Men's Basketball 2011-2012 Season News

Motlow basketball players invited to prestigious

Juco Journal hoops camp

July 16, 2012

Nine Motlow Bucks basketball players, including five returning sophomores, two incoming transfers, and two redshirt freshman have been invited to the prestigious Juco Journal basketball camp in Crestview, Florida.

The 2012 Juco Journal Summer Invitational will be held at Crestview High School in late July. The camp annually attracts over 200 college basketball coaches from across the country.

Returning sophomores Raul Tutton, Jr., Sean Gardner, JC Bonny, Michael Tomlin, and Darryl Bond are among the invitees. All played significant minutes for head coach Jerry Nichols during the 2011-12 season, and all will be counted on for major contributions during the coming season.

In addition, redshirt freshman Christopher Hawkins has also been invited, despite sitting out last season at Motlow with a knee injury. Hawkins was highly recruited out of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin before being sidelined with the injury. He has completely recovered and has been working out throughout the summer.

Redshirt freshmen Andre Brown comes to Motlow from Austin Peay, where his was a walk-on but did not play last season. Brown averaged 27 points and 10 rebounds two years ago as a senior at Clarksville Northwest.

Incoming sophomore Kerrell Davis will also participate in the camp. Davis played his freshman season at Northwest Florida State College, part of the squad that finished runner-up to South Plains College, Texas in the NJCAA Tournament.

Another sophomore who has transferred to Motlow and will join in camp activities is center Sterling Smoak, who spent last season at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska.

Motlow did not have any players participate in the Juco Journal camp last season. In 2010 the Bucks sent returning all-state performers Freddie Goldstein, Zamarius McLendon, and Darryn Frazier to the Crestview Invitational event.

All three are preparing for their senior college seasons at four-year universities. McLendon and Frazier both were major contributors this past season at Francis Marion University in Florence, SC, while Goldstein was the second-leading scorer for the University of South Alabama.

Motlow hoops camp draws largest crowd in ten years

June 21, 2012

More than 70 area children recently spent three days on the Motlow College campus as part of head coach Jerry Nichols' 2012 Elite/Skills Basketball Camp. Nichols was also joined by the majority of student-athletes that will make up the 2012-13 Bucks basketball team.

Motlow College Photo
Rising sophomores Jeff Graham, Michael Tomlin, and Raul Tutton, Jr. teach shooting technique to Motlow basketball camp competitors. Motlow College photo.
"This year's camp was a huge success," said Nichols following Wednesday's final session. "This is by far the largest camp we have had here at Motlow in at least 10 years."

One of the reasons for the explosion in interest in Nichols' camp is that parents know when they bring their children to Copperweld Arena for camp the kids won't be wasting time. With almost 20 players helping instruct and teach, there is very little time spent watching and waiting.

"We have exposed the players to fundamental and advanced skills. We keep them busy, working station to station," continued Nichols. "Much our time is focused on individual ball handling skills, passing, rebounding, post play, one-on-one defense and offense tactics."

Anyone who has watched a Jerry Nichols-coached team play knows that hard work is a significant ingredient in his success. Those attending his camp learn the same work ethic.

"We stress the principles of working hard, which is underrated these days with our youth," added the coach. "They really can work harder than they realize because they have a lot of energy."

Although the primary goal of the annual camp is to give area kids an opportunity to learn solid basketball skills, Nichols also embraces the other benefits of having over 70 potential fans, plus the parents and family members who bring them, inside the arena.

"Hopefully we will build from this for the future," he concluded. "These kids will want to come and see the Motlow games to watch the players they know, and it's good for our players to be involved in the community, working with the youth."

Registration opens for Motlow Elite/Skills Basketball camp

May 29, 2012

Print registration form

Registration has begun for the 2012 Motlow College Elite/Skills Basketball Camp, scheduled to be held from June 18-20 at Copperweld Arena on the Moore County campus, according to Motlow head men's basketball coach Jerry Nichols.

Registration forms can be printed from here and mailed to Coach Nichols, or can be picked up at the Motlow basketball office inside Nisbett Center. For further information, contact the basketball office at 931.393.1620 or email Coach Nichols at [email protected].

The camp will be held from 9 a.m. until noon all three days and is designed for boys and girls ages 6-14. The cost is $50 per person, although discounts are available for families with multiple campers and for teams with eight or more players.

The curriculum is designed to be fun and challenging with an emphasis on basic basketball skills, fundamentals, and teamwork. The camp is designed to prepare players interested in playing at the high school and collegiate level.

Coach Nichols and his staff, along with Motlow basketball players, will instruct campers on ball handling, passing, shooting, rebounding, defense, and other specific basketball fundamentals. Space is limited, so campers are encouraged to register as soon as possible.

South Plains College Wins National Title

March 26, 2012

South Plains College (Texas) completed a perfect 36-0 season by winning the National Junior Community College Athletic Association championship with an 81-68 win over Northwest Florida State. Read the Story.

Bucks fall basket short of Gold Ball

March 12, 2012

The Motlow Bucks stood toe-to-toe with the Columbia State Chargers for 40 minutes, but when the final horn sounded the top-seeded Chargers had escaped the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament championship game with a 59-56 victory that sends them to Hutchinson, Kansas for the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) tournament.

"The guys played really hard and gave great effort during the tournament," said head coach Jerry Nichols, now 54-27 after three seasons in Lynchburg. "We are not satisfied with finishing second two years in a row, but it says a lot about our program for us to get to that point two straight years."

For the Bucks (17-11) it is a bitter pill to swallow, receiving the silver ball runner-up trophy for the second consecutive year. Motlow led 28-25 at halftime as freshman Sean Gardner hit an off-balance three pointer at the buzzer.

Motlow's Andrew Scofield hit a three-pointer with 58 seconds to play in the game to cut Columbia's four point lead to one. However, Charger guard Masceo Harmon, who led all scorers with 19 points, drained a bucket to extend the lead back to three with 30 seconds remaining.

John Taylor, who was named to the All-Tournament team along with Gardner, found the basket with 13 seconds left to again cut the lead to one at 57-56.

The Bucks then fouled Devonta James of Columbia State and James sank both free throws, setting up a final shot for the Bucks with the Chargers leading 59-56. Raul Tutton's three-point attempt didn't connect at the buzzer though, and the Chargers began their title celebration.

Head coach Jerry Nichols' third edition of the Bucks entered the tournament seeded sixth, but played throughout the weekend on a mission to avenge last year's loss to Chattanooga State in the finals. They came about as close as they could, beating third-seed Roane State 82-77 in Wednesday's second round and Cleveland State 81-74 in the semifinals.

"This sophomore class made two consecutive state title games so that is an accomplishment that they can be proud of," added Nichols. "The best thing about it is that all eight of our sophomores will graduate in May, and that is really why we are here is to help these young men graduate."

Motlow started the Columbia State game with a Tutton basket and with both teams shooting poorly early the Chargers led 4-3 with 15 minutes to play in the first half. Columbia's Kendall Jennings hit a three pointer with seven minutes gone to give the Chargers their biggest lead of the first half at 10-4.

But as they did all game, the Bucks responded. Tutton nailed a three pointer to cut the lead to 10-7, and Taylor's layup with 11 minutes left in the half gave the Bucks a 12-10 lead. Taylor finished with 14 points, while Tutton and Gardner each scored 13.

