Thursday, October 10, 2013

Guest column: Pull plug on Native American mascot names


The Washington Redskins. Kansas City Chiefs. Chicago Blackhawks. Atlanta Braves. Central Michigan Chippewas. Twin Lakes Indians.

What’s in a name of a sports team? What does it mean if that name is considered offensive or derogatory to the group, even when the sports team or school suggest the name was meant as an honor?

The issue around the use of Native American nicknames for sports teams has been around for a long time. Interest in the Washington Redskins changing its named picked up steam in May, when a group of congressmen as diverse of Republican Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Democrat Betty McCollum of Minnesota urged Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to change the name of the NFL team, which has been around since 1932.

Snyder, like past owners of the franchise, dismissed the recommendation, saying he would never change the name of the Washington Redskins. Never, ever. Period.
Of course, names such as these are meant to honor Native Americans for their strength, bravery and courage. Right? They are meant to recognize a location of Native American history or recognize their contributions. Yeah, that’s what they all say.

Yet, it seems strange that the honors and recognition never extend beyond the cheering crowds of the athletic teams or the mockery of Native American traditions in the name of sports.

Patrick Freeland, a Native American doctoral candidate studying at Purdue University, called the use of such names “outdated,” but people continue to hang on to them for a supposed sense of tradition. He said he believes it builds a false persona about Native Americans.

“The larger argument right now is that it builds an entire perception of people, like Native American, that is false. Not only that it’s false, but it’s glorified, bought, sold and heralded as something that is proper and praised. That’s an insult to native people and indigenous people in the U.S.”

Opponents of the Washington Redskins nickname continued to grow, including Peter King from Sports Illustrated, Christine Brennan from USA Today, and, which is refusing the use the term Redskins and other Native American nicknames in its sports stories.

Granted, I never gave much thought about the subject until 1994, when I attended what was called the Unity Conference, the first joint convention of national minority journalists groups in Atlanta. During one forum, I met the late Native American activist Vernon Bellecourt.

His passionate speech about his stand against Chief Wahoo, the mascot of the Cleveland Indians, still moves me today. The way he described how native children are teased and taunted by images that are massed produced and glorified in sports pages, and the way Native Americans were portrayed in general as only these savage warriors to be feared, stopped me cold.

I wrote a column on the subject in 1997 when I was a reporter at the Toledo Blade, at the time Miami University changed its nickname from the Redskins to the RedHawks.
The great thing about America is our capacity to look at ourselves and right our own injustices. On some issues, we are little slow; on others, we may walk sideways or backwards at times. But eventually, we get it right.

In this case, that only happens with an honest, frank discussion about targeting one specific ethnic group for these names. Would we accept the Ragin’ Caucasians? The Runnin’ Negros? The Fightin’ Latinos? If not, why do we insist on keeping the Redskins and Indians?

When I hear some people say that the issue of Native American nicknames is not even matter worth discussing — which is the position Snyder has taken with the Washington Redskins — it tells me one thing: You don’t want the discussion because you know you are on the losing side of the issue.

My challenge — more of a dare — to those sports teams, colleges and high schools that use Native American nicknames is to invite someone such as Freeland or another Native American to speak to your masses. Purdue’s Native American Educational and Cultural Center would be an outstanding place to start.

“You almost have this perception among people that we’re just a symbol,” Freeland said. “You have to remind them that we are actually people. The majority of people have never met a Native American person in their life. The primary problem is they are unable to empathize with each other.”

Think about it. Would Robert Griffin III be any less of quarterback if his team wasn’t named the Redskins? Would Hank Aaron be any less of a Hall of Fame baseball player if the team he played for wasn’t named the Braves? Would Twin Lakes High School would any less of the outstanding institution it is for his children if its sports teams were not named the Indians?

If the answer to those questions is no, then why is it so hard to even have talk about its use of its use of Native American sports nickname?

Hughes is a member of the Greater Lafayette Commerce's Diversity Roundtable.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Halsema, Carlson upstage leaders with twin aces at women's city golf championship

Published in the Lafayette Journal & Courier Sunday, July 13, 2013

By Clyde Hughes for the Journal & Courier

BATTLE GROUND — Lafayette Jeff junior golfers Lauren Halsema and Abigail Carlson would have had better odds winning the Hoosier Lotto, getting a royal flush with their first five cards in poker, or spotting a UFO than what they pulled off Saturday afternoon at the Greater Lafayette City Women’s Golf Tournament.

Halsema and Carlson, members of the same group, each made a hole-in-one on the 119-yard par-3 fourth hole at the Battle Ground Golf Course. While the champions of the past two seasons, Cyndi Lohmoeller and Ashley Wright, took a big lead after the first day, almost everyone talked about the near back-to-back holes-in-one.

Lohmoeller, the 2011 city champion, shot an even-par 72 in the first round, two shots ahead of defending champion Wright. Wright’s 74 was five shots better than the next two golfers, former McCutcheon star Bethany Hainje, who now plays at St. Joseph’s College, and Lafayette Jeff senior golfer Lindsey Burklow.

Jeff’s all-state golfer, Samantha Hatter, had a tournament-low 24 putts and finished with an 80.
But it was her high school teammates, Halsema and Carlson, who caught everyone’s attention with their feat. A 2000 Golf Digest study calculated the odds of two members of the same grouping making a hole-in-one at the same hole at 17 million to one.

Halsema said her ball landed on the front portion of the hole, but the momentum of the shot kept it rolling toward the pin.

“I thought I hit it a little under, but it kept rolling and it went in,” said Halsema, still excited about the shot after playing 18 holes. “It was crazy. I felt amazing. I was just stunned for the next two holes. I was like, ‘did I really do that?’ ”

After Gretchen King hit her tee shot, Carlson said she saw her ball land 10 feet away from the hole and turned her back to grab her clubs.

“We were thinking, ‘How in the world are supposed to match up to (Halsema’s shot)?’ ” Carlson said. “I hit my shot and I didn’t think I made it there. I turned back around and asked, ‘Where did my ball go?’ They said it went in. I said, ‘No way.’ I didn’t believe them.”

Carlson said she thought her fellow golfers were pulling her leg until she walked up to the hole and saw her ball in the cup.

“We told our coach, but didn’t know if anyone else knew,” Carlson said.

