No. 21 Gaels struggle in 65-51 loss to No. 16 Murray State


No. 21 Gaels struggle in 65-51 loss to No. 16 Murray State

MURRAY, Ky. (AP) Isaiah Canaan stood with a line of 50 autograph seekers and a net around his neck more than an hour after the game.This was more than a celebration for the junior point guard. This was a coronation for one of the best mid-major players in the country."This will be my third one. It kind of feels kind of good to cut these down," Canaan said, tugging at the net. "They're kind of hard to come by in college basketball."Not for Murray State.Canaan scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half and senior Donte Poole added 11 as No. 16 Murray State beat No. 21 Saint Mary's 65-51 on Saturday night for its most convincing win to date over a nationally recognized opponent.Then the Racers (26-1) celebrated the Ohio Valley Conference regular-season title that they had already clinched - their third straight - with a video message from former coach Billy Kennedy as well as a highlight package for the seniors.They can also rest easier with their first victory over a quality opponent since beating Memphis in early December before hosting this Bracket Buster matchup with the Gaels."If we can finish the season strong, it gives us a chance to get a good seed," Racers rookie coach Steve Prohm said. "But, regardless of where you're seeded - five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 - you're going to play somebody good."Maybe someone like St. Mary's, even though this game was never very close in front of 8,825, the largest crowd ever at the CFSB Center.Murray State jumped out to a 10-2 lead and never trailed, building a double-digit advantage early in the second half and cruising from there."This is definitely a confidence-builder for sure. It's a ranked team, so it lets you know that you are as good as the rankings say you are," senior Jewuan Long said. "It gives us confidence to know that we can play with other teams in bigger conferences, so we definitely have more confidence."Matthew Dellavedova scored 17 points for Saint Mary's (23-5), which has lost three of four. Now the Gaels will face a 2,300-mile trek home and questions about their NCAA tournament resume."I just told our team this: We have a lot of things we've got to do better, but we need to get everybody on the same page defensively, and we're not there,'" Gaels coach Randy Bennett said. "Our defensive numbers aren't good, our rebounding has not been good. We've had some slippage."Murray State opened the second half with consecutive baskets to take its first double-digit lead as Canaan and the Racers turned up the pressure while shooting 58.1 percent from the field.In one sequence, Canaan curled off a screen and took a pass from Poole to hit another long 3-pointer, and Brandon Garrett blocked Brad Waldow's attempt that led to a 3-on-1 break completed by Canaan after passes from Poole and Zay Jackson.After Dellavedova answered with a jumper, Canaan hit another shot from beyond the arc that made it 52-35 with 11:28 left as the Racers extended the lead to as many as 19 late.A banged-up Saint Mary's squad needed two flights and a two-hour bus ride just to reach Murray on Friday. It'll seem like an even longer trip home for the California school with a bus ride back to Nashville after the game and a stop Sunday in Houston before landing in Oakland following this effort."We had some adversity to get through with injuries, but us traveling and us coming out here, no bearing," Bennett said. "Where this travel could affect us is here on out. It's a tough four-dayer just to plug in the middle of your conference race. I'm more concerned with that part of it."Saint Mary's was without defensive stopper Stephen Holt, who hurt his right knee in Wednesday night's 75-60 loss to Loyola Marymount. Dellavedova rolled his right ankle in the same game, but played without a brace and appeared at times to be the only player willing to try to create for the Gaels after Rob Jones got into foul trouble early.At times, the atmosphere resembled an oversized high school gymnasium at the CFSB Center with three seniors being honored and a nationally televised broadcast.Murray State officials warned students earlier in the week not to try to scalp their tickets, and instead, they turned out in force to see a team that started the season with 23 straight wins and rose to as high as ninth in the poll.Fans began cramming into every nook of the arena that opened in 1998 nearly 90 minutes before tip, with students wrapping around two sides of the building and fans standing up along the very top rows across the steps.The Racers made it hard to sit early, jumping out to a 10-2 lead capped by 3-pointers from Canaan and Poole."I was feeling good early. I wanted to come out and get some shots," Poole said. "I got a layup first that boosted my confidence and then I was able to do well in the transition."The Gaels never got closer than 20-17 when Dellavedova hit a fadeaway jumper. Jones picked up his third foul with 4:38 left in the first half when he fouled Canaan, who hit a 24-footer.Canaan couldn't complete the four-point play, but Long added a jumper, and Latreze Mushatt and Ed Daniel each hit two free throws to give Murray State a 34-25 halftime lead. Daniel finished with eight points and eight rebounds.The Racers fell short of becoming the first team to reach the NCAA tournament with a perfect record since UNLV in 1991 when they lost Feb. 9 to Tennessee State at home, but rebounded to capture their third straight OVC crown with wins against Austin Peay and Southeast Missouri.They've had NCAA tournament success before when Canaan and his crew beat Vanderbilt in the first round in 2010. Now they can resume the task of finishing up the OVC slate after this dominating performance, which should ease any doubt about their NCAA tournament pedigree as at least an at-large team."I'm sure a lot of people tuned in to the game. There were still people around the country that wanted to find out who we were," Canaan said. "Hopefully, we showed them today. To get a great win against another great team, it can't get no better."