Another offensive rebound and put-back by Taylor gave the Bucks their biggest lead of the half at 14-10 after 10 minutes of play, but Columbia State's Greg McGee, who was later named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, scored two quick buckets and the Chargers once again led 18-14.

Tutton hit two free throws and a layup to once again tie the score at 21-21. Jennings was called for a technical foul with 30 second left in the half, and Scofield nailed both free throws to give Motlow a 25-24 lead. James hit a free throw to tie it at 25 before Gardner's off-balance three pointer gave the Bucks their 28-25 lead.

Motlow slowly increased its lead to as many as seven points a couple of times early in the second half, the last one coming with 17 minutes to play when Tutton's driving layup gave the Bucks a 34-27 lead. Harmon immediately responded with a three pointer to ignite the Chargers on an 11-0 run that left them leading 38-34 with 12 minutes remaining.

Taylor and Gardner scored baskets, then JC Bonny hit a pair of free throws and with 7:30 left to play the Bucks had cut the lead to 47-46. Again it was Harmon who answered, connecting on another three to increase the Columbia State lead to 50-46.

Gardner hit another three-pointer to cut the lead to 55-51 with two minutes to play, setting in motion the final 58 seconds that began with Scofield's three.

Motlow sophomore Ricky Tisdale, who missed the tournament with a leg injury, was named to the All-TCCAA second team along with Scofield. Roane State's Kinard Gadsen-Gilliard was named the Most Valuable Player for the season while Cleveland State's Nick Ross was named the top freshman.

Bucks Stay Steady, Advance to Title Game

March 9, 2012

The Motlow Bucks hit 10 consecutive free throws in the closing minutes to hold off Cleveland State 71-64 in the men's semifinals of the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament in Jackson. For the second consecutive year the Bucks will advance to the championship game.

Motlow (17-10) will battle top-seed Columbia State in the championship game, scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday at Jackson State Community College in Jackson. The winner advances to the national tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas.

The Bucks led 2-0 on a Michael Tomlin bucket in the first minute before Cleveland's Travis Jones, who led all scorers with 29 points, began to heat up. Jones hit three three-pointers to give the Cougars their largest lead of the game at 24-14 with seven minutes remaining in the half.

John Taylor then went to work for Motlow, scoring 10 points by intermission. Andrew Scofield hit a three-pointer with a minute to play in the first half to give the Bucks a 34-32 lead at intermission.

Tomlin, who finished with eight points, again hit the first basket of the half for Motlow and the Bucks never trailed in the final 20 minutes, although Cleveland pulled to within a point a number of times.

During the final minutes, with Jones continuing to score for the Cougars, it was Taylor, Andrew Scofield, and Sean Gardner sinking clutch free throws to give the Bucks the victory.

Taylor led the Bucks with 18 points while Gardner added 13. Tomlin and Raul Tutton, Jr. each scored eight points while Brandon Hunter added seven.

Balanced Bucks advance to second round of conference tournament

March 8, 2012

Sean Gardner scored 16 points and Brandon Hunter added 12 as the Motlow Bucks used depth and balanced scoring to beat Roane State 82-77 in the quarterfinals of the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament Wednesday night in Jackson, Tennessee.

The Bucks (16-10) went into the tournament seeded sixth, while Roane State (21-9) was seeded third. The two teams had split during the regular season, with each winning on their home floor.

Motlow will face Cleveland State (14-13) on Friday at 4 p.m. in a matchup of upset winners. The Cougars, seeded seventh, handed second-seed Southwest Tennessee a 93-80 defeat in a quarterfinal game on Wednesday.

2012 Men's tournament bracket.

The Bucks swept Cleveland State during the regular season, winning by seven at Copperweld Arena and by eight in Cleveland.

Nine different Bucks scored at least six points each for the Bucks, lead by Gardner and Hunter who were the only two in double figures. Raul Tutton, Jr. added nine, JC Bonny and Jeff Graham scored eight each, and Andrew Scofield, Chris Jordon, Darryl Bond, and Mike Tomlin each added six.

Gardner's driving layup not only went in the basket but drew a foul with 1:17 remaining and the freshman calmly went to the line and completed the three-point play to give the Bucks an 80-75 lead.

After a Raiders basket, Hunter was fouled and wrapped up one of his best games of the year by sinking both free throws to seal the win with 9.8 seconds remaining.

The Bucks led 49-40 at halftime, but the Raiders chipped away until they trailed by just one, 70-69, with five minutes to play. Bond and Hunter each scored baskets though, with Hunter adding a free throw to increase the lead back to 75-70 with 4:25 remaining. Roane State didn't get within a point again.

Listen live to Friday's semifinal contest on WHMT radio 105.1 FM, 740 AM,, and LightTUBe channel 11.

Bucks Face Roane State in Region VII Tournament Opener

March 5, 2012

The Motlow Bucks are seeded sixth for the upcoming TCCAA/Region VII Tournament and will open play on Wednesday when they face third-seed Roane State at 8 p.m. at Jackson State in Jackson. The contest can be heard live on WHMT radio (105.1 FM and 740 AM,, and LightTUBe channel 11 in Tullahoma).

2012 Men's Tournament Bracket

The Bucks (15-10, 9-9) and the Raiders (20-7, 11-5) split a pair of games this season with each winning on their home floor. Roane State beat the Bucks 81-69 on Dec. 10 in Harriman, and Motlow won a 64-61 decision as part of its homecoming celebration on Feb. 11 at Copperweld Arena.

The tournament begins on Tuesday with a pair of 'play-in' contests, with the two winners advancing into the eight-team bracket. Walters State and Volunteer State open play at 2 p.m., followed by Cleveland State against Dyersburg State.

The Cleveland/Dyersburg winner advances to play the second seed, Southwest Tennessee, and if Motlow can beat Roane State then the Bucks will draw the winner of that contest on Friday at 4 p.m. with an opportunity to advance to the finals.

Columbia State (12-4, 15-6) is the top seed in a league that has been very balanced all season. No single team has been dominant, and last season's champion Chattanooga State enters the tournament as the fifth seed.

A 2012 champion will be crowned on Saturday at 2 p.m. and will receive a bid to the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas.

The Bucks will be without leading scorer Ricky Tisdale, who continues to be hobbled by a lower-body injury that caused him to miss the final two weeks of the regular season. Freshman Sean Gardner, who averages 10 points per game, and sophomore Andrew Scofield, who averages 8.1 will be called on to increase their offensive output.

Bucks fall to Jackson State in final seconds

February 27, 2012

The Motlow Bucks stormed from seven points down to take a one-point lead with three minutes to play, only to see Jackson State connect on 18-19 second half free throws and sneak out of Copperweld Arena with a 75-73 win on Saturday.

The loss leaves the Bucks (15-10, 9-9) as either the fifth or sixth seed heading into the TCCAA/Region VII Tournament next week, which will be played at Jackson State's home court in Jackson. Brackets will be released this week by the TCCAA conference office.

Saturday's contest, played in front of a large crowd on a day when the Bucks' seven sophomores were recognized for their significant contributions as students and as athletes, was a classic back-and-forth affair with the lead changing hands consistently throughout the afternoon.

