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Arkansas State football player Markel Owens and stepfather killed in robbery

asufootball 600An Arkansas State football player who was trying to shield his family from robbers was shot to death, along with his stepfather, the New York Daily News reports.

Markel Owens, a 21-year-old junior defensive lineman for the Red Wolves, was fatally shot along with Johnny Shivers, 36, during the robbery at a duplex in Jackson, Tenn., the Daily News reports.

Shivers died at the scene. Owens was taken to Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

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Griz chemistry too much for Thunder

grizzdunk 600Memphis Grizzlies fans were given a real surprise on Tuesday night (Jan. 14). All-Star center Marc Gasol hit the floor of the FedExForum to start against one of the top teams in the NBA after missing 23 consecutive games with a left knee injury.

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year sported a black brace but it didn't get in the way of helping his team outlast the Oklahoma City Thunder 90 to 87 in a high-energy game that kept the crowd on edge.

Gasol's return triggered a standing ovation from the 17,177 in attendance. He responded with 12 points in 24 minutes of play.

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Grizzlies ride ‘good feeling’ in win over Hawks

grizzhawks 600The NBA is soon approaching the end of the first half of the season and the Memphis Grizzlies appear to have found a groove. Players are settling into their roles. Missing Marc Gasol, Quincy Pondexter and Tony Allen due to injury, on Sunday (Jan. 12) they faced the Atlanta Hawks, rallying for a fourth quarter outburst that resulted in a 108-101 victory.

"We played really, really well together and they looked like they were having fun playing together, which is really a treat when you are a coach and you enjoy being around a great group of guys," said Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger.

"They share the basketball and they make extra passes. They are helping each other on defense and no one is pointing fingers. It's all of us in it and trying to help each other. It's a good feeling right now."

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Suns fade late as Conley’s stardom rises

conley 600The Memphis Grizzlies have learned to listen to floor general Mike Conley. They depend on him to lead the team.

Lately, the Grizz's starting point guard has taken his ability to do that up to another level.

Conley rallied Memphis in a late fourth quarter takeover to breeze pass the Phoenix Suns on Friday (Jan. 10) at FedExForum with a 104-99 victory. Fresh off of a 30-point performance on Tuesday in an overtime loss against the San Antonio Spurs, he tallied a career-tying 31 points along with seven assists. And he didn't commit a single turnover.

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Tigers riding high after downing Louisville’s Cardinals

tigerswinR-o-l-l-e-r ... c-o-a-s-t-e-r!

That's the only way to describe the University of Memphis Tigers' basketball season thus far. Up and down and up and down.

A crushing defeat early to Oklahoma State followed by a redeeming win over the same OSU team to capture the Old Spice Classic. A dominant road victory over the University of Southern Florida in Memphis' conference opener overshadowed by an embarrassing home loss to Cincinnati less than a week later.

Headed into their game Thursday night (Jan. 9) at Louisville, many thought the roller coaster might be headed for its biggest drop this year. Memphis hadn't beaten a ranked conference opponent on the road since 2005. With the defending national champion Louisville sitting at No. 12, it looked as if that trend might continue.

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Grizzlies give Spurs a late scare

grizzspurs 600San Antonio Spurs beat the Memphis Grizzlies for the seventh straight time Tuesday night, escaping the FedExForum with a 110-108 overtime victory that could have been measured in inches.

While the Spurs have been beating the Grizz with regularity, this latest confrontation was in doubt right up to the time Mike Conley's three-point attempt from 29 feet bounced off the front of the rim as time expired.

Conley played big in a game in which Memphis erased a 16-point deficit, including a 10-point hole entering the fourth quarter. Conley led the Grizzlies with 30 points, 11 coming down the stretch in the final frame. His last-play drive to the basket yielded a game-tying bucket that sent the game into overtime.