It was the first hole-in-one for both golfers. Carlson finished with a round of 86, just one shot from making the championship flight. Halsema ended with a round of 119.

Lohmoeller and Wright were paired in the first group to tee off Saturday, establishing the standard for the other golfers early. Lohmoeller said her job at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex at Purdue came in handy as the day went on.

“I really want to thank Dave Ross for hiring me,” Lohmoeller said with a laugh. “Playing there, seeing how those younger golfers play and the professionalism they show, it may be wearing off on me a little bit. I was able to save No. 18 and not have a blow-up hole.”

Wright, just weeks past gall bladder surgery, said she was surprised by how well she played, but credited her husband and competing with Lohmoeller and Maggie Boaz as inspiration.

“It was a fun, inspiring group to play with,” Wright said. “My husband was my caddy, and he kept me going. I was getting tired at the end, but he was the one who kept telling me that I was doing great and I could do it.”

Hainje said she was more familiar with Coyote Crossing Golf Course, where the final round will be played Sunday.

“It’s going to be a whole new 18 holes tomorrow,” Hainje said. “Coyote Crossing is a course I’m somewhat comfortable with. I will forget about this round, even though it’s one I’m happy with.”

Guest column: What you'll do if you care for Trayvon Martin

Published Saturday, July 20, 2013 in Lafayette Journal & Courier

By Clyde Hughes

I will be right up front. I was profoundly disappointed when a Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of second degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Trayvon Martin last week.

It would be all too easy to endlessly relitigate the case. I found the result stunning, but hardly unexpected.

The challenge for everyone, regardless how you feel about the verdict, is: Where do we go from here?

The truth of the matter is that Zimmerman’s fate was decided in the Florida legislature long before he fired that shot into Martin’s chest, because “stand your ground” laws protected him. Doesn’t anyone find it strange that even though the defense did not claim the law, it still was mentioned in deliberations, according to one juror?

In fact, Zimmerman’s fate was decided during jury selection, with a group that could not connect with a witness such as Rachel Jeantel, Martin’s friend, even though her testimony was critical — vital, actually — in the prosecution’s case.

People are angry over the verdict. I saw a graphic on CNN Tuesday that listed 100 Trayvon Martin rallies scheduled that day alone. “Stand your ground” laws are flawed pieces of legislation that give a person with a weapon the ultimate power against anyone they deem as threatening to them. The law, though, misses the most basic question — when is a person reasonably in fear of their life?

Feeling in fear of your life is such a subjective phrase that it seems incredible that it ended up in serious legislation from which the guilt or innocence of a person can be determined. But six jurors in the George Zimmerman trial were left with that ambiguous determination.

In the end, with the absence of a way to define reasonable fear of life, the six jurors gave Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt and allowed him to walk free. This happened even with no evidence introduced beyond Zimmerman’s own words that Martin started the fight. Nothing.

But if all of these rallies, protests and boycotts do nothing to dismantle, or at the very least dramatically improve, such laws, all these calls for justice for Martin will end up falling empty, flat and hollow.

Don’t get me wrong. There is plenty to be angry about. Even Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara concedes that the justice system is skewered against most African-American males and deserves a serious national conversation. Why can’t this be that time?

Why can’t these 100 rallies focus on fundamentally cleaning up “stand your ground” laws by not allowing people who pursue a suspect and then use self-defense as a claim? Why not change jury selections that would allow change of venues on either social or class grounds to ensure an actual and true jury of peers?

Radical, you may think. I find it radical that a teenager coming home with candy and a drink can be profiled, confronted and killed before he reached his front door, and the person who pulled the trigger walks away without even a parking ticket.

But if all the energy and angst over the Zimmerman verdict does not turn into conversation and action, the next Trayvon Martin shooting will happen sooner than you think, and everyone will be back in the same position.

It is important to engage law enforcement, engage public officials and engage community leaders today and without delay. If you think “stand your ground” laws have nothing to do with politics, you are foolishly wrong.

If you really care about Trayvon Martin, you will not miss the next time you have a chance to cast a vote. You will not miss the next time to become involved when such laws are up for consideration in localities and state legislatures.

The bottom line is if you really care about the verdict in this case, your actions will not end with a rally, but begin with taking action to bring about change.

Hughes is a member of the Greater Lafayette Commerce’s Diversity Roundtable.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Guest column: Suddenly, Trayvon Martin's friend is put on trial

Published in Lafayette Journal & Courier, Wednesday, July 3, 2013

By Clyde Hughes

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I realize that George Zimmerman is on trial for the death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin this week, but I would like to give a defense to the last person besides Zimmerman to hear Martin’s voice — his teenage friend, Rachel Jeantel.
I did not realize Jeantel would need defending until I saw and heard mainstream and social media accounts of her testimony last week. Jeantel, described as a friend or girlfriend of Martin, was on the phone with him when Zimmerman confronted the teen last year.

A fight ensued and Zimmerman pulled out a weapon, shot and killed Martin. Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense is at stake with Jeantel’s testimony. She claimed Martin tried to run and hide from Zimmerman but the neighborhood watch volunteer pursued him, leading to the confrontation. That would seriously undercut Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense.

Don West, a defense attorney in Florida, did pretty much what we would expect defense attorneys to do — pull every trick out of his hat to make a star witness look bad so he can save his client’s life. Facing off against a reluctant teenager with few skills to handle an aggressive (and at times demeaning) interrogation, it is of little surprise that Jeantel would lash out the way she did during the first day of testimony.

My guess is West hoped for as much to make his job of discrediting her in front of the jury easier. He was dealing with a scared teenager who knew while taking the stand that she would have to account for a couple of fibs she told unrelated to her conversation with Martin and knew she would be on the hot seat.

What surprised me was the unrelenting criticism from the Fourth Estate and social media of Jeantel, which came across much of the time as elitist, disconnected and completely out of the touch with the challenges Jeantel faced on the stand beyond simply answering attorneys’ questions.

CNN’s Jake Tapper opened his June 27 show, “The Lead,” with this statement describing Jeantel’s testimony: “Have you ever seen a witness make, ‘Yes, sir,’ sound so much like, ‘Go to hell?’ ” That’s when I knew many of my fellow journalists were off the mark and maybe even lacked the ability to understand Jeantel’s struggles.