The Generals led 12-9 after four minutes and 24-21 after 11 minutes. Motlow's Darryl Bond converted an old-fashioned three-point play to tie the score at 24 with 8:45 to play in the first half. The Bucks biggest lead came at 35-32 when Rashad Davis nailed a three pointer, one of three on the day for Davis, with one minutes left to play in the first half.

The visitors came right back though and took a 39-35 lead into the intermission. After the break Motlow tied the score at 40-40 90 seconds into the second half before falling behind 48-41 with 15 minutes left to play.

Again the Bucks fought back to grab a 54-53 lead with 11 minutes left to play, but a minute later the visitors again led by three at 61-58. Motlow's Bryan Thomas converted a three-point play to give Motlow its final lead at 71-70 before the Generals foul-line parade proved too much for the home team to overcome.

Every Motlow player scored during the contest, led by a pair of freshmen as J.C. Bonny scored 12 and Sean Gardner had 11. Davis and Chris Jordan each had nine points, while Derek Triplett added seven. Jordan and Gardner pulled down six rebound each, with Gardner also adding three assists.

Jackson State connected on 26-32 free throws during the game, while the home team hit 18-24 attempts. The visitors were led by Jeremy Purvis with 21 points, including four three-pointers and Davell Lloyd with 14 points. Johnny Williams scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds.

Chargers Race Past Bucks

February 23, 2012

The Motlow Bucks led early 9-8 before visiting Columbia State went on an 18-4 run to grab a 26-13 lead with nine minutes left to play in the first half on their way to an 81-66 win over Motlow at Copperweld Arena Wednesday night. The Bucks (15-9, 9-8) will close the regular season by hosting Jackson State on Saturday at 4 p.m. Motlow's sophomore players will be honored prior to the men's contest.

The Bucks turned the ball over 21 times, with the Chargers (16-6, 13-4) converting many of those turnovers into fast-break dunks and three-pointers. Columbia State led by as many as 19 points, 73-54, with five minutes remaining.

Michael Tomlin led Motlow with 12 points, while Raul Tutton, Jr. scored 11 and Sean Gardner had 10. Gardner collected a team-high eight rebounds and dished out three assists. Brandon Hunter and Darryl Bond each had five rebounds, while Andrew Scofield scored seven points and had four rebounds and three assists.

Streaking Bucks, Chargers Square Off Wednesday at Motlow

February 20, 2012

The Motlow Bucks will put their five-game winning streak on the line Wednesday night when Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) leader Columbia State visits Copperweld Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.

The Bucks (15-8, 9-7) extended their winning streak to five with an 84-75 victory over Dyersburg State this past Saturday in Dyersburg. The victory avenged a 78-75 loss to the Eagles back on Jan. 21 at Copperweld Arena.

Point guard Brandon Hunter had his best day as a Buck on Saturday, scoring 10 points while pulling down seven rebounds and dishing out seven assists. Raul Tutton, Jr. led the Bucks with 17 points and also added four rebounds.

Columbia State (15-6, 12-4) can clinch the conference championship and the top seed at the upcoming TCCAA/Region VII Tournament with a win. The Bucks can play spoiler, increasing their chances for a higher seed, with a victory over the Chargers.

Motlow beat Columbia State 55-41 back on Nov. 11 in Columbia, but the Chargers are currently riding a seven-game winning streak, including a 68-62 win over Jackson State on Saturday.

Although the Bucks cannot repeat the regular season conference championship that they won a year ago, they are still in excellent position to finish among the top four teams heading into the tournament, scheduled to begin March 6 in Jackson.

Motlow will conclude the regular season when it hosts Jackson State on Saturday, Feb. 25, with tipoff scheduled for 4 p.m. at Copperweld Arena. Sophomore basketball players will be recognized during a special ceremony between the men's and women's contest.

Bucks Capture Fourth Consecutive Win

February 16, 2012

The Motlow Bucks continued their late-season climb up the TCCAA standings with a hard-fought 67-64 win over the Southwest Tennessee Saluqis in Memphis Wednesday night. The victory was the fourth straight for the Bucks (14-8, 8-7). Motlow will play its final regular season road game when it travels to Dyersburg to take on Dyersburg State this Saturday, with tipoff scheduled for 4 p.m.

Sean Gardner led the Bucks with 14 points, while Andrew Scofield scored 12 and John Taylor had seven points and nine rebounds. The Bucks shot 52% from the field, helping overcome 18 turnovers, and hit 20-32 free throws.

Bucks Celebrate Homecoming with Sweep

February 13, 2012

Andrew Scofield and J.C. Bonny combined for 19 second-half points, including six critical free throws in the final minutes as the Motlow Bucks sent a homecoming crowd home happy with a 64-61 win over Roane State at Copperweld Arena Saturday afternoon.

The win for the Bucks (13-8, 7-7) came on the heels of a 59-53 win over Walters State at home Friday night, giving the Bucks three consecutive wins as they head into the final four-game stretch of the regular season beginning with a trip to Memphis and a battle against Southwest Tennessee on Wednesday, Feb. 15, with tipoff scheduled for 8 p.m.

Roane State (19-8, 11-6) jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first 3:30 of Saturday's contest before Collierville freshman Sean Gardner connected on a pair of three-point shots to jump-start the Motlow offense, giving the Bucks a 12-10 lead with 13:20 to play in the first half.

Motlow's biggest lead of the first half was 18-12 with 11 minutes remaining, but the talented Raiders battled back to close the gap to 33-31 in Motlow's favor at intermission. Gardner scored 10 points in the first half to lead the Bucks.

The Raiders tied the game at 33 in the first minute of the second half, only to see Motlow once again pull ahead, leading 44-37 with 14:45 to play after Bonny hit his first shot of the game from behind the three-point line.

From there it was primarily Bonny and Scofield who kept the Bucks in position to get the win, despite the visitors closing the gap to one point with a minute remaining. Both were clutch down the stretch, with Scofield nailing four clutch free throws, including a pair with 10 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

Motlow was led by Gardner with 14 points, with Scofield adding 10 and Bonny nine. Roane State's Jonathan Maybank led all scorers with 18 points.

Friday night against Walters State it was Motlow that got off to a fast start, leading the visitors 10-4 in the first five minutes and 19-6 with 11:30 left in the first half following an old-fashioned three-point play by point guard Brandon Hunter.

Motlow stretched the lead to 26-13 with 3:30 left in the first half, but the visiting Senators closed the gap to 26-18 at intermission. Nine different players scored in the first half for the Bucks, led by Bryan Thomas with five points.

Walters State (11-14, 4-11) took advantage of Motlow turnovers as the second half began, finally tying the score at 30-30 with 14:15 remaining. Walters State's Hall of Fame coach Bill Carlyle picked up a technical foul with 12:44 remaining and the Bucks leading 34-32.

The calculated move by the crafty Carlyle had the desired effect as the Senators took a 44-40 lead with 7:30 left to play. The Bucks responded behind Gardner, who connected on three three-point shots in the second half.

As was the case on Saturday, the Bucks hit critical free throws down the stretch, including a pair by Michael Tomlin and Raul Tutton, Jr., and three by Hunter. Scofield finally sealed the win by hitting a pair with 55 seconds to play, giving the Bucks a 54-49 lead.

