About Me

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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Xavier Crushes Abilene Christian

The Xavier Musketeers finished its five-game season opening homestand with a 93-65 win over the Abilene Christian Wildcats.

It was a turn on biblical times when the cats were thrown to the Christians.

Abilene Christian is moving up a grade to NCAA's Division I competition, like the Northern Kentucky Norse.  The Wildcats will compete in the Southland Conference with Incarnate Word, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana, Texas A&M CC, Oral Roberts, a member of Xavier's MCC in the 80's, McNeese State, New Orleans, Central Arkansas, Houston Baptist, Lamar and Nicholls State.

The fledgling program at Abilene is playing with 10 scholarship players rather than 13, as most of Division I have.

The Musketeers' fans were a little nervous, much like Purdue fans were when NKU came within one point of an upset earlier this year.

Xavier (5-0)lead by a single point, 14-13 with 12:43 left in the first half.  The Musketeers bumped the lead to 12 five minutes later but ACU  (2-6_closed the gap to six on a jumper in the paint by Alek Milosavijevic.

"I know our fans were restless because they were close," Xavier coach Chris Mack said. "But we were playing hard.  Watching them on film, we knew they were going to test us.  They spread the floor and they have three shooters on the court at all times.  As the game progressed we got better."

Xavier bumped the lead to eight on a tip in by Jalen Reynolds with nine seconds to go in the first half, then survived a missed layup by LaDarrien Williams at the buzzer.

The second half was all Xavier.  The Musketeers scored 54 points in the second half when their size, speed and depth forced the Wildcats into foul trouble.

"We've had a brutal non-conference schedule.  Xavier is as good as we've seen. They are well coached.  They can go inside and outside. They are really, really good," Abilene Christian Alumnus and third-year head coach Joe Golding said.

ACU has played at Duquesne, St. Bonaventure, Maryland, Iowa and TCU.  All five double digit losses.

The Wildcats bounced back with consecutive wins over Western New Mexico and Northern New Mexico.

"We're playing with 10 scholarship players instead of 13.  We're competing.  There are things we can build on, like staying close in the first half.  It's hard to see when you're getting beat by 30 but we're getting better. The size and the speed of Division I is the biggest difference.  These kids aren't ready but they are getting better.  This schedule will help us fund our program and will help us as the season goes on."

Xavier put four players in double figures with Semaj Christon leading with 17.  Myles Davis scored 15, James Farr 14 and Jalen Reynolds 11.

Matt Stainbrook grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Xavier.

Xavier outrebounded the smaller Wildcats 47-21 with three ACU players getting three rebounds and six getting two apiece.

Xavier heads to the Battle of Atlantis over Thanksgiving in Nassau in the Bahammas playing Iowa.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Xavier Takes Bragging Rights In Backyard Brawl

Xavier won bragging rights with a win against one of its oldest rivals and closest neighbors.

Dee Davis was 6-of-7 from the field and scored 15 points to lead Xavier to a 77-51 win over Miami of Ohio.

Davis missed the first two games with a head injury but has returned to lead the Musketeers (4-0) to their fourth straight victory to start the season.

Semaj Christon scored 13 points for the Musketeers and James Farr turned in his first career double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Matt Stainbrook added 10 points.

Geovonie McKnight scored 10 points to lead Miami (0-3). Reggie Johnson was limited to five points despite entering the game as the Mid-American Conference's leading scorer with 23 points per game.

Xavier held a 36-24 halftime lead. It was the fewest points that the Musketeers have allowed in a half.

"We've had three tough opponents," second year said Miami coach John Cooper, who led his team against Notre Dame and Arizona State on the road. "I've learned from a fundamental capacity, we can't go through long stretches of not scoring."

The game was tied at 15 with 12:34 left in the first half but Xavier went on a 21-9 run to take command of the game.

Ten Xavier players scored in the game. The Miami bench was depleted by a nine-game suspension for Willie Moore, a sophomore transfer from Oregon suspended for selling Oregon gear and Bill Edwards, who is out with an injury.

The Musketeers started the second half with a 14-2 run and led by as many as 31 in the second half.

"Early on I thought our transition defense was poor," Xavier coach Chris Mack said. "Their big guys shoot the three. That presents some challenges for us. As the game wore on we were better."

Miami was 5-of-23 behind the arc for the game with reserve Joshua Oswald making two of those in the waning moments of the game.

Johnson was held scoreless in the first half by Xavier's Semaj Christon, who was assigned to guard him.

