vs. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary live updates

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 2:18 PM

Trotwood-Madison vs. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary live updates

We’re at the Division II state semifinal between Trotwood-Madison and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary at Value City Arena in Columbus with live updates as the game unfolds. 

Trotwood-Madison got the lead to 60-56 with two minutes to go, but the Fighting Irish came back to tie it. 

The Rams had the ball with 32.9 left, trying to hold for a final shot but Akron SV-SM forced a turnover and a held ball at midcourt and got the ball on the alternating possession. 

The decision to take the air out of the ball proved to be a fatal one for the Rams’ state championship hopes. 

The Fighting Irish ran it down before Jayvon Graves, who led them in scoring all day but had a quiet fourth quarter, drove the baseline and laid the ball in right before the buzzer. 

Final score: Fighting Irish 62, Ram 60. 

Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary snapped Trotwood-Madison’s 14-game winning streak and avenged a 100-61 beatdown administered by the Rams in January. 

LATE FOURTH 

After trailing at the half, Trotwood-Madison holds a 59-56 lead and possession with 2:07 to go. 

It’s been the Torrey Patton show so far as the Rams senior has a game-high 33 points. 

THIRD QUARTER 

The Fighting Irish went right to work to start the third, extending their lead to a game-high eight points with a pair of Jayvon Graves free throws. 

Then it was Torrey Patton again getting the Rams on the board as he scored while being fouled and added the free throw to make it 32-28. 

TMHS drew within three on an Amari Davis hook shot then caused a turnover at midcourt and got a floater from Davis to draw within one. 

Patton gave the Rams a one-point lead with a basket in the lane, but Graves scored back-to-back breakaway dunks to give SVSM a three-point lead again, 36-33.  

The Rams went back in front late in the third and took a 43-42 lead to the fourth quarter despite a last-second shot being waved off because it was ruled it went over the backboard. 

After the teams traded baskets to start the fourth, Patton hit a 3-pointer to give the Rams a 48-44 lead with under six minutes to go. 

HALFTIME 

The Fighting Irish stretched their lead to as many as six five times in the second quarter and took a 30-24 advantage into the locker room.

Torrey Patton kept the Rams in it as TMHS suffered through a cold shooting start. 

The Rams made only 10 of 36 shots in the first half (27.8 percent) 

SVSM wasn’t much better from the field (33.3 percent), but the Fighting Irish made 9 of 10 free throws. 

The Rams only went to the line three times, going 2 for 3. 

Patton had 15 points in the first half to lead all scorers while Jayvon Graves led the Fighting Irish with 12 points, including a pair of dunks late. 

Trotwood wasn’t able to get into its running game much, in part because the Rams weren’t able to press off of made baskets consistently. 

They could probably consider themselves lucky to be down only six points considering the way they shot the ball. 

FIRST QUARTER 

The expected shootout between Trotwood-Madison and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary has featured a bit of a slow start thanks to some tough defense.

While the Rams got out to a 5-0 lead, the SV-SM came back with a 12-3 run to go in front with 2:19 to go in the first quarter.

Jayvon Graves had a big presence early for the Fighting Irish, blocking three shots in the opening minutes to keep the Rams from extending their early lead.

Torrey Patton stopped the bleeding for TMHS with a three from the left wing.

The Fighting Irish led 12-11 after a quarter.