Unofficially, thirteen different Bucks got on the scoreboard Friday night, with none scoring in double figures. Gardner led the way with nine and also pulled down five rebounds. Tomlin has six points and six boards, and Hunter scored six points with three rebounds and three assists.

Bucks Break Skid in Cleveland

February 6, 2012

Sophomore point guard Ricky Tisdale flirted with a triple-double in leading the Motlow Bucks to a 60-52 win over Cleveland State Saturday afternoon in Cleveland. Tisdale scored 16 points and added eight rebounds and six assists.

The victory broke a four-game losing streak for the Bucks (11-8, 5-7), and came on the heels of a 76-63 loss to Chattanooga State Friday night in Chattanooga.

Motlow will now turn its attention to a critical pair of contests scheduled for this weekend at Copperweld Arena. The Bucks host Walters State Friday night at 8 p.m., then celebrate homecoming by hosting Roane State on Saturday afternoon. Festivities begin at 1 p.m., with the men scheduled to tipoff at 4 p.m.

Friday night in Chattanooga the Bucks led the Tigers 32-31 at halftime before their shooting touch went cold. Motlow finished the contest shooting 37% from the field and only 63% from the free-throw line.

Freshman forward Michael Tomlin recorded his first double-double as a Buck, leading the team with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocked shots. J.C. Bonny added 15 points and Tisdale scored nine. The Bucks had only five assists during the contest but turned the ball over 14 times.

Saturday's win over Cleveland State was keyed by Tisdale and featured a better shooting performance by the Bucks. Motlow connected on 46% of its shots and hit 13-18 free throws, overcoming 16 turnovers in the process.

John Taylor joined Tisdale in double-figure scoring with 10 points and added a pair of steals, while Sean Gardner and Raul Tutton, Jr. each pulled down six rebounds.

Walters State has struggled recently, much like the Bucks, while Roane State has surged into a battle for the top spot in the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) standings.

Motlow beat Walters State 68-57 back on Dec. 9 in Morristown, then lost to Roane State 81-69 the following day in Harriman.

Pioneers Come From Behind to Drop Bucks

January 30, 2012

Visiting Volunteer State rode a 30-point, 14-rebound performance by sophomore Hunter Harris to a come-from-behind 69-62 win over the Motlow Bucks Saturday afternoon at Copperweld Arena. The defeat was the fourth consecutive conference loss for Motlow.

The Bucks (10-7, 4-6) will attempt to get back on the winning track when they travel to Chattanooga State this Friday night and Cleveland State on Saturday. The next home game is Friday, Feb. 10, when Walters State visits for an 8 p.m. tipoff.

The Pioneers and Bucks battled evenly in the first half, with multiple ties and lead changes, before the Bucks went into the intermission leading by two 30-28. Motlow extended its lead to 40-33 with 14 minutes remaining before Harris took over, scoring 19 points in the second half including 11-11 free throws.

A 13-4 run by the visitors turned the 40-33 Motlow lead into a 46-44 Volunteer State lead with 9:30 left to play. The Bucks would never get closer than three points the rest of the way.

Derek Triplett led the Bucks with 13 points, including three three-pointers. Andrew Scofield added 11 points and barely missed a double-double with nine rebounds while also collecting four steals. Ricky Tisdale dished out a team-high four assists.

Motlow hit only 13-22 free throws and committed 16 turnovers. The Bucks had one of their worst shooting days of the season, connecting on 38% of their shots from the field, including 3-20 from three-point range.

Bucks Face Uphill Climb after Tough Weekend

The Motlow Bucks entered the weekend confident after winning six of their previous seven games overall and five of their six home games this season. However, a pair of Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) losses dimmed the prospects of finishing in the top-half of the conference standings.

Southwest Tennessee (9-4, 6-3) entered Friday night's contest at Copperweld Arena tied with the Bucks in the conference standings and left in sole possession of third place with a hard-fought 96-93 overtime victory. Dyersburg State followed that up with a 78-75 upset of the Bucks Saturday afternoon in front of the largest crowd of the season.

The Bucks (10-6, 4-5) will have a week to regroup and get healthy before hosting the Volunteer State Pioneers (12-7, 3-6) on Saturday, Jan. 28, with tipoff scheduled for 4 p.m. The Pioneers dropped an 86-83 decision to Southwest Tennessee on Saturday after drubbing Dyersburg State 104-77 Friday night in Gallatin.

Friday's contest against Southwest at Copperweld Arena was a classic back-and-forth affair, with the largest lead of the game coming at the 6:30 mark of the first half and the Bucks on top 34-24 following a Ricky Tisdale three-pointer. The visitors went on a 9-0 run to close the gap to 34-33, and went into the halftime locker room leading 43-41.

Motlow took its first lead of the second half when freshman J.C. Bonny nailed a three-pointer for a 59-58 lead with 11:30 remaining in regulation. Bonny connected on his second clutch three-pointer with 5:40 remaining to give his team a 70-69 lead.

The Saluqis then went on an 8-2 run for a 77-72 lead with 3:00 remaining. Derek Triplett nailed a three-pointer with 53 seconds showing on the clock to pull the Bucks within 81-78. Southwest led 87-84 until Motlow's final possession, when Tisdale rose up and calmly sank a three-point shot as the buzzer sounded to send the game into overtime.

The overtime period saw the visitors step to the free-throw line and hit clutch shots, sandwiched around an Antwon Oliver three-pointer, to hang on for the win. Motlow got four points from Sean Gardner in the extra period, but three turnovers proved too costly for the home team to overcome.

Gardner led Motlow with 20 points and also pulled down five rebounds. Tisdale gave tremendous effort with 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Triplett scored 14 points, including a pair of three-points, and Bonny scored 13.

Marshon Newell led the Saluqis with 26 points while Oliver added 18 to lead five double-figure scorers for the visitors. Southwest Tennessee connected on 24-30 free throws while the home team hit 24-33 from the charity stripe. Motlow turned the ball over 23 times, while forcing only seven turnovers by Southwest.

Saturday against Dyersburg (3-11, 2-7) the Bucks, playing without injured post players Mike Tomlin and John Taylor, trailed for much of the first half before heading into the intermission with a 33-32 lead.

The last lead for Motlow came at the 8:41 mark when the Bucks went up by four, 59-55. However the visitors, led by Jake Martin's back-to-back three pointers, surged back on top 62-61 with 6:50 remaining and never trailed again.

Tisdale led the Bucks with 16 points, while Bonny and Andrew Scofield added 12 each. Gardner was held to only two free throws but did contribute six rebounds. The Bucks hit 17-27 free throws, while Dyersburg State connected on 15-16 attempts from the charity stripe. Martin led the visitors with 13 points, with 11 coming in the second half.

Bucks Begin New Year With Win

The Motlow Bucks overcame a five-week layoff and began the second half of their season on a winning note with a 74-67 win over West Georgia Tech on Tuesday, Jan. 17 in Oxford, Georgia. Motlow will host Southwest Tennessee on Friday, Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. at Copperweld Arena.

Sean Gardner led the Bucks with 21 points, including 3-7 three-point shots, and added four rebounds and three steals. John Taylor had his third double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and pulling down 13 rebounds.

