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SPORTS SHORTS: Ulis Named Top 10 Finalist For Nation's Top Point Guard; LMU's Choice Snags S


Compiled By Jamie H. Vaught

UK sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis (pictured) has been named one of 10 finalists for the 2016 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, it was announced Monday, Feb. 1. Named after Hall of Fame guard Bob Cousy, the annual honor recognizes the top point guard in Division I men’s basketball.

A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the initial watch list of 20 candidates in October. The final five finalists will be presented to Cousy and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee in March, and the winner will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in Los Angeles on April 8.


Ulis is looking to become the first Kentucky guard to win the award. So far he has the credentials to warrant the honor.

Standing at just 5-foot-9, Ulis has been one of the top players in the country this season, leading Kentucky to a 16-5 record with wins over nationally ranked Duke and Louisville.

Ulis is averaging 16.1 points and a team-best 6.2 assists per game, which ranks second in the Southeastern Conference. He’s now scored 20 or more points in four straight games and eight of his last 10, averaging 20.1 points and 7.1 assists while shooting 51.1 percent over the 10-game stretch.

The Chicago native is the only player in the SEC averaging 16.0 points and 6.0 assists or better. He is one of just five players nationally to achieve that feat (Kahil Felder, Oakland; Kris Dunn, Providence; Juan’Ya Green, Hofstra; Denzel Valentine, Michigan State) and the lone underclassman.

With a career-high 26 points and eight assists at No. 4 Kansas on Saturday, Ulis has posted nine games this season with at least 20 points and at least five assists in the same game, the most by a Wildcat in any season since 1972-73.

Ulis’ value is probably best represented by his performances in Kentucky’s biggest games. He’s averaging a team-best 21.7 points and a team-high 7.3 assists in UK’s three games vs. ranked opponents. He shot 54.5 percent with a 5.5 assist-to-turnover ratio in those games.

He’s the third player at UK since 1972-73 and the first since Roger Harden in 1985-86 with at least four assists in 14 consecutive games in a season. In addition, Ulis needed just 17 games to top 100 assists in a season, the sixth-fastest pace in program history for 100 or more assists in a single year.

Ulis is already a two-time winner of the SEC Player of the Week award and is on the midseason watch lists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy and the John R. Wooden Award, each given to the national player of the year.

Ulis and the Wildcats return to action Tuesday night at Tennessee. That game is set for a 7 p.m. tipoff on ESPN.

2016 Bob Cousy Award Finalists: Kyle Collinsworth, Brigham Young University

Yogi Ferrell, Indiana

Monte Morris, Iowa State

Tyler Ulis, Kentucky

Melo Trimble, Maryland

Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame

Khalil Felder, Oakland

Gary Payton, Jr., Oregon State

Kris Dunn, Providence

Nic Moore, Southern Methodist

LMU's CHOICE SNAGS SECOND SAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD

Lincoln Memorial University junior shooting guard Luquon Choice nabbed his second AstroTurf South Atlantic Conference Player of the Week plaudit of 2016 after leading the seventh-ranked Railsplitters (18-2, 14-0 SAC) to pair of victories this past week, it was announced by the league office on Monday, Feb. 1. Choice, a native of Laurens, S.C., never left the court in either of the Railsplitters' wins last week, averaging 26.5 points per game on 58.1 percent shooting and a ridiculous 56.5 percent clip (13-for-23) from three-point range. The Laurens, S.C. native also compiled six rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks. The highlight of his week came at the expense of arch-rival Carson-Newman, as Choice matched Lincoln Memorial's single-game program record for three-pointers and scored a career-high 38 points to fuel a 100-89 victory in Jefferson City on Wednesday night. Choice went 10-for-17 from the three and scored 19 points in the first nine minutes of the second half to fuel Lincoln Memorial's win, which completed the season sweep of Carson-Newman. With his 10 triples, Choice matched his teammate Jalen Steele (Knoxville, Tenn.) for the program single-game record, as Steele buried 10 threes against Newberry on December 19. In Saturday's 86-75 win over No. 24 Lenoir-Rhyne, which saw the Railsplitters overcome an 18-point first-half deficit, Choice went 3-for-6 from three and scored 15 points while adding three steals, two assists and two rebounds. He accounted for 11 of his 15 points in the second half. Choice leads the SAC in three-pointers made with 68 on a 47.6 percent mark, which is the third-best three-point field-goal percentage in the league. He is also among the top 10 in the league in both total points (340) and assists (71), ranking seventh and fifth in those categories, respectively. He also leads the SAC in total minutes played with 693. It marks Choice's second SAC Player of the Week nod in three weeks, as he received that distinction back on January 19 as well. The Railsplitters have now won four of the last six SAC Player of the Week awards. The Railsplitters return to action on Wednesday, February 3 when they host the scuffling Brevard Tornados at 8 p.m. inside of Tex Turner Arena.

EKU'S MAYO EARNS EIGHTH OVC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK AWARD

Eastern Kentucky University forward Nick Mayo (pictured) has been voted the Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Week for the eighth time, the league office announced on Monday, Feb. 1.

Mayo averaged 20.5 points-per-game and 5.5 rebounds-per-game last week.


The 6-9 native of Oakland, Maine scored a game high 22 points versus Murray State on Wednesday night. Three nights later, he notched his second double-double of the year versus Morehead State, scoring a game-high 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He also blocked a career-high five shots against the Eagles.

Mayo shot 67 percent (16-of-24) from the field and a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line during the week.

He ranks third in the OVC in field goal percentage (63.1) and fourth in scoring (18.6 points-per-game) during league play.

The EKU record for OVC Freshman of the Week awards is 11, held by Matt Witt in 2002-03.

Mayo and the Colonels hit the road this week to face Tennessee State on Thursday and Belmont on Saturday.

ARKANSAS' KINGSLEY AND FLORIDA'S ALLEN EARN WEEKLY SEC BASKETBALL HONORS

SEC has named Arkansas’ Moses Kingsley the Player of the Week. A 6-foot-10, 230-pound junior center from Abuja, Nigeria, Kingsley averaged 17.5 points and 11 rebounds in wins over No. 5 Texas A&M and Texas Tech last week.

Kingsley posted 18 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks to hand No. 5 Texas A&M its first conference loss of the year. After going scoreless and without a rebound in the first half against Texas Tech, he recorded a double-double the rest of the way with 17 points and 11 rebounds in the overtime victory. He hit the first bucket of overtime against Texas Tech and scored four points and added three rebounds in the extra period.

Kingsley has three consecutive double-doubles and ranks second in the SEC with 11 double-doubles on the year. He is one of five Power Five Conference players in the country with 11-plus double-doubles this season.

Meanwhile, Florida’s KeVaughn Allen, a 6-foot-2, 183-pound guard from Little Rock, Ark., has been named SEC Freshman of the Week. Last week Allen averaged 17.5 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals against Vanderbilt and No. 9 West Virginia.

Allen dropped 19 points on No. 9 West Virginia, which came into Saturday’s game with KenPom’s No. 1 defense in the nation. Allen took advantage of the Mountaineers’ aggressive defensive style to get to the free throw line, where he went 9-for-9. He also passed out a career-high four assists in the game. In Florida’s one-point loss at Vanderbilt, Allen co-led the Gators with 16 points. Allen spearheaded UF’s furious late rally, scoring the Gators’ final 11 points over the last 32 seconds of the game. Allen had efficient numbers across the board this week, shooting .500 from the field, .559 from 3-point range and knocking down all 10 free throws.

Photo by Jamie H. Vaught (Tyler Ulis)

Photo by EKU Athletics (Mayo)


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