There is a culture gap in this country — a canyon-wide, in some instances. And it was put on brutal display during Jeantel’s two-day cross examination by West. I continued to watch Tapper, to see if he would address the world of Jeantel — inner-city Miami, tough streets, rough language and a real fear for authority figures — compared to West, who demanded that she respond like a Harvard-educated scholar.

I got nothing. Not even an attempt to explain why Jeantel had her defenses up the second she took the witness stand. Tapper didn’t even try. He let his “yes, sir, sounds like go to hell” statement stand without explanation. But in his defense, many journalists and experts failed miserably as well.

Now, there was plenty to dissect in Jeantel’s testimony, from the fibs she told about attending Martin’s funeral to her exclusion of Martin screaming, “Get off me,” in previous statements before the trial. Yet, failing to call out West for his outright attempt to embarrass Jeantel by getting her to read a letter written in cursive when he knew she couldn’t read it was yet another low point for the media.

This does not include what amounts to vicious attacks on Jeantel by “social media goons” who compared her with pictures of Jabba the Hut from “Star Wars,” and worse. Longtime African-American journalist and creator of Sherri Williams called Jeantel’s treatment “a social media stoning.”

“She was called fat, ignorant, sassy, ugly and manly,” Williams said. “Jeantel was called everything except what she is, a witness in one of the most significant criminal trials in recent history — a young woman who heard her friend fight for his life.”

How could we expect anyone from Jeantel’s world to trust anyone from your world, my world? How could we expect them to reach out to us in a time of need? How can we expect them to seek us out in a time when justice needs them to?

There were good and bad things you can say about Jeantel’s testimony. At times it was powerful and riveting. At other times, it was clumsy and inconsistent. It’s pretty much what I would have expected out of a nervous teenager in the foreign environment of a courtroom in a high-stakes, nationally televised murder trial. Too bad we were too busy criticizing her looks, voice volume and attitude to notice.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Westfield, Carmel boys golf qualify for state tournament; Zionsville falls two shots short

Published in Indianapolis Star Saturday, June 8, 2013

By Clyde Hughes
Star Correspondent
BATTLE GROUND, IND. — Trailing four teams at the turn Friday at the Lafayette Regional, Carmel boys golf coach Chad Carr knew his team was in serious trouble.

But the sixth-ranked Greyhounds improved by four strokes on the back nine at the Battle Ground Golf Course to finish in the all-important third spot, nipping Zionsville by two shots to advance to next week’s state tournament.

Valparaiso won the Regional with a 10-over-par 298, followed by Westfield (300) and Carmel (302). Zionsville’s season concluded with a 304.

“It’s a big weight off my shoulders,” Carr said. “Now we can go into state with a clean slate and compete evenly with everyone else.”

Jake Brown, the Greyhounds’ No. 2 golfer, shot a 72 to help Carmel secure third place.
“I didn’t want to go to state as an individual,” Brown said. “I didn’t play well in sectionals but my team picked me up. I hoped that I would be able to pick them up today. State is going to be fun.”

The tournament was a major disappointment for No. 14 Zionsville, which was tied for the lead with Valparaiso after the first nine holes, only to see things fall apart over the back nine. The Eagles shot a 149 on the front nine, but shot 155 down the stretch. Adam Wood’s 2-under 70 captured individual medalist honors, but it wasn’t enough for the team to extend its season.

“We know in a tournament like this, every stroke counts,” Zionsville coach Steve Simmons said. “We knew it would come down to a shot here and shot there. I'm disappointed but with four of five holes to go we were the owners of our destiny and the tournament and we just let it go. That happens.”

Simmons said missed birdie chances on the final holes sealed the Eagles' fate. He said No. 5 was a killer as well.

“We played that hole five-over as a team,” Simmons said. “We had played so well up to that point. It was just a straight forward, easy hole but for some reason with really struggled on it.”

No. 4-ranked Westfield built on its sectional win, falling just two shots short of the regional title. Freshman Thomas Lewis, the Shamrocks’ No. 3 golfer, shot a 72 to lead Westfield.

“I felt a little pressure but it started to feel good once I began hitting the ball better on the back nine,” Lewis said. “It takes everyone playing well to win here. We knew that if we even had one guy not play well, we would be going home.”

Westfield coach Jon Hoover said Lewis, sophomore Keith Ponsler (74) and senior Colton Smith (75) gave the Shamrocks the lift it needed to challenge for the title.

“I’ve played in tournaments before and I don’t think I could be in these kids’ shoes,” Hoover said. “We saw the scores at the turn and there were five teams within four shots of each other so the pressure was just tremendous. If you can handle that kind of pressure, I have tremendous respect for you.”

Valparaiso captured the sectional title behind Kyle Meihofer’s 71.

“The thing about state is that we have to do it all over again, so there’s no vacation,” Valpo coach Wayne Lichtenberger said. “There was some outstanding competition here and we had a state ranked team go home today. The slate will be clean next week.”

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Guest column: About that delayed reaction to Hibbert's comments

Published in Lafayette Journal & Courier, Tuesday, June 4, 2013

By Clyde Hughes, for the Journal & Courier

It was a freelance sports writing assignment late Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and I’m holding an audio recorder in a news conference no more than 10 feet away from Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert. He just played one of his best playoff games in helping beat the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals.

In a room of reporters during an interview that was broadcast live, Hibbert and teammate Paul George were chipper in responding to question after their big win. Then, Hibbert said something that absolutely floored me — something I rarely get in athlete news conferences.

“I really felt I let Paul down (in Game 3) in terms of having his back when LeBron was scoring in the post or getting to the paint, because they stretched me out so much. No homo.”

“No homo,” as in a slur for homosexual. I thought immediately: “Whoa, did he really just say that.”

The comment, then, was followed by chuckles from Hibbert, George and the media corps. In fact, the giggles and smiles from the press corps was so evident that I started to second-guess myself about whether the comment was even made. There were certainly no follow up questions to the comment at the time.

“Maybe I must misheard it,” I told myself. Looking back over the media transcript after the press conference, the comment was deleted. When I reviewed the recording, though, there it was, as plain as day.

By this time, the beat reporter for the organization I was working for talked about the incident and another Hibbert expletive during the press conference. He also wrote about the incident.