Ricky Tisdale added seven points and a team-high five assists, while Darryl Bond scored six points and pulled down eight rebounds. The Bucks connected on 25-36 free throws, had 49 rebounds, and committed only nine turnovers.

Bucks in Position for Title Race

The Motlow Bucks are in position to challenge for the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) regular season championship as they prepare to resume their season with a trip to non-conference rival West Georgia Tech in Oxford, Georgia on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

The Bucks (9-4, 4-3) are currently tied with Southwest Tennessee for fourth place in the conference. Motlow will host the Saluqis on Friday, Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. at Copperweld Arena in the first conference and home game of the new year.

Jackson State (6-2, 10-2) stands alone in first place, just one half game ahead of Chattanooga State and Roane State who have identical 5-2, 9-3 records. The Bucks will host Jackson State in the regular season finale on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m. The Generals handed the Bucks an 86-70 defeat on Nov. 12 in Jackson.

Seven of Motlow's remaining 11 conference games will be played on the home court in Moore County, where the Bucks have won five of six games. Motlow's only home loss came against non-conference opponent Wallace State back on Nov. 5.

The Bucks have been led by sophomore point guard Ricky Tisdale, who averages almost 12 points per game. The Bolivar High School alumnus is among the conference leaders in three-point shooting, hovering near 50%, and averages over three assists per game.

Collierville freshman Sean Gardner joins Tisdale in the backcourt and has steadily improved, raising his scoring average to 9.6 points per game. Gardner joins Tisdale in leading the Bucks with 1.3 steals per game.

Huntsville sophomore Andrew Scofield has provided a consistent spark for the Bucks, often as the first man off the bench. Scofield is sixth in the conference in three-point shooting at 45% and has averaged over eight points per game.

Sophomore transfer John Taylor has emerged as Motlow's top post player, leading the inside game with nine points per game. Taylor is among the state's top players in shooting percentage, connecting on over 65% of his shot attempts. He leads Motlow from the foul line with a 76% accuracy rate and in rebounding by averaging 5.4 boards per contest.

Redshirt freshman Darryl Bond has also provided a strong inside presence with his almost five rebounds per contest, while fellow post player Michael Tomlin also averages almost five boards per game and has connected on 69% of his field goal attempts, the top shooting percentage in the state. Tomlin leads the Bucks with 13 blocked shots.

Motlow will celebrate its 2012 Homecoming when it hosts Roane State on Saturday, Feb. 11 at Copperweld Arena.

Bucks Snare Rare Win at Walters State

The Motlow Bucks closed the first half on a 15-0 run and never trailed again on their way to a 68-57 Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) win over the Walters State Senators on Friday, Dec. 9 in Morristown. The following day the Bucks, fighting fatigue in the second half, dropped an 81-69 decision to Roane State in Harriman.

The Bucks (9-4, 4-3) will now have five weeks without games during the holidays, resuming play on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, when they travel to Oxford, Georgia for a pair of non-conference contests against West Georgia Tech. Motlow resumes TCCAA play at home, hosting Southwest Tennessee on Friday, Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. at Copperweld Arena.

In Morristown on Friday night at 'Z' Buda Gymnasium, Motlow got off to a great start by connecting on three early three-point shots and jumping out in front 11-4. Walters State (7-7, 3-4) responded with a run of its own, outscoring the Bucks 15-4 to take a 19-15 lead midway through the first half.

The Walters State lead swelled to nine, 25-16, before Motlow's 15-0 spurt gave the Bucks a 31-25 halftime advantage. Sean Gardner and John Taylor led the Bucks in the first half with eight points each.

The Bucks built a 53-39 lead in the second half before the Senators responded, hitting a pair of three pointers to pull within 59-51 with 4:51 left to play. From that point until the end, each time the Senators attempted to pull closer, Motlow sophomore Andrew Scofield seemed to hit a big shot at just the right time to keep the Bucks in the lead.

Gardner led the Bucks with 13 points; with sophomore post John Taylor adding 10. Motlow shot 45% from the field during the contest and held a 39-33 advantage on the boards.

Davante Hamlett led the Senators with 12 points, while Brock Southerland added 10. The Bucks had a strong defensive effort, holding Walters State to only 37% shooting.

Saturday afternoon in Harriman seemed to show a Bucks squad suffering from fatigue as a result of the previous evening's battle. Although Motlow tied the contest at 18-18 with 11 minutes remaining in the first half, Roane State (9-3, 5-2) was basically in control of the contest most of the way.

Motlow never led against the Raiders, and following that early tie the closest the Bucks got the rest of the first half was when they pulled within a point at 32-31 following a pair of big three-pointers, the first from Sean Gardner and the second from Bryan Thomas.

From that point the home team outscored the Bucks 13-3, taking a 45-34 lead into the locker room at intermission.

Motlow began the second half on a 5-0 run, and when Taylor hit a layup the Roane State lead was cut to 45-41 and it appeared the Bucks were back in the game. But the Raiders responded, surging back out to a 49-41 lead with 16 minutes left to play.

To the Bucks credit they refused to fold. Taylor converted an old-fashioned three-point play to pull Motlow within 49-46. Freshman JC Bonny hit a huge bucket to finally pull the Bucks even at 51-51 with 13 minutes left. The contest was tied at 53-53 with 12 minutes remaining when the wheels began to fall off for the visiting Bucks.

Roane State surged back ahead 63-53 with just over nine minutes remaining when Bonny gave Motlow its final flicker of hope with a steal and slam dunk, pulling the Bucks within 63-56 with 7:44 left to play.

That proved to be the closest Motlow would get as Roane State sank its free throws at the end to seal the home victory. Sophomore Cedric Clinkscales led the Raiders with 14 points, while Raul Tutton, Jr. and Gardner led the Bucks with 10 points each.

Thank you to Walters State Sports Information Director Matt Daniels for his assistance with this story.

Bucks Hold Off Defending Champ Tigers

The Motlow Bucks allowed a 20-point lead to slip away before regaining their balance and beating the nationally-ranked and defending Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) champion Chattanooga State Tigers 83-81 Friday night at Copperweld Arena.

Motlow (8-3, 3-2) followed that impressive win with another victory on Saturday as the Bucks beat visiting Cleveland State 87-80. The Motlow men have now won four consecutive games since an 81-74 loss to Volunteer State on November 19 in Gallatin.

"I am really pleased with the effort that our guys gave this weekend in getting these two wins," said Bucks head coach Jerry Nichols. "It's always important to win your conference home games in this league because it is so tough to win on the road."

The Bucks and Lady Bucks will finish the first half of the season with their annual northeast Tennessee road trip, visiting Walters State in Morristown on Friday, Dec. 9, then facing Roane State in Harriman on Saturday, Dec. 10.

"Motlow has always had a tough time winning at Walters State and at Roane State," continued Nichols, who was an All-American player at Walters State. "Hopefully we can go up there this weekend and play well. Road wins are huge in conference play."

Friday night the visiting Tigers entered the contest ranked 27th nationally by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and sporting a 6-1 overall record. Chattanooga State is also the defending state champion, having beaten the Bucks 83-73 in last season's TCCAA tournament championship game.

The Tigers jumped out front early, leading Motlow 19-14 with 12:55 remaining in the first half. The Bucks then exploded on a 23-3 run, taking a 37-22 lead with less than five minutes to play in the half. The Tigers survived the quick assault by the Bucks, and the two teams entered the locker room with Motlow leading 48-35.

