Pat Skerry

Towson extends head coach Pat Skerry’s contract through 2019

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In 2011 Pat Skerry took on one of the nation’s toughest rebuilding projects when he accepted Towson’s offer to become the men’s basketball program’s head coach. And that first season revealed just how difficult the job would be, as the Tigers managed to win just one game (1-31).

Things would get even tougher as it was revealed that the program would be banned from postseason play in 2012-13 due to low APR numbers. But despite the additional hurdle of having their season come to an end prematurely the Tigers increased their win total by 17 games, going 18-13 and finishing one game behind Northeastern in the CAA.

With the dramatic improvement on the court and success on the recruiting trail putting Towson in position to be a consistent contender in the transformed CAA, Skerry’s been rewarded with a contract extension through the 2018-19 season.

“Watching Coach Skerry’s historic turnaround with the Towson men’s basketball program both academically and competitively in the last two years, we are excited to announce this extension,” interim Director of Athletics Tricia Turley Brandenburg said in the release. “Pat and his staff have done a tremendous job developing and recruiting the type of student-athletes that are willing to work hard on the court and in the classroom.

“With the opening of SECU Arena this year, Towson is poised to be an annual contender in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and carry the banner for its alumni and the city of Baltimore. A stable and winning basketball program will only provide more financial security to our department and provide all of our teams the resources needed to be successful.”

There are plenty of changes happening that will directly affect the Towson basketball program, and Skerry’s work to this point has the Tigers well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunity. Not only is there the aforementioned new arena but they’re now in a league that added the College of Charleston, while losing traditional powers such as VCU and George Mason (both are now in the Atlantic 10) the last two years.

Towson returns its top four scorers from last season, most notably forward and reigning CAA Player of the Year Jerrelle Benimon (17.1 ppg, 11.2 rpg). While teams such as Charleston, Delaware and Northeastern will be heard from, Towson has the look of a program capable of reaching the NCAA tournament for the first time since they made consecutive appearances in 1990 and 1991.

“We would not be primed for greatness if it was not for the support of our President Maravene Loeschke and our athletics administration over the last two years,” Skerry said. “I also want to thank our interim Director of Athletics Tricia Turley Brandenburg for her time and persistence negotiating this contract extension. There has never been a better time to be a Tiger.”

VIDEO: Taylor University celebrates 20th anniversary of Silent Night tradition

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Taylor University celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Silent Night Game on Friday night.

The Division III school in Upland, Indiana has one of the best traditions in college sports as Taylor has its fanbase stay completely silent until the team scores its 10th point of the game. Upon scoring the team’s 10th point, the Taylor students go ballistic as they storm the court and temporarily stop the game. Dressing up in all sorts of group costumes, the Taylor students bring out some of the best ideas you’ll see from any college fanbase in the country.

As for the game, Taylor jumped out to a 37-9 lead on Lincoln Christian University and never looked back as they won 99-68. The win moves Taylor’s record to 20-0 all-time in Silent Night games.

Jake Heggeland was the game’s high scorer with 18 points for Taylor while Evan Crowe broke the Taylor silence for the second consecutive year.

Kansas forward arrested on suspicion of battery

Douglas County Sheriff
Douglas County Sheriff
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Kansas forward Carlton Bragg Jr. was charged today with one count of battery.

According to a press release sent out by the Douglas County district attorney’s office, police received a call around 1 a.m. from a woman who said that “her boyfriend had struck her and pushed her down stairs during an argument.”

The DA also included a note in the statement that, essentially, said the only reason Bragg wasn’t charged with domestic violence – he was initially arrested on suspicion of domestic battery – was due to a technicality. Since the couple is only dating and not married, under Kansas law, the assault does not constitute domestic violence.

Battery is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison.

Bragg, who was still in custody until an appearance in court on Friday afternoon, was held on bond of $500. Bragg plead not guilty.

“We are still trying to gather information,” head coach Bill Self told The Star. “But it is a charge which we take very seriously.”

Bragg is a 6-foot-8 sophomore that lost his spot in the starting lineup earlier this year. He is averaging 7.8 points and 5.3 boards in 16 minutes. No. 3 Kansas hosts Nebraska on Saturday.

St. John’s to lose center to transfer

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 13: Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats has his shot blocked by Yankuba Sima #35 of the St. John's Red Storm at the Wells Fargo Center on February 13, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Villanova won 73-63. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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Yankuba Sima will transfer out of the St. John’s program, the school announced on Friday.

“I want to thank the coaching staff and the administration for all of their support since I arrived at St. John’s,” said Sima. “I enjoyed my experience at St. John’s, but right now I feel it is best for me to explore options that will be a better fit for me as I work toward my goals.”

“We wish Yankuba the best of luck,” said head coach Chris Mullin. “I know this wasn’t an easy decision for him, but we respect and understand it. He’s a good basketball player and a good person with a bright future ahead.”

Sima started 26 of the 34 games he played with the Johnnies, including eight starts this season. He was averaging 6.0 points and 3.5 boards this year.

Frank Martin comments on Sindarius Thornwell suspension

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 26:  Sindarius Thornwell #0 of the South Carolina Gamecocks drives to the basket defended by Tyler Lydon #20 of the Syracuse Orange in the second half during the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational at Barclays Center on November 26, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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South Carolina head coach Frank Martin commented on Sindarius Thornwell’s suspension during his call-in show on Thursday.

Thornwell, who was the leading scorer for the 8-0 No. 19 Gamecocks, was suspended indefinitely last Sunday. Martin has yet to provide a reason for the suspension.

“He’s been with us at practice, he’ll travel with us, he’s excited about our team, his role on the team,” he said, according to South Carolina’s 247 site. “Sindarius is one of my favorite guys I’ve ever come across. He messed up and it is what it is. He’s like a son to me. He messed up and he’s owned up to his mess up.”

“Outside of that, I’m not going to get into anything else. He has my full support. Our job is to prepare our team to play, we don’t prepare individual players to play. It’s no different to someone rolling an ankle. We’re down because of a bad decision. We’ll be fine.”

Thornwell is averaging 18.7 points, 6.0 boards and 4.1 assists. The Gamecocks play Seton Hall in New York City on Monday night.

UCF star point guard out indefinitely with thumb injury

STORRS, CT - JANUARY 22: B.J. Taylor #1 of the Central Florida Knights carries the ball up the court in front of Ryan Boatright #11 of the Connecticut Huskies in the first half during the game at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion on January 22, 2015 in Storrs, Connecticut.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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Sophomore guard B.J. Taylor is out indefinitely after suffering a hand injury, UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins confirmed at a press conference earlier today.

According to a report from 247 Sports’ UCF site, the injury is a broken thumb, which was suffered in Saturday’s win over UMass.

Taylor is not expected to miss the rest of the season but will be out for an extended amount of time. He missed all of 2015-16 season dealing with a foot injury.

On the season, Taylor, a 6-foot-2 point guard, was having an all-AAC caliber season, averaging 17.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.3 boards.