By Sunday, Hibbert issued his Pacer media department crafted concession.

“I am apologizing for insensitive remarks made during the postgame press conference after our victory over Miami Saturday night. They were disrespectful and offensive and not a reflection of my personal views. I used a slang term that is not appropriate in any setting, private or public, and the language I used definitely has no place in a public forum, especially over live television.”

There are some things that quickly reach beyond the basketball court or any sports venue. There are countless history lessons on how society has struggled to overcome prejudice and discrimination. Those wins and losses come in small doses, as well as big ones.

One would think after the trouble some athletes have gotten into for using such slurs that Hibbert would have been much smarter. While fellow reporters made sure the star center was held accountable after the press conference, I am surprised a question about the comment wasn’t put to Hibbert at that moment.

Would it have made a difference whether the media responded at the press conference or immediately after the comment was made? I think it could have sent a message that such comments should be stopped in their tracks, instead of going along with the joke. Yes, we were all facing a tight deadline for a late-ending game. With Hibbert opening the door, it was a subject that needed to be addressed, and at the time, it wasn’t.

It left me wondering: Do we in media actually create the climate for such comments, only to show our fangs in an effort jump on bandwagon in the aftermath? Was it the right time to take on the issue? Of course, it was.

After Jason Collins came out in April, with overwhelming support he received from fellow NBA players and society, one would have thought we have moved forward just a little bit regarding LGBT issues. Hibbert is hardly the first athlete to use such terms this year, even, and it shows we are still in the starting blocks.

Maybe this is one of those teachable moments for Hibbert, as suggested by Yahoo Sports Dan Devine.

“We like players who like to joke around, and we like players willing to offer something more than just standard clichés,” Devine said in his “Ball Don’t Lie” column Sunday. “It just kind of sucks that this — the “no homo” thing, particularly — was in Hibbert’s mind in the first place. Here’s hoping that apology comes from a place of earnest recognition and not from a place of fearful, frantic damage control.”

Maybe we as journalists can get athletes to start doing that soul searching just a little faster.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Roy Hibbert , Paul George again carry Pacers, lead team to Game 7

Published on Sunday, June 2, 2013 in Miami Herald.

By Clyde Hughes
Special to The Miami Herald

INDIANAPOLIS - Facing elimination in the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Pacers determined early they would ride center Roy Hibbert and forward Paul George as far and as long as they could.

Indiana's dynamic duo refused to let the Pacers die, getting help from its supporting cast along the way at critical times to stave off elimination with a 91-77 victory.

Hibbert's 24 points and 11 rebounds along with George's 28 points provided firepower Indiana was missing in Game 5. David West, playing reduced minutes because of an illness with a temperature of over 100, grabbed 14 rebounds and scored eight of his 11 points in the final quarter.

"It's all about heart," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said of West's performance, particularly in the fourth quarter. "That guy is all heart, and it's contagious. I don't really have words for it to be honest with you."

George's three-pointer at the 5:28 mark of the fourth quarter gave the Pacers a 75-68 lead. Miami had cut a 13-point deficit to start the period to four points (72-68), ending with consecutive baskets by LeBron James.

George's basket sparked a 9-0 run that included two technical foul free throws, which gave the Pacers enough to across the Game 6 finish line.

"We knew they were going to make a run," George said. "This team, they're deadly offensively. They can really put points up. That's just us staying together, being poised and just rallying. Lance (Stephenson) made some big plays offensively on the boards to get us some extra possessions. We shared the ball. We made huge plays when we needed to."

In Game 5 in Miami, the Heat used a big third quarter to turn that contest in its favor. On Saturday, it was the Pacers' time to use the same period as a springboard. Indiana held the Heat to six points over the first 10 minutes of the period.

With the defensive effort well in hand, Hibbert and George provided the offense, scoring 19 of the Pacers' 29 points in the third quarter.

Hibbert's dunk off the dribble with 5:48 left in the third quarter capped a 14-2 Pacers run to start the third to give Indiana a 53-42 lead. The dunk appeared to double the noise volume in the arena - energy the Pacers needed after an up-and-down first half.

"Roy Hibbert is making extraordinary plays in the pocket," Vogel said. "He's getting the paint catches, and he's just having great poise and great reads. Roy is playing the best basketball of his career right now. He's leading us, and he's a big reason why we are where we are."

George added a three-pointer at the 5:05 mark after Dwyane Wade made a long-range shot to help maintain Indiana's momentum.

"What separated us (in the third quarter) was being able to get into transition and trying to strike early," George said. "Their half-court defense is tough. We really executed."

Hibbert said the aftertaste of Game 5's third quarter still lingered for the Pacers and actually provided incentive for them after halftime.

"We had a couple of bad possessions at the beginning of the third, but we rallied," Hibbert said. "Paul made big shots for us and found me on a pick and roll. We realized the third quarter let us down, so we tried to take advantage of that and come out aggressive."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Indiana Pacers make sure they make it a series with Miami Heat

Published on Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Special to The Miami Herald

Lance Stephenson said after the Pacers loss Sunday, where he was held to seven points and one rebound, he felt he needed to show people he was up to the challenge of facing the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.

In Game 4 Tuesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Stephenson redeemed himself with his second-biggest offensive output of the playoffs.

His 20-point effort was critical in Indiana’s 99-92 win, tying the series at 2-2.

“I watched a lot of film, and I told myself I’m going to be aggressive,” Stephenson said. “If I’m not aggressive, we’re not the team that we are tonight. I take whatever they give me. If they give me the jumper, I’ll take it. I just have to be in attack mode.”

Stephenson’s midrange jumper with just less than four minutes left to play tied the score at 89-all, sending a message that he was not quite done.

With the Pacers clinging to a 94-92 lead, he hit a floating jumper that bounced off the rim and dropped in with a little more than a minute left to give Indiana a two-possession lead.
With a rejuvenated Stephenson and the continued strong play of Roy Hibbert, the Pacers regrouped to the form that made them nearly invincible at home in the playoffs.

“I couldn’t even sleep last night,” Stephenson said. “My teammates were on me. I didn’t play up to my abilities the last game. I felt [Tuesday] I had to show everybody that I’m ready for any competition and any challenge that comes to me.”
Indiana coach Frank Vogel said beyond Stephenson’s 20 points, he did all the little things players like him needs to do help the Pacers win.