The Bucks began the second half on another quick scoring burst and increased their lead to 18 points, 61-43, with 15:30 left to play. The Tigers then had a run of their own, outscoring Motlow 18-6 over the next five minutes to pull within 68-61 with 10:35 remaining.

The visitors continued to inch closer and closer until they finally tied the contest in the final minute at 81-81. Bucks' sophomore point guard Ricky Tisdale saved the day for the Bucks though, hitting an off-balance shot in the final seconds to seal the victory. Chattanooga had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but their shot was off the mark.

Andrew Scofield led the Bucks with 17 points, connecting on 5-6 three-point shots. Sean Gardner scored 15 points and had five rebounds and three assists, while Derek Triplett returned for the first time in a month and scored 11 points and pulled down three rebounds.

On Saturday against Cleveland State the Bucks led the entire contest. Each time the visitors would edge closer, the Bucks would quickly extend their lead once again. Free throw shooting was a key for Motlow, connecting on 18-25 shots from the charity stripe.

JC Bonny led Motlow with 16 points, connecting on 4-6 field goals and 6-7 free throws. Tisdale scored 11 points and added four rebounds and three assists. John Taylor and Michael Tomlin provided a strong inside presence, with Taylor scoring 14 points and pulling down seven boards and Tomlin adding 11 points and four boards.

"We are getting better and that is encouraging," added Nichols. "Fatigue is always a factor on Saturday when we play these back-to-back conference games. Our defense was a key against Cleveland as we held their top scorer to 16 points."

Bucks Race past West Georgia Tech

The Motlow Bucks rode the second-half heroics of sophomores John Taylor and Andrew Scofield to a thrilling 105-100 win over visiting non-conference foe West Georgia Tech on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at Copperweld Arena.

John Taylor
John Taylor scored 29 points to lead the Bucks past West Georgia Tech
Taylor, a sophomore from Hendersonville, scored 16 points in the first half, including the first eight on his way to a 29-point, nine-rebound performance. Scofield, a second-year player from Huntsville, had 13 second half points including a huge three-pointer in the final minutes that gave the Bucks the lead for good.

The Bucks (5-3, 1-2) needed every point they could get to overcome a superb performance by West Georgia Tech's Demontray McCormick, who lit up the scoreboard for 39 points, including 21 in the second half.

Motlow will break for the Thanksgiving Holiday before returning to action on Tuesday, Nov. 29 with a trip to Hanceville, Alabama to face Wallace State. The Bucks and Lady Bucks return home for a pair of conference games next weekend, hosting Chattanooga State on Friday and Cleveland State on Saturday.

Taylor got Motlow started strong with his first four baskets as the Bucks jumped out front 13-11 in the first four minutes. JC Bonny and Bryan Thomas each came off the bench and nailed a pair of three-point shots in the first 20 minutes to help the Bucks take an 11-point lead with nine minutes left in the first half. The lead stood at eight, 57-49, at intermission.

The visiting Golden Knights began chipping away at the lead after the half, finally tying the score at 74-74 with 10:40 remaining. One minute later Blair Austin, who finished with 20 points for the visitors, sank a bucket to give his team its only lead at 78-77 with 9:38 left to play.

It was Scofield who then nailed a three-pointer to push the home team back on top as the Bucks went on an 11-3 run to grab an 88-81 lead with 7:32 remaining. West Georgia Tech didn't fade away though as Tory White sank five straight free throws and a pair of baskets in the final minutes to keep his team close.

Taylor sank seven of eight free throws in the closing minutes to keep Motlow's lead between two and five points until the clock ran out on the visitors from Oxford, Georgia, ending what was easily the most entertaining contest of this young basketball season.

Scofield finished the night with 17 points, joined in double figures by Taylor with his 29 and Bonny, who scored all 10 of his points in the first half, and Thomas, who also finished with 10. Taylor led the way with his nine rebounds, while Ricky Tisdale dished out a team-high six assists.

Motlow sank 22-30 free throws on the night, while the visitors were impressive in sinking 25-29 free throws, with the only misses coming by a fatigued McCormick in the final minutes.

Bucks Survive Nashville All-Stars

The Motlow Bucks connected on 22 of 28 free throw attempts in the second half to pull away from the Nashville All-Stars and capture a 91-73 victory in a wild, foul-filled contest at Copperweld Arena on Wednesday night.

The Bucks (4-2, 1-1) will now step back into Tennessee Community College Athletic Association play with a trip to rival Volunteer State in Gallatin on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m., with radio and internet coverage provided by WHMT 105.1 and

The next home contest is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 22, with non-conference foe West Georgia Tech scheduled to visit for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff at Copperweld Arena.

Motlow jumped out early against the All-Stars, which consisted of only five players. Among the five was former Franklin County star Robert Mosley and former Columbia Central All-State football player Fred Sparkman.

The Bucks, behind 10 first-half points from Collierville freshman Sean Gardner, jumped out to a 26-13 lead in the first 11 minutes. However, All-Star guard Justin Bullet scored a five-point flurry late to pull the visitors to within 40-31 at intermission.

Ricky Tisdale, Brandon Hunter, J.C. Bonny, Darryl Bond, and Gardner combined to sink all 17 of their free throws in the second half to help secure the win. The closest the visitors got was 40-35 with 18:30 left to play.

Unofficially, Gardner led the way with 16 points and was joined in double figures by Tisdale, Andrew Scofield, and Bond, who each had 10 points. Bond had his second double-double of the season by adding 10 rebounds.

Bullet ended the night as the game's top scorer with 31 points for the visiting All-Stars.

Bucks Beat Nationally-Ranked Columbia State

Sophomore point guard Ricky Tisdale converted a rare four-point play to ignite the Motlow Bucks to an 18-2 run early in the first half on their way to a 55-41 victory over the nationally-ranked Columbia State Chargers on Friday, Nov. 11 in Columbia. The game was the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association opener for both teams.

Motlow (3-2, 1-1) then traveled to Jackson State on Saturday night and dropped a disappointing 86-70 decision to the Generals. The Bucks will host the Nashville All-Stars on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at Copperweld Arena in a non-conference tilt, with tipoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The Bucks beat the All-Stars 117-71 in the season opener on Nov. 1.

"We really played well on the defensive side tonight," said Motlow head coach Jerry Nichols following the win over Columbia State. "To hold an explosive team like the Chargers to 41 points is pretty strong. I'm proud of our defensive effort."

The 41 points allowed by Motlow ties the record for the third fewest points ever allowed by a Bucks team. Motlow allowed Hiwassee 41 points on February 4, 2009. The all-time low point total was set last season when Motlow allowed Bryan College only 26 points on January 18, 2011.

The Chargers entered the season as the 15th-ranked team in the nation according to the National Junior College Athletic Association. The team showed how they achieved that rank as they jumped out in front 6-2 in the first three minutes.

Tisdale, who had 10 points, six rebounds, and three assists on the night, quickly turned the momentum Motlow's way when he nailed a long three-pointer and converted the free throw to tie the score at six.

Two minutes later, with Motlow holding a narrow 11-8 lead, Columbia head coach Jay Joyner was hit with a technical foul with 13:15 showing on the first half game clock after his team was called for a foul. The Bucks converted all four free throws.