"He (Johnson) had two quick fouls in the first half.  I don't think he even worked up a sweat," Mack said. "He's a talented player everyone has tough nights."

Xavier held a 42-17 rebounding advantage and shot 50 percent from the floor while holding the RedHawks to 37 percent from the field.

There was a moment of silence for former Miami coach Charlie Coles. Coles, a 1965 Miami alumnus, coached the RedHawks for 16 seasons.

"I got to spend a lot of time with coach Coles through clinics and recruiting trips," Mack said. "He was one of the most genuine people I've ever met."

The two campuses are 43 miles apart. They have met 100 times since rivalry began in 1920 with a 50-16 Miami victory.

Xavier leads the series 53-47 in a rivalry that began in 1920, Xavier's second season. It was Xavier's most lopsided win since 1997 by 21-points.

Xavier has won the last five meetings.

All four of Xavier's wins have been at home. Xavier will also host Abilene Christian on Friday night.

Miami plays its first home game against Wilmington on Saturday.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Xavier Shoots Down Morehead State Eagles

The Xavier Musketeers won its third game of the season clipping the Eagles of Morehead State 79-56.

Xavier held the Eagles to just 29 percent from the floor.  Xavier committed 29 fouls, leading to 38 Morehead free throws.  Fortunately for the home standing Musketeers, the Eagles converted on just 24 of them for 63 percent.  Only 32 of Morehead's 56 points came from the field.

Xavier shot better, hitting 52 percent for the game.

Semaj Christon lead all scorers with 20 points.  Jalen Reynolds added 11.  Isaiah Philmore scored 10.

Chad Posthumus led Morehead with 12 points.  Luka Pajkovic, who played sparingly in the first half contributed 11 points, all in the second half.

Point guard Dee Davis shook off the effects of a concussion that he suffered in pre-season practice to make his first appearance for Xavier.

'I was really excited before the game," Davis said. "All my teammates were looking for me to get back. It always helps to have everybody on the team so we have extra bodies and more energy off the bench."

Davis scored seven point, dealt out nine assists and had a career-high five rebounds in his season debut.

A whopping 56 six fouls were whistled in the contest. Amazingly no one from either team fouled out.

"It was crazy. We’ve got to get used to it," Christon said. "We’ve got to adjust when the refs start calling ticky-tack fouls. Last year they let you get away with a lot foul stuff. This year, the game’s changed."

One of the few flaws in Christon's game is free throw shooting.  The sophomore was 0-for-4 from the foul line.

"I can make them. It’s a mental thing now," Christon said.

Morehead out of the Ohio Valley Conference has size and quickness, coming a pair of wins.  The Eagles dispatched Mid-Continent 107-60 in its season opener,  The handed East Tennessee State a 71-63 loss on Tuesday.

"I thought defensively we did a good job but you can't come into a place like this and shoot 29 percent.  It's not going to happen," said Morehead coach Sean Woods, a 1992 graduate of Kentucky in his second season.

"We got good looks at the rim and we got fouled but didn't make our foul shots either.  We did some of the things we needed to do but couldn't make our shots. When your key guys are sitting on the bench in foul trouble it is difficult," Woods said.

Xavier provided a challenge for the Eagles, who are trying to meld six newcomers into its rotation.

"I thought our guys were pumped.  Xavier showed how it's done.  It was a good test for us. We needed this.  We're a growing team," Woods said.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Xavier Downs Tennesse

The Xavier Musketeers won its second game of the young season, downing the Tennessee Volunteers 67-63.

The Volunteers dropped the season opener.

Xavier lost in Knoxville by three points last season.

The Musketeers built a seven-point lead at the half by holding the Volunteers offense to eight field goals in 30 shots (26.7%).

Semaj Christon scored eight of his team-high 18 points by driving to the basket.  He shot five of Xavier's six free throws before the break.

"Everytime they started a run, we had a big answer for it," said Myles Davis, who made his last five free throws after missing his first attempt. "We get the ball to Semaj and he creates. We're confident in our offense. We all got shots and when we need a shot, everybody's capable of hitting it."

Tennessee senior Jordan McRae led all scorers with 23 points, hitting four 3-point shots.  McRae's three point shot in the last two minutes gave the Volunteers a chance to complete a comeback by cutting Xavier' lead to three points.

Xavier held the lead by making its free throws down the stretch.

"When I missed that first one, I was upset with myself. Everyone told me to stay with it. After that one, every one felt good," Davis said.