“I think he made some great loose-ball plays in terms of offensive rebounds,” Vogel said. “I believe the biggest play of the game was Roy Hibbert’s offensive rebound and one [with 1:30 left in the game.] I think Lance was crashing the board, too, and occupied Roy’s man so he could get open. Those were big plays.”

An example of Stephenson’s re-emergence came in the third quarter after the Heat regained the lead.

A critical tip-in of a missed shot near the six minute mark cut Miami’s lead to one point. That allowed the Pacers to take back the lead moments at 61-60 later on a David West jumper with 5:35 left.

When Indiana needed a basket at the end of the third, Hill found Stephenson in the left corner, where he spotted up and drilled the three-point jumper to lift the Pacers to a 77-70 lead going into the fourth quarter.

“I was hesitant on my shots before,” Stephenson said. “I have to let the three’s come to me. I was just trying to play hard and smart.”

Hibbert’s continued domination in the paint was expected. Hibbert’s sensational rebound and putback with 1:30 left in the game gave Indiana a 94-89 lead. Hibbert scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the first half on his way to a 23-point, 12-rebound performance.

“We’re mentally tough," Hibbert said. “Not one guy in that locker room didn’t believe we were going to win this game tonight. We showed fortitude and we picked each other up.”

Monday, May 27, 2013

Indiana Pacers doomed by Miami Heat first Gane 3 start

Special to The Miami Herald

It was obvious by halftime that Game 3 in Bankers Life Fieldhouse would not look like the first two contests of the Eastern Conference Championship series — and that was bad news for the Indiana Pacers.

The Miami Heat reeled off a team-record 70 points and forced the Pacers to play from behind in the second half for the first time in the series. In the end, the 70-56 deficit was too big of a hole of dig out of. The 114-96 defeat was the Pacers first playoff loss at home this season.

Miami played better offensively, shooting a sizzling 60 percent from the floor over the first 24 minutes. Udonis Haslem’s 17 points forced Indiana to reevaluate what they were doing defensively. Indiana center Roy Hibbert said he felt pulled in two directions.

“[Haslem] wasn’t making those shots the prior two games,” said Hibbert, who scored 20 points and pulled down 17 rebounds last night. “So I was rotating off him and helping out Paul [George] or rotating on [Chris] Bosh and stuff like that. Now he’s been hitting [them]. I have to play both. I have to stop the roll guy and get out and contest.”

It was a night where the Pacers needed an edge on the boards but the Pacers could not get that until late. Miami held Indiana an even 17-17 on the glass at halftime.

“We didn’t have a great defensive night but it wasn’t horrible,” said Indiana coach Frank Vogel. “It wasn’t as bad as the numbers look. You have to credit Miami for playing a great game.”

Miami’s 114 points were the most the Pacers had given up all playoffs.

More importantly, Indiana didn’t get important contributions from role players like Lance Stephenson. Stephenson pulled down 12 rebounds in Game 1, while scoring 10 points and grabbed eight boards in Game 2.

In Game 3, he scored three points by halftime without a rebound. He finished the game with seven points and one rebound.

“He’s a key to our team,” Vogel said about Stephenson before the game. “We can’t have him passive with the basketball. We are limited when he is that way. He’s got to be in the killer instinct mode at all times and the make great decisions late.”

David West kept the Pacers in the contest early, scoring 16 points, on 6-for-10 shooting, by halftime. But West went 0 for 4 in the third quarter as the Heat stretched its lead to 91-76. He finished the night with 21 points.

West said, however, it will be the Pacers defense that will get them back into the series.
“We feed off of our defense,” West said. “If our defensive energy is low, then usually offensively we’re going to have gaps. We feel good where we are. We have to come out and make them a little more uncomfortable than they were tonight.”

The Pacers had been invincible at home during the playoffs. Going into last night’s game, the Pacers had been dominant at home, averaging 101.2 per game while giving up 87.3 points en route to a 6-0 record. Until last night, no team had scored 100 points or more on the Pacers at home in the postseason.

Read more here:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Still missing the target on immigration reform

Published on April 16 in Lafayette Journal & Courier

The current U.S. immigration system is broken. That’s an understatement.
The challenge is how we go about fixing a system in a country that welcomes immigrants and yet maintains the rule of law.

The continued effort to fix it based on the stereotype of keeping Mexican nationals from crossing the southern border is foolish, shortsighted and doomed to fail. The encouraging part of the current try is that there is still a bipartisan effort in the U.S. Senate to reform immigration.

The rhetoric coming out of the “Gang of Eight” is not encouraging.

Here is a quote from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., from “Fox News Sunday” about negotiations with the bipartisan group of senators trying to hash out immigration reform and how it will impact current undocumented immigrants.

“They don't qualify for any federal benefits — no food stamps, no welfare, no Obamacare," Rubio said, as reported by the Huffington Post. “They will have to stay in that status until at least 10 years elapses ... and then all they get is a chance to apply for a green card.”

Now that makes you feel warm, fuzzy and welcoming, doesn’t it? Of course, Rubio has ulterior motives for 2016, but let’s try to ignore that right now. The talking point doesn’t acknowledge a basic truth about many undocumented workers in the country today.
The truth is that there is a business magnet that attracts and encourages them to come here. To craft legislation that ignores that reality is punitive and may keep many undocumented immigrants in the shadows.

The Greater Lafayette Diversity Roundtable held its biennual Diversity Summit at Ivy Tech Community College on Thursday. Briseida Sandoval, who graduated with honors from Frankfort High School in 2010, gave one of the most compelling reasons for immigration reform when she talked about current Latino students getting lost in the system.

“People tell them you’re not going to graduate, you’re not going to be able to follow your dreams,” Sandoval told the audience of about 80 people. “It brings that individual down. It brings his self-esteem down knowing he can’t get a higher education and pursue his dream. So they drop out of high school. They don’t wait for other opportunities to come their way.”

Multiply the numbers Sandoval has seen in Frankfort to places with bigger populations of undocumented immigrants, such as California, Texas and North Carolina, and one can easily see current and future challenges for undocumented immigrants and the country. Meaningful immigration reform has an opportunity to make the young people Sandoval talks about a bigger part of the economy and the fabric of America.