Motlow sophomore Andrew Scofield ended the run with one of his three three-point shots with 7:10 remaining in the first half to give the Bucks a 20-8 lead. Scofield led Motlow with 14 points and six rebounds.

Columbia State fought back and trailed by only one point with 2:10 remaining before intermission, but the visiting Bucks extended the lead to 28-24 at halftime.

Tisdale once again ignited the Motlow offense, nailing a three-pointer to give the Bucks a 35-26 leads with 17:10 remaining. The lead remained in a comfortable 8-12 point range until the final horn sounded.

Jeff Graham had a solid outing for Motlow with eight points and five rebounds, while Christopher Hawkins scored four and pulled down six rebounds while dishing out three assists.

Kyle Carter led Columbia State with 11 points, while Devonte' James scored nine and Jujuan Williams added eight.

The Bucks were unable to maintain the same intensity the following night in Jackson as the home team enjoyed a constant parade to the foul line, shooting over 30 free throws in the first half alone. Hawkins and Tisdale led the Bucks against Jackson State with 16 points each.

Bucks' Backs Broken by Buzzer Beater

The crowd stood in stunned silence late Saturday afternoon at Copperweld Arena, unable to immediately process what it had just witnessed, while the Wallace State Lions celebrated their unlikely 61-59 win over the Motlow Bucks.

Photo by Jeff Reed Photography
Freshman JC Bonny drives against the Wallace State defense. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
After Bucks sophomore point guard Ricky Tisdale broke a 58-58 tie by connecting on a free throw with 3.9 seconds remaining the home crowd, which had been loud and rowdy for much of the evening, cut loose with a thundering roar.

However, the celebration proved to be premature as superb Wallace State point guard Jay Murphy caught a pass in motion 27 feet from the basket and connected with nothing but net as the final buzzer sounded, giving his team a significant road victory.

The Bucks (1-1) battled the taller Lions (1-1) from a deficit for much of the afternoon, with Wallace State taking a quick 8-2 lead. Motlow fought back for its first lead at 19-18 with 6:42 left in the half on a Rashad Davis three-point shot.

Wallace pulled away towards the end of the first 20 minutes, taking a 30-22 lead into the locker room. Shooting guard Jeremy McKay was the spark for the visitors early, connecting on three three-point shots and scoring 13 points before the break.

Tisdale, who was held scoreless in the first half, had seven points early including a three-point shot that gave Motlow a 35-34 lead with 17 minutes remaining in the contest. Wallace State took control once again though and led 50-43 with 9:30 left to play.

The Bucks, behind Tisdale and John Taylor, fought back once again and took their last lead at 58-56 on the second of Davis' three-point shots with 1:12 left to play. The visitors tied the game with 18 seconds remaining, putting the final sequence of events in motion.

Tisdale led the Bucks in scoring with 11 points, with Andrew Scofield adding 10 and Davis scoring nine. Taylor scored seven points and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.

McKay led the Lions with 18 points, followed by Murphy and Jaquise Moore with 11 points each.

Motlow connected on 17-33 free throws, while the visiting team made 20-32 from the charity stripe.

Early Flurry Ignites Bucks to Opening Rout

Sophomore Rashad Davis hit four three-point shots in the first five minutes, sparking the Motlow Bucks to a season-opening 117-71 win over the Nashville All-Stars on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at Copperweld Arena in Moore County.

The Bucks (1-0) will host Wallace State from Hanceville, Alabama, on Saturday, Nov. 5. The women's contest is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m., with the men to follow at approximately 4:00 p.m.

"We will have to play better defense in order to compete for the goals we have set for ourselves this season," said head coach Jerry Nichols. "In fact, we will have to be better to beat Wallace State on Saturday."

The Lady Bucks were scheduled to open their regular season against the Nashville All-Star women on Tuesday night as well, but the visitors did not have enough players. Saturday's contest with Wallace State will be the Lady Bucks' season opener.

A large crowd was on hand when the men's team tipped off the new season, anticipating Nichols' third edition of the Bucks. The crowd was not disappointed as Motlow put on a variety show of three-pointers, no-look passes, and thunderous dunks.

Led by Davis' quick start the home team never trailed, jumping out to a 15-6 lead as Andrew Scofield added a three pointer to the four early Davis baskets. The All-Stars pulled to within 20-17 with 14 minutes left in the first half, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the night.

The Bucks hit eight three-point shots in the first half and went into the locker room at intermission leading 64-41. The lead continued to expand in the second half as the fast-paced tempo of the Bucks wore down the visitor's defense.

Bryan Thomas, a 6-3 freshman from Norcross, Georgia, led the Bucks in scoring with 18 points, including 11 in the first half. Redshirt freshman Darryl Bond had a double-double in his first game as a Buck, scoring 16 points while pulling down 14 rebounds.

Collierville freshman Sean Gardner joined Davis with 14 points apiece, while sophomore Andrew Scofield led the Bucks with eight assists and added four steals to his 11 points.

Gardner had a team-high five steals, while sophomore Ricky Tisdale and Bond added three steals each with Tisdale dishing out six assists.

The one weakness for the Bucks other than defense came at the free-throw line, where Motlow connected on only 6-17 attempts.

Center Prince Roschell led the visitors with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while former Motlow Buck Torrez Hampton added 17 points and former Tullahoma Wildcat Chad Rusk scored seven.

Bucks Focused on Unfinished Business

As the clock ticked down to zero in the championship game of the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA)/Region VII Tournament in Dyersburg last March, Motlow Bucks head coach Jerry Nichols knew his team had missed an opportunity to win the school's first state tournament title since the 1983-84 season.

Chris Jordon. Photo by Jeff Reed
Sophomore center Chris Jordon can play above the rim. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
His mission during the next six months is to complete that objective.

"Our theme heading into this season is unfinished business," said Nichols as the 2011-12 edition of the Bucks begins official practice this week. "We want that gold ball, and we were so close last year we could almost taste it. This year we are committed to winning the title. We aren't going to run from saying it. That's our goal."

The Bucks open the season on Tuesday, Nov. 1, when the Nashville All-Stars visit Copperweld Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30pm, or about 20 minutes following the women's contest. Admission to Copperweld Arena is free. Official preseason practice begins Oct. 1.

Heading into his third season as head coach, Nichols and his teams have enjoyed outstanding individual and team success. The team won the regular season conference championship last year, and set a school record with 14 consecutive victories. Nichols was named the TCCAA coach of the year.

Individually, Motlow graduated the school's only two-time All-American in Freddie Goldstein. The Bucks also featured post player Zamarius McClendon, who was named the national player of the week, and guard Darryn Frazier, who joined McClendon and Goldstein as first team all-conference players in 2010-11.

Although those three outstanding players, along with five other sophomores, have now graduated and are continuing their careers at four-year institutions, Nichols is confident his returning players will mesh with a batch of talented newcomers and contend once again for the regular season and tournament championship.

"I'm excited about this season," added Nichols. "We have a number of outstanding student athletes who have come to Motlow to win a state championship. Our returning players are hungry for a title because they feel they have unfinished business to complete. We are all focused on the same goal."