Matt Stainbrook scored 12 points and gathered nine rebounds, narrowly missing his second double-double in as many games.  Erik Stenger from St. Xavier High School, pulled seven rebounds as XU bested Tennessee on the boards 40-34.

Myles Davis scored 13 points for the Musketeers with five coming on free throws down the stretch.

"We competed fom the tip all the way to the bitter end. It's never easy to finish a game against a really good team," Xavier coach Chris Mack said.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Cincinnati Defends Against Mustang Stampede

Cincinnati picked on someone their own size for a change.

The last five games, the Bearcats' opponent had a total of one win.

SMU has a losing record at 3-5 but were a better challenge for the 7-2 Bearcats.

The Mustangs looked like they were going to run and hide from Cincinnati by taking the opening kickoff an running unimpeded down the field on an 80-yard drive.

SMU sacked Cincinnati quarterback on a fourth and one from the SMU 40 on the Bearcats first possession.  SMU's drive resulted in a missed field goal.

"I knew when we didn't score in that first quarter, it would be tough on us," SMU coach June Jones said. "I thought our offense did a lot of good things but on the road you have to score when you have the chance."

The Bearcats turned the ball over but held the high-powered offense led by Garrett Gilbert to a field goal.  Gilbert began the game as the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision leader in total offense with 408.3 yards per game.

Gilbert exceeded his average.  He threw for 403 yards and ran for another 14.

Brendon Kay and Jordan Luallen made up for it especially in the second half.

Kay threw two touchdown passes to stake the Bearcats to a halftime lead of 14-10.  Luallen ran into the endzone, picking up two of his 29 yards rushing on eight carries.  It capped the Bearcats 75-yard drive that opened the second half.

The Bearcats recovered the onside kick but Kay threw an interception on the next play.

Gilbert quick kicked on a fourth and 10 to pin the Bearcats on the four yard line.

Cincinnati marched 96 yards to score on Tion Green's seven-yard scamper, pushing the Bearcat lead to 28-10.

"As an offense, that's awesome to hold the ball that long and put up points with it," Kay said.

The Bearcats were able to run the ball.  SMU struggled to run it.

"Credit Cincinnati for jumping out on top and finishing the game," Gilbert said. "We have to start faster and keep the foot on the pedal.  We have to be more consistent.  We knew they (UC) was not going to fool us.  They did a good job against us.  They stopped the run.  They did a good job of tackling."

Gilbert wasn't finished.  The Mustangs rolled 92 yards in 1:10 culminating in a five yard toss from Gilbert to Darius Joseph.

UC threatened to put the game away after recovering SMU's onside kick but Green fumbled inside the 10 yard line. Gilbert engineered a 90-yard drive with another throw to Joseph of four yards.  Gilbert then converted on a two-point conversion to tighten the game at 28-25 with 5:02 left in the game.

"We knew we had to run the football and we won the running battle 40 to 160," Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville said. "That pretty much gave us the ball 7-8-9 more minutes. You've just got to keep 'em off the field. We couldn't stop 'em. Hasn't nobody stopped 'em all year long. The last game he threw for 600 and they scored 59 points. So our guys never panicked."

Cincinnati used its running game to keep Gilbert off the field.  Six rushing plays put the ball in a third and six situation on the Mustang 16 while SMU used all of its timeouts.  Hosey Williams five yard run fell short.  Cincinnati needed a first down to end it.  SMU was penalized for trying to draw Cincinnati offside by simulating the snap count, enabling the Bearcats to seal the game.

"We didn't disappoint anybody," Tuberville said. "We told everybody it would be close. I thought there would be a few more points scored but because we were able to run the ball, we were able to run time off the clock. We scored 28 unanswered points. I thought that was outstanding. We learned a lot of lessons today."

Bearcats Fight Back Take Halftime Lead Over Mustangs


Archie Bell and the Drells classic tighten up was playing just before Cincinnati took a 14-10 lead into halftime against the "Run and Raid" offense of SMU.

Garrett Gilbert showed why he leads the nation in total offense by leading the Mustangs on an 80-yard, game opening drive that appeared to be effortless.  Gilbert ran for 13 yards and passed for 83 in the quarter.  He capped off the Mustang's initial drive with a three-yard run with 9:04 left in the first quarter.

Brendon Kay was sacked on a fourth and one from the SMU 40 by Jonathan Yenga.

Gilbert had the Mustangs on the move again but the Bearcats defense took a cue from Archie Bell and the Drells and tightened up.