President Barack Obama’s deferred action policy in June 2012 allowed many children of undocumented immigrants brought into this country at a young age to be eligible for work authorization. While not the Dream Act, which would have given them a pathway to citizenship, the action has already had an impact on giving these Latinos hope.

“These young kids, some of them may be adults already and brought here through no fault of their own, now are able to apply for Social Security cards, identification and so on,” said Veronica Jalomo, of the Latino Center for Wellness and Education, who also was part of the Diversity Summit panel. “This is a good thing for the students and will allow them to pursue a higher education. This will open doors for them.”

Also, we can’t escape the racial aspect at play in immigration reform. The reason why we’re even talking about immigration reform in the first place is because of this “concern” over Mexican and Central American nationals crossing the border. Even the proposed walls and fences along the border have a sort of confinement aspect to it.

In 2010, U.S. Border Patrol reported nearly 4,000 border crossings from Canada to the United States. I wonder how that fence between U.S. and Canada is coming?

National security? Remember that five of the Sept. 11 hijackers, including ringleader Mohamed Atta, were in the country on expired visas, and none of them entered the country via illegal border crossing. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office last year, as many as 45 percent of people who are here illegally are those with expired visas. You wouldn’t think that with the amount of financial resources and attention politicians continue to put on the southern border patrol and fences.

Yes, the country’s borders need to be secure. It’s important to know who is legally in this country. Punishing those who are already here with draconian actions meant more to score political points will ultimately backfire. Let’s hope the upcoming immigration reform proposal offers better.

Hughes is a member of the Greater Lafayette Commerce's Diversity Roundtable.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mid-Am Boys Notebook: Jr. Ice break barriers for Indiana hockey in bittersweet final season

Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 by

By Clyde Hughes
INDIANAPOLIS — Fred Knipscheer admitted it was bittersweet watching his Indiana Jr. Ice team win the Tier I 14-and-Under district title at the Mid-American tournament Sunday, advancing them to the USA Hockey National Championship tournament April 3-7 in Pittsburgh.

The Indiana Jr. Ice scored six points in pool play, tying them with the Cleveland Barons, but the Jr. Ice beat the Barons 5-4 during pool play to take the crown.

Knipscheer has been coaching his team since they were Midgets. Two years ago, the same group of players won the Tier II national title as the Indianapolis Racers. However, the players will be going separate ways after this season.

“It’s kind of sad to see it all come to an end,” Knipscheer said. “I watched these kids from the time when they could barely skate to where they are now. This has really been special.”

It’s the first time an Indiana-based team has reached the Tier I national tournament in about 20 years, officials said Sunday. Knipscheer said he believes his team will have an advantage because his group has been together for so long. Twelve of the 18 players are from the Indianapolis area.

“It’s rare to keep a core group of kids like this together for so long,” Knipscheer said. “Even our out-of-town kids have played with us for the last four to five years. It helps when you play against teams that have been just thrown together.”

Jr. Ice left winger Justin Whited said they hope to bring back a national title like they did two years ago.

“Because of what we did then, I think we’re going to play with a lot of confidence,” Whited said. “We know we’re going to have work really hard and not give up. We have a lot of chemistry on this team and we’ll have to carry that chemistry into nationals and let it work for us.”

Barons capture dramatic 18U title

The Cleveland Barons and Culver Academy battled it out in the 18U final game of the day in The Forum at Fishers.

After losing the lead within the final minute in regulation, the Barons returned the favor, scoring in the first minute of overtime to capture the 18U title 4-3 and advance to the USA Hockey National Championships in April.

Culver’s Yannick Vedel punched in a goal with 24.3 seconds left in the third period to tie the contest at 3-3. Culver had led 1-0 and 2-1 early in the contest only to see the Barons rally back and tie the game. But Trey Bradley only needed a slap shot 23 seconds into the overtime to give Cleveland the victory.

“We just came out of regulation with a lot of intensity,” said Bradley, the son of former Tampa Bay Lightning player Brian Bradley. “It just went on my stick and I shot it. I didn’t know that it went in and then everyone started jumping on me. I figured I must have done something right.”

Both teams combined for 26 goals going into the championship game, but defense ruled most of the contest. Cleveland coach Tim Alexander said he told his team that patience would be the key to victory.

“Our team has always scored a lot of goals, and I told them to keep doing what we do,” Alexander said. “I told them to keep fore-checking and the goals will come. Getting the lead in the third period was huge and it gave us the momentum. Everything shifted, though, after they got the tying goal.”

Culver Academy knocking at the door

While Culver Academy lost its championship games in the 16U and 18U divisions, it looked like the program might only be a year away of breaking through to the Tier I national tournament.

The overtime loss to the veteran Cleveland Barons team in the 18U title game showed just how close Culver is. The military academy from northern Indiana played some of the district tournament’s most impressive hockey during pool play.

“I think our senior class is a pretty special class. They have been with the team for three and four years,” said Culver 18U coach Ryan Miller. “They’ve built a good, solid foundation in the locker room. I think our juniors will take the baton.

“We have a lot of good kids who will be moving up from the U-16 teams. This gives them a taste of what it’s like to come up a little bit short. We can use that as motivation for next year.”

Culver Academy goalies gave up two goals between the 16U and 18U teams during pool play. Miller said the 18U team’s effort to tie that game within the final minute to force overtime showed their resiliency.

“We were down 3-2 for most of the third and we didn’t give up,” Miller said. “I’m happy with the character of our kids and the ability to overcome adversity. The fact is that we didn’t quit and had a chance until the very end. That will carry over to next season.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

Mid-Am Boys Feature: 16U Cleveland Barons shut door against opposing offenses

Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 on USA Hockey website

By Clyde Hughes

INDIANAPOLIS — Few expected the Cleveland Barons 16-and-Under team to capture the Mid-American Tier I district title over the weekend, but there they were Sunday celebrating at center ice after four games inside The Forum at Fishers.

The Barons’ 3-1 victory over Culver Academy concluded a dominating weekend sparked by its defense and solid goaltending led by Jim Thomas. Cleveland gave up just two goals in the tournament, the second coming with a minute left in the third period of the championship game.