Ricky Tisdale. Photo by Jeff Reed.
Sophomore Derek Triplett drives to the basket. Photo by Jeff Reed Photography.
Returning sophomores include Ricky Tisdale, Andrew Scofield, Chris Jordon, Rashad Davis, and Derek Triplett. The Bucks also welcome redshirt freshmen Darryl Bond and Krys Renfrow, who didn't play games last season but know Nichols' system well.

A pair of sophomores; Brandon Hunter and John Taylor, have transferred into the Bucks' program and will have one season of eligibility. Freshman Michael Tomlin is also a transfer but has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Incoming freshmen are Sean Gardner from Collierville, Kevonta Black from Whites Creek in Nashville, J.C. Bonny from Lawrenceville, Georgia; Travaris Clarke from Riverdale, Charles Waters from Hillcrest, Bryan Thomas from Norcross, Georgia; Raul Tutton, Jr. from Houston High School near Memphis, Jeff Graham from Hamilton in Memphis; and Christopher Hawkins from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

"We have more players than we do uniforms," continued Nichols. "A couple of these guys will be redshirts this season, but that is not a bad thing. Redshirts get a chance to settle into the academic part of college and they get an extra season to get bigger and stronger and better as basketball players. I expect our redshirts to be key players on next year's team."

The Bucks play an up-tempo brand of basketball that is difficult for opposing teams to defend and extremely entertaining for fans to watch.

Bucks Sign All-Star Guard Sean Gardner

Sean Gardner
From Left, Motlow College men"s basketball head coach Jerry Nichols, signee Sean Gardner and his parents, Patty and Tony Gardner.
The Motlow Bucks 2011-2012 men's basketball roster continues to fill out with the announcement that Collierville combo guard Sean Gardner will continue his academic and athletic career at Motlow College.

Gardner becomes the second Memphis addition to Coach Jerry Nichols' roster, following Hamilton forward Jeff Graham, who was announced as a member of the Bucks in July.

"Sean is a player who should bring lots of energy and an elite shooting ability to our team," said Nichols. "He is a very high basketball-IQ player, and I think he could provide an immediate impact at the shooting guard and point guard positions."

Contributing in all phases on both ends of the floor is Gardner's specialty, as evidenced by his averages of 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and four steals per game. In addition, he hit 48% of his three-point shots during his high school senior season.

"Sean played in a tough conference (District 15-AAA) in Memphis," continued Nichols. "He had very impressive numbers in almost every game the Collierville Dragons played. He scored 32 points and pulled down four rebounds and four assists in the Tennessee vs. Mississippi All-Star game."

Gardner and Graham will join their basketball teammates, along with players from all of Motlows sports teams, for 'Meet the Bucks Media Day', scheduled for August 31, inside Motlow's Nisbett Center at the main campus in Moore County.


Bucks Sign Jeff Graham from Hamilton

Jeff Graham
Left to right; Jeff's mother Anika Graham, Jeff Graham, and Bucks head coach Jerry Nichols.

Motlow College men's basketball head coach Jerry Nichols recently announced that Memphis Hamilton forward Jeff Graham has signed to continue his basketball career with the Bucks.

"Jeff is a tough player that should bring energy and athleticism to our team," said Nichols. "He is very explosive and I think he could provide immediate help at the small forward/power forward positions."

The Bucks are coming off an outstanding 21-7 season that featured a regular season Tennessee Community College Athletic Association championship and a runner-up finish in the Region VII Tournament. With eight sophomores having graduated though, there will be plenty of opportunities for talented newcomers to get playing time when the 2011-12 Bucks begin play in November.

Graham performed at an all-star level in the highly-competitive Memphis area. The Hamilton Wildcats play in District 16-AAA, one of the state's most rugged basketball conferences. The 6'6", 210-pound Graham averaged 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and three steals per game. His well-rounded skills should fit in well with the up-tempo brand of basketball that Nichols coaches.

"Jeff has played in a tough conference in Memphis and put up impressive numbers against some of the state's best teams," continued Coach Nichols. "He had one of his best games against an outstanding Whitehaven team, scoring 32 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. We are excited about the potential Jeff brings to the Motlow program."

Bucks Better in Nichols' Second Season

The Motlow Bucks showed improvement in head coach Jerry Nichols' second season, as evidenced by their 21-7 overall record and their regular season Tennessee Community College Athletic Association championship.

Following a 16-9 mark in his first year at the helm, Nichols rode eight outstanding sophomores to the 2010-2011 record and regular season title. Heavy graduation losses will force Nichols to retool in 2011-2012.

The Bucks reached the championship game of the Region VII Tournament, falling 83-73 to Chattanooga State, and the expectation is that Nichols will sign an outstanding recruiting class to begin another run towards the schools first tournament championship since the 1983-84 season.

Among the highlights of last year, in addition to the regular season title, was a school record 13-game winning streak. It began with a 79-63 win over Hiwassee on Nov. 16, 2010, and ended with an 81-67 loss to Chattanooga State on Jan. 29, 2011.

On Jan. 18, 2011 the Bucks set a new school record for defense by holding Bryan College to only 26 points in a 100-26 victory. That broke the previous defensive record set in 1985 when the Bucks held Walters State to 35 points.

Individually, sophomore center Zamarius McClendon placed himself in the top ten of multiple single game and season all-time records. He had 18 rebounds on Nov. 20, 2011, tied for sixth all time, and had 16 boards on Nov. 16, which is eighth all time.

McClendon pulled down 289 rebounds for the season, placing him eighth on the all-time list. His 421 career rebounds is fifth all time, and his 8.1 rebound average is fifth on the career list as well.

Point guard Robbie Townsend dished out 135 assists in 2010-11, good enough for ninth all time. For his career Townsend finishes fourth all time with 234 assists, an average of 4.5 for his career.

Shooting guard Darryn Frazier hit 89.8% of his free throws last season, second on the all-time single season record list. Frazier hit 87,.9% over his two-year career, also second all time. Frazier also sank 95 three-point shots in his career, fourth all time.

Freddie Goldstein became the only Motlow player in the school's 40-year history to be named All-American both years of his career. Goldstein averaged 16.3 points, sixth all time, and scored a total of 846 points, also sixth on the all-time list.

Goldstein's 138 three-point shots is second on the career list, just behind John Gales who sank 152 shots from beyond the arc during his career from 1993-95. Goldstein is eighth all time in steals with 85 and eighth all time in free throw shooting, hitting 76% of his charity tosses.

Multiple freshmen who played significant minutes could return to lead the Bucks during the coming season, including Ricky Tisdale, Chris Jordon, Derek Triplett, Rashad Davis, and Andrew Scofield. Each played significant minutes during their freshman season.

Freddie Goldstein Introduced to South Alabama Fans

Former Motlow Bucks star guard Freddie Goldstein was recently featured on the University of South Alabama website, as well as the site.

Goldstein led the Bucks from 2009-2011 to 37 victories and finished his career as Motlow's sixth all-time leading scorer with 846 total points, averaging 16.3 points per game.

Freddie is also second in three-point shots made, eighth in steals, and tenth all-time in assists. Goldstein is the only Motlow athlete in school history to named All-American both seasons of his career.

Former Bucks head coach Mike Brown is an assistant coach at South Alabama, while former Buck star Tim Williams recently graduated after leading the Jaguars in scoring his senior season.

Read the South Alabama article here.

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