The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof


The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof

Your education dollars are always at work, so it is with pride and bewilderment that we report that the University of California’s incoming class (2021, for those few who can get out in four years) marched to Memorial Stadium and formed the world’s largest human letter.
It was . . . wait for it . . . a “C.” A 7,196-person-strong “C.”
But the school, as it occasionally does, missed a golden opportunity to seize a golden opportunity. All they needed to do was have a quick whip-round, get $55,586.44 from each and every one of the captives . . . er, students, and they could have wiped out their entire athletics deficit in one night.
You see, while forming gigantic letters is always fun (or as the kids used to say when double negatives didn’t mean voting, never not fun), Cal is staring at quite possibly the bleakest future a major athletic university ever has. The athletic department, whose chief officer, Mike Williams, has just announced his intention to quit, is over $400 million in debt between construction costs, ambition, shrinking allegiance and the absence of a Phil Knight-level sugar daddy to buy the pain away.
And before you blame Williams, he inherited this indigestible planetoid from his predecessor, Sandy Barbour, who grew it from her predecessor, Steve Gladstone, and hastened it from . . . well, you get the drift. 
Cal’s been blowing through money it hasn’t been taking in for years upon years, didn’t realize the deficit-cutting benefits of the Pac-12 Network (because they largely don’t exist), and the day of reckoning looms closer and closer, especially now that new chancellor Carol Christ (no apparent relation) described the deficit as “corrosive” and has insisted that the athletic department have a balanced budget by 2020.
In short, the school may only be able to afford a lower-case “C” before too long. Maybe in comic sans. 

NCAA adopts sexual violence policy: 'It's not banning violent athletes...'


NCAA adopts sexual violence policy: 'It's not banning violent athletes...'

NCAA member schools will be required to provide yearly sexual violence education for all college athletes, coaches and athletics administrators under a policy announced Thursday by the organization's board of governors.

Campus leaders such as athletic directors, school presidents and Title IX coordinators will be required to attest that athletes, coaches and administrators have been educated on sexual violence.

The policy was adopted from a recommendation made by the Commission to Combat Campus Sexual Violence, which was created by the board last year in response to several high-profile cases involving sexual assaults and athletic departments, including the scandal at Baylor.

The policy also requires campus leaders to declare that athletic departments are knowledgeable and compliant with school policies on sexual violence prevention, adjudication and resolution.

Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor and activist who speaks to college teams across the country about sexual violence , is a member of the commission. She has called for the NCAA to ban athletes with a history of sexual violence. While this policy falls far short of that, Tracy said she was encouraged.

"It's not banning violent athletes, but it's a positive policy that's going to have a big impact on our campuses," Tracy said in a phone interview from Amherst, Massachusetts, where she was spending the day speaking to the UMass football and basketball teams.

The announcement from the NCAA came just one day after Youngstown State decided a football player who served jail time for a rape committed while he was in high school will not be allowed to play in games this season. Ma'Lik Richmond , who served about 10 months in a juvenile lockup after being convicted with another Steubenville High School football player of raping a 16-year-old girl in 2012, walked on at Youngstown State earlier this year. He will be allowed to practice and participate in other team activities.

Tracy has promoted a petition urging Youngstown State to not allow Richmond to play.

"I think that playing sports and playing NCAA sports is a privilege. It is not a right," Tracy said. "If we're going to be placing student-athletes in that position of power and influence - to drive narrative, to drive conversation, to affect culture - then behavior matters. Right now, I feel like Youngstown is sending the message that violence against women, rape all of these things are OK. It doesn't affect your ability to play sports."

A move toward an NCAA policy on sexual violence was given momentum by numerous issues involving athletes and athletic departments in recent years. Perhaps the most high-profile example is Baylor, where an investigation found that allegations of sexual assault, some against football players, were mishandled by school leaders.

Two years ago, the Southeastern Conference barred schools from accepting transfers who had been dismissed from another school for serious misconduct, defined as sexual assault, domestic violence or other forms of sexual violence.

Indiana announced in April that it would no longer accept any prospective student-athlete who has been convicted of or pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony involving sexual violence. In July, the athletic director at the University of Illinois said the school was working on a similar policy.

Tracy said the NCAA has not ruled out implementing a policy like Indiana's.

"The fact that's still on the table, we're still having discussions about that, we're still going to keep working moving forward, gives me a lot of hope," she said.

In a statement, the NCAA said: "Any discussion of individual accountability beyond the criminal justice system must address the complexities and nuances of different federal and state laws so that it can be consistently applied across the NCAA."

The new NCAA policy defers to schools to set their own sexual violence education practices, though in 2014 the association set expectations for its members with a resolution and made recommendations in a handbook on sexual assault.

"Schools do different things," Tracy said. "The NCAA is now saying this isn't just an option. This is now a policy and a requirement. And not only that but you need to attest to us every year what it is that you're doing ... Some schools are doing a great job. Some schools are not doing a great job."