Not getting the third shutout of the tournament was about the only disappointment for Thomas and his team.

“Man, I thought I had it but it just slipped in right by the post,” Thomas said of Culver’s goal with 1:02 left in the game, cutting the Barons’ lead to 2-1.

The Barons, though, scored an empty-net goal about 30 seconds later to seal the victory.
“All I was thinking about the whole time was making it to nationals,” Thomas said. “I was just trying to do everything I could to get us there.”

The win clinched a berth into the USA Hockey National Championships on April 3-7 in Pittsburgh.

The Cleveland Barons 16U team had reached the national championships for the past two years, but they started this season with a new squad. Captain Gordie Myer was the only leftover from those district title teams, and the inexperience showed early as the Baron struggled to win games.

“This championship is really satisfying because of what we had to overcome,” said Myer, who scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period. “Our team hasn’t been as strong as it has been in the past two years so we really had to work hard to get here. We had to really come together as a team.”

Myer had offers to play with other teams this season but decided to stick it out with the Barons. He said Cleveland coach Brett Harkins and his staff really made the difference for him.

“I really like the coaches and the team,” Myer said. “I had played with them for this long, so I wanted to come back for one more year and see what we could do.”

Harkins said his team is playing its best hockey of the season going into nationals. He said the Barons’ defense has been at its best. Culver Academy scored 21 goals going into the finals against Cleveland before the Barons nearly shut them out.

Defense and goaltending was critical in the second period. Culver turned up the heat offensively and peppered Thomas with numerous shots on goal, only to see them all rejected, allowing the Barons to hang on to the lead.

“Culver dominated us in the second period and I thought Jim kept us in the game,” Harkins said. “They were all over us, but Jim kept making big saves and he’s been solid for us all season. At the end of the second period, I told the team that Jimmy kept us in it now let’s go and get it.”

Myer said the Barons’ defense has been solid all year long, but overcoming the second period gave them the momentum to finish off the game.

“With this team, we play defense first and concentrate on getting the puck out of the zone,” Myer said. “I think that creates good offense for us. We take a lot of pride in working hard on the defensive end and winning all of the personal battles. That’s what wins games for us. It helped us beat Culver.”

Harkins said the district title has forced him to change his vacation plans.

“I was on my way to Marco Island, Fla.,” Harkins said with a laugh. “I guess I will be spending my time in Pittsburgh. It’ll still be a good vacation.”

The Barons have found some success in nationals, but they have not been able to come up with the coveted title. Last year, Cleveland lost in the quarterfinals and in 2011 it was the semifinals, both times to the eventual national champions.

“We know whoever beats us will probably win nationals,” Harkins said. “We will have to work hard over the next two weeks. Guys just want to go on and win a national championship. My goal is to move them on to the next level so they can be successful.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

Mid-Am District Tournament Champions

Youth Tier I
14U: Indiana Jr. Ice
16U: Cleveland Barons
18U: Cleveland Barons

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A reminder that black history is U.S. history

Published February 4, 2013 by Lafayette Journal & Courier

As director of Purdue University’s Black Cultural Center, Renee Thomas has a bird’s eye view on the importance of Black History Month, as she sees how revelations and information of past events affects current students of all races.

But Black History Month, created in 1926 as Negro History Week to bring attention to the accomplishments of blacks, seems to be in trouble. In an era where the U.S. just re-elected its first African-American president, a growing number of people — including some prominent blacks — are questioning the need of such an annual recognition.
None of those people, though, sits where Thomas does.

“When individuals understand their history and culture it empowers them to fulfill their potential and contribute to society,” Thomas said of the need for Black History Month. “We must take a look at how we are preparing our current student body to be successful Purdue alumni. We must prepare all students to succeed in an increasingly global economy.”

Still, the Black History Month boo-birds persist. The problem with Black History Month is that some see it as passé, amounting to little more than ethnic cheerleading. Nearly every Black History Month detractor has already retreaded Morgan Freeman’s 2005 interview with the late Mike Wallace of “60 Minutes,” where he seemed to blast the concept. In the interview, Freeman called Black History Month “ridiculous” when responding to Wallace’s question, and added: “You’re going to relegate my history to one month? I don’t want Black History Month. Black history is American history.”

Charles C.W. Cooke, of the conservative National Review Online, says Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month and similar recognitions, do nothing more than build the wall of separation rather than bring people together.

“But a profusion of multi-culti months doesn’t improve things any more than a profusion of wrongs make a right. In a country that is supposed to be a melting pot, are we truly supposed to take comfort in having our complex history cut up into little slices and distributed with varying emphasis to students throughout the year?”

Looking at the largest point, Freeman is right. It is ridiculous to think anyone can contain the contributions of African-Americans to one month. He is right when he says black history is American history.

Where he is wrong is that Black History Month doesn’t “relegate” black history to one month. From the very day Carter G. Woodson birthed the original concept, it was never meant to separate black history from American history. Actually, it was designed to do just the opposite.

Woodson’s creation was in response to the shameful dispensing of black contributions in America society and sounding out about the critical role blacks played throughout history around the world. Black History Month makes sure black contributions are part of the conversation about American history.

When you really think about it, adding up the roughly 250 years of legal slavery in North America, followed by “separate but equal” laws in the South after the Civil War, while many in the North practiced something akin to Jim Crow-lite, the relative freedom African-American enjoy in the U.S. today is still something rather new. Through that time, black history was often ignored, dismissed and deemed unimportant.

Noted educator Ravi Perry, assistant professor of political science and Stennis Scholar for Municipal Governance at Mississippi State University, said incorporating black history into all facets into American history remains a work in progress — one that won’t end anytime soon.

“We need Black History Month because the ‘social revolution’ taking place that defined and continues to define the agenda of blacks in American history and to the present, continues,” Perry says. “The country’s election and re-election of the first black president is not an indication of racial progress meriting the end of the study of black history. If anything, the president’s election and re-election creates an opportunity to re-engage black history and remember that black history is, in fact, American history.”

Would it be nice to think one day that the accomplishments of blacks were so apart of American history that Black History Month would be obsolete? You bet. But we are not even close to that point yet. Now, that’s ridiculous.
Hughes is a member of the Greater Lafayette Commerce’s Diversity Roundtable.