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Sub-par guard play sends Tigers back to drawing board

mentigerss 600

Remember at the beginning of the basketball season when many analysts were saying that Memphis had one of the top, if not the best, backcourts in all of college basketball?

With four senior guards – Joe Jackson, Chris Crawford, Geron Johnson, and Michael Dixon Jr. – it was easy to see why many people might have thought that.

But being projected as the best and playing like the best can be two totally different things. The best guard quartet isn't usually associated with 14-for-49 shooting in a game. That's what Memphis' guards did Saturday (Jan. 4) in their game against Cincinnati's Bearcats.

 

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No. 1 U-Conn thumps Tigers

ladytigers 600The University of Memphis Tigers got a first-hand view of big-time women's basketball going up against the top-ranked Huskies of Connecticut and absorbing a 90-49 thumping at the FedExForum on Saturday.

Memphis battled for a short while, up by three with six minutes elapsed. Then UConn switched into another gear and proved why this year's team is No. 1 and is building – once again – on a championship pedigree.

The Huskies – now sporting a 15-0 record – held the Tigers without a basket for 9 minutes and 8 seconds during one stretch of the second half.

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ESPN columnist: Why the n-word was 2013’s ‘Sports Person of the Year’

nword1 600Jemele Hill, an ESPN columnist and co-host of ESPN2's "Numbers Never Lie," said that while Time magazine uses its Person of the Year award to recognize impact, she wouldn't use "Sports Person of the Year" to recognize high performers such as Serena Williams or Peyton Manning. Instead, she would nominate the n-word for 2013's most impactful performer, Hill said during a recent appearance on ESPN's "The Sports Reporters: Parting Shot."

"My 'Sports Person of the Year' wouldn't be a person at all, but a word that is both reviled and revered," she said. "In 2013 sports took on the n-word."

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Grizzlies dig hole; Bulls pin them in

mikecon 600Two hard-nosed teams with tough defensive outlooks met at FedExForum for a pre-New Year's Eve game. For the Chicago Bulls and the Memphis Grizzlies, winning is built on a hone-in-on defense foundation.

Similar stats aside, it was the Bulls' defense that prevailed and their offense that propelled Chicago past Memphis (91-95) on Monday night (Dec. 30).

The Grizzlies (13-17) wanted a year-end win going into 2014. Chicago (12-17) was trying to bounce back after suffering a home loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.

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Titans end losing season with a victory and uncertainty

titanstexans 600Despite another disappointing season with a losing record and not making the playoffs in the Mike Munchak-era, the Tennessee Titans (7-9) still played with a purpose during its last game of year.

"Yeah, I think today was a good day for us just to go out there and enjoy playing the game of football," said Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Tennessee, which finished two games out of the final spot in the AFC playoffs, made it a point to finish strong, playing hard for the fans and displaying home-field pride in a 16-10 win over the Houston Texans.

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Grizz flash signs of old in win over Nuggets

grizzdever 600Grizz fans have started to see a positive change in a team that has been struggling to restore its defensive identity while battling injuries.

Points in the paint, out-rebounding opposing teams and playing defense down the stretch.

Sound familiar?

Well, it certainly looks familiar. Especially to those who attended or tuned into Saturday's game (Dec. 28) as the Grizzlies rallied after halftime to hand the Denver Nuggets their sixth straight loss (120-99) in FedExForum. Memphis reached the 120-point mark for the first time this season.

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Memphis too much for ‘other’ Tigers

tigersjsu 600Kicking someone when they are down isn't exactly a valiant character trait.

Yet, competitive sports sometimes require that killer instinct. Putting your foot on your opponent's figurative throat and putting them out of misery is a necessary quality for all good teams.

Now, this scenario doesn't play out in every game, but when top teams play teams from the minor conferences and divisions it often does. So when Memphis took on the Jackson State Tigers last Saturday (Dec. 28), it appeared that a blowout was on the horizon. Memphis is ranked #15 in the country and JSU is a 4-7 team from the SWAC.

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