The drive stalled at the UC 31.  Chase Hover missed a 48-yard field goal.

Kay threw and interception that Gilbert and his offense turned into a field goal

The Bearcats took control from there with the aid of two short SMU punts.

Kay threw a touchdown pass to Chris Moore that covered the last 17 yards of a 75-yard drive.

Mike Loftus punt gave Cincinnati the ball on its own 38.  Kay's 68-yard strike to Mekale McKay put the Bearcats ahead 14-10 with 5:59 left in the half.

With 10 seconds remaining, Hover's 24-yard field goal attempt hit the right upright.

Cincinnati took the 14-10 lead into the halftime break.

Cincinnati Meets SMU Quarterback Garrett Gilbert and Deion Sanders Jr.

The Southern Methodist University Mustangs visit Nippert Stadium to meet the Cincinnati Bearcats for the first time ever.

Famous alumni include "Dandy" Don Meredith, Eric Dickerson and Doak Walker.  Meredith was an All-American quarterback in 1958 and 1959.  He was the first quarterback the Dallas Cowboys ever had.  After retirement "Jeff and Hazel's Boy", as he called himself, complimented Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football.

Eric Dickerson had many Pro Bowl seasons in the NFL for the Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis Colts.

Doak Walker became fixture in the Detroit Lions backfield.

SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert leads the nation in total offense with 408.3 yards per game.  There are 55 teams in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision with fewer yards per game.

The head coach June Jones had NFL experience with the Atlanta Falcons and coached at Hawaii.  Jones is known for his run-and-shoot offense.  The Mustang's offensive coordinator is Hal Mumme.

Mumme brought his "Air Raid" offense to Kentucky when the Wildcats' Tim Couch set passing records. The street behind Commonwealth Stadium was named "Hal Mumme Pass" during that era.

Cincinnati has the seventh best passing defense in NCAA FBS while the Mustangs boast the fifth best passing offense.

One notable member of the Mustangs roster is true freshman Deion Sanders Jr., whose famous father played in both the NFL and MLB, including the Cincinnati Reds.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Xavier Passes First Test Against Gardner-Webb - Tennessee Up Next

The Xavier Musketeers blended a lot of new faces into its starting lineup and passed its first challenge of the season in a 83-59 win over the Running Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb.

Newcomers Matt Stainbrook turned in a double-double in his Xavier debut with 13 points and 12 rebounds.  Stainbrook, who is a transfer from Western Michigan, was the first Xavier player to have a double-double in his Xaver debut since Jamel McClean had 10 points and 10 rebounds against IPFW on November 14, 2008.

"I was very excited coming into this game," Stainbrook said. "I wanted to hit the ground running and didn't want to be tentative. It's been on my calendar for a long time. 'So I'm sitting out this year, when's the first game? It's on the calendar. Cool.' Now I'm just looking forward to the rest of the season."

Freshman Brandon Randolph scored 12 points for the Musketeers.

James Farr scored 10 points, while Semaj Christon led Xavier with 14 points.

Donta Harper led all scores with 20 points.

The Running Bulldogs are coming off a 21-13 season.

The Musketeers were deeper than the Running Bulldogs, outrebounding them 45-27 and scored a lot of points in transition.

"We were right with them until the last three minutes of the first half," said first-year coach Tim Craft. "They went to the line 40 times.  That's a sign of a team that is aggressive.  They played fast and were really hard to guard in transition."

Xavier, already missing point guard Dee Davis, who sat out as a result of concussion suffered in pre-season, are anxiously awaiting news on Myles Davis and Justin Martin.

Davis left the game after he was hit on the arm.  Martin was a little "woozy" according to coach Chris Mack.

Xavier has a quick turnaround.  They take on the Tennessee Volunteers on Tuesday.  It will be the season opener for Tennessee.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Reds Offer Shin-Soo Choo A Contract For 2014

The Reds offered centerfielder Shin-Soo Choo a contract for the 2014 season.

Choo has seven days to accept the Reds' offer.  If he rejects it, he can still re-sign with the team at any time.  If he elects to become a free agent and is signed by another team, the Reds will get a compensation round draft pick in the 2014 draft.

The Reds did not tender offers to Bronson Arroyo, Manny Parra, Zach Duke or Cesar Izturis, making them free agents.

They can sign with the Reds or any other team at any time but if they sign with another team, the Reds will not get compensation picks.

The Reds can fill the open spots on its 40-man roster to prevent eligible minor league players from being subjected to the Rule V draft.