Cincinnati beats Alabama on buzzer-beater

Published December 1, 2012 by Tuscaloosa News
By Clyde Hughes
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
Published: Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 8:24 p.m. 
CINCINNATI | It was Cashmere Wright's 12-foot fall-away jumper at the buzzer that gave No. 17 Cincinnati a 58-56 win over Alabama on Saturday in the SEC/Big East Challenge at Fifth Third Arena, but it was the missed chances by the Crimson Tide that stung.

Alabama held a two-point lead on four occasions with a chance to stretch it in the second half, only to be turned back by the Bearcat defense. That allowed Cincinnati to hang around on its home floor.

It was the Crimson Tide's first loss of the season in its first true road test. Alabama (6-1) fell to 0-3 in SEC/Big East Challenge.

Wright's off-balance game-winner came after the Crimson Tide erased a double-digit deficit in the first half and turned the game into a hard-fought contest in which both teams gave up little defensively.

"They're the best defensive team in the country," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "They did a great job defensively creating turnovers. They're very aggressive, rebound the ball extremely well. We knew we had to rebound the ball well and defend."

Alabama went up 56-54 on a Trevor Releford layup with 48 seconds left, but Sean Kilpatrick matched it six seconds later and was fouled. After a timeout, Kilpatrick missed the free throw.

Looking for the go-ahead basket, Releford was blocked in the paint by 6-foot-8 forward Justin Jackson, and Ge'Lawn Guyn grabbed the rebound to set up the game-winning shot.

"We called a flat ball screen and we were just looking to make a play there," Grant said. "Releford thought he could make around the corner, but Jackson is a great defender and made a heck of a play and kept it in bounds."

With 6 seconds left, Wright took the ball in the backcourt, raced to the left corner and launched an arching shot over Moussa Gueye that found the net as the buzzer sounded.
"I didn't see the shot go in," Wright said. "They started grabbing me after the shot, and that's when I thought 'Well, it must have gone in.' "

Grant said he thought his team did everything right on the final sequence and it was a matter of Wright making the big play.

"They went with four guards and a forward," Grant said. "I thought we contested the shot, but he's a hell of a player and won the game for them."

Before the final minute drama, Alabama had a chance to put some distance between itself and Cincinnati (7-0).

A Nick Jacobs basket gave the Crimson Tide at 52-50 lead with 5:39 left, and after making stops on the defensive end, Alabama had four chances to stretch the lead to two possessions, only to be turned back by the Bearcats on each possession.

"I thought that was critical," Grant said. "We had good looks, but I think they altered or blocked shots in that stretch. We had a couple of opportunities but just turned it over. We had a two-on-one and threw it away. Credit their defense. They have great length and were able to make up for mistakes with their athleticism."

Trevor Lacey led the Crimson Tide with 16 points, followed by Releford's 12. JaQuon Parker and Kilpatrick topped Cincinnati scorers with 13.

"Alabama has a very good team and their guards are better than advertised," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. "They can stack up against anybody we'll play this season. They did a good job of keeping us off the fast break. We can't let teams take that away from us. Everything that happened to us, they had a lot to do with it."

Saints stall in second half

INDIANAPOLIS — The Siena Saints, with a two-point lead in the second half and Butler’s big man Matt Howard in foul trouble, looked poised to pull an upset over the No. 18 Bulldogs in front of 9,111 partisan fans in Hinkle Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon.

But it was Howard’s absence that helped spark an 18-5 Butler run as the Bulldogs beat Siena (22-6) going away 70-53 in a nationally-televised ESPN BracketBuster game. It was the Saints worse loss this season since an 82-65 road defeat to Northern Iowa on Dec. 12.

It was Butler’s 17th consecutive victory as both teams head into the final week of its regular season schedule.

“They’re different than some of the teams we’ve played,” Siena coach Fran McCaffery said of Butler (25-4). “They very well may be the best in the sense that they really don’t make mistakes. If you’re going to beat them, you’ll have to play the perfect game.”
McCaffery pointed to the stretch of the game when Howard picked up his fourth foul with 16:29 left and sat, as an example of how Butler found a way to turn his absence into their advantage.

Siena led 34-32 at the time, but Shelvin Mack hit a jumper and Gordon Hayward converted a three-point play on consecutive possessions to put the Bulldogs back up.

Backup guard Zach Hahn was inserted when Howard left the game and connected on back-to-back 3-point shots that turned on the boisterous Hinkle crowd and sapped much of any momentum Siena had left.

“That opened up the game for them,” said Siena’s Ryan Rossiter, who scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds. “It was a three-point game and a couple seconds later it was a nine-point game and we never recovered from that.”

Butler coach Brad Stevens said the move to go with Hahn and a smaller lineup was out of necessity with Howard’s foul trouble, but admitted that the change turned the tide.

“What it did was put us in a situation where we could stay big or go small and make an adjustment” Stevens said. “Small ended up being good for us because Zach came in and hits some big three’s for us. Shelvin and Zach hit three’s and that changed the landscape of the game.”
Before that point, Siena seemed up to the task of handling Butler.

The Saints overcame an early first-half deficit behind the scoring of Clarence Jackson to take a 31-28 lead into halftime. Jackson scored 14 of the Saints’ first 16 points.

Jackson finished with a game-high 24 points, one off his season-high 25 points against UAlbany back on Dec. 5.

In the second half, though, Butler began to pack the paint and dared the Saints to beat them with jumpers. Siena finished the game shooting 33.9 percent from the field (20-59) and just 23.3 percent in the second half (7-30).

“Clarence was the reason why we were up at halftime,” McCaffery said. “He made some shots and they started guarding him differently, which gave everyone else a little more space. In the second half, they packed it in and we were ineffective. Their team has great help defense so (Jackson’s) decisions on when to go and when to jump stop were really good.

Mack led Butler with 23 points followed by Hayward’s 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Siena’s leading scorer Alex Franklin struggled with Butler’s sagging defense in the middle and scored just seven, almost 10 points off his 16.3 points per game average.

“Any loss is a missed opportunity,” Franklin said. “It would have been a great win for us, but we fell short. We needed to drive the ball more but any time a team packs it in as much as they did it’s going to be hard.”

Siena wraps up its regular season with two games next week, Friday at Rider and Sunday at home against Marist.