Boll Weevils start GAC slate with loss

WEATHERFORD, Okla. — Southwestern Oklahoma State shot 55 percent from the field, hit 9 of 16 three-point attempts, and defeated Arkansas-Monticello 68-59 in the Great American Conference men’s basketball season opener for both teams Thursday.

UAM (3-2, 0-1 GAC) went on a 13-1 run to take its last lead of the game, 19-16 with 10:27 to go in the first half, but fell to a 13-point deficit in the second half. The closest the Boll Weevils came to leading again was a one-point deficit with 11:50 left in the game.

Kori Forge scored a game-high 27 points for the Weevils, with Jamal Nixon adding nine points and A.J. Calhoun grabbing 11 rebounds.

Southwestern improved to 2-3 and 1-0.

Cotton Blossoms drop conference opener

WEATHERFORD, Okla. — Arkansas-Monticello opened its Great American Conference women’s basketball slate with a 77-66 loss to Southwestern Oklahoma State on Thursday night.

Michelle Fisher led Southwestern (5-1, 1-0 GAC) with 28 points. She hit 6 of 9 three-point baskets.

UAM (2-3, 0-1) came from 13 points down to trail 26-24 with 8:21 left in the first half, but Southwestern pulled away for a 39-29 halftime lead.

For the Cotton Blossoms, Donlicia James scored 14 points, including 12 in the second half, and Raija McWright had 12.


A-State responds to Sun Belt changes

Shortly after it was learned Thursday that Middle Tennessee State and Florida Atlantic would leave the Sun Belt Conference for Conference USA, Arkansas State chancellor Tim Hudson and athletic director Terry Mohajir issued a statement regarding conference changes:

“Our Intercollegiate Athletics Department is always pursuing more revenue, more television exposure and more resources to field nationally recognized teams. We will consider any opportunities that could help us achieve our goals. Arkansas State is committed to the best interests of our student-athletes.”

Middle Tennessee and Florida Atlantic will begin play in Conference USA no later than July 2014, the league said in a press release. The move comes two days after it was announced Tulane (full membership) and East Carolina (football only) of C-USA will join the Big East starting in the 2014-15 academic year.

Career games lead Arkansas past Texas Southern

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas senior Kelsey Hatcher scored a career-best 12 points and freshamn Dominique Wilson added a career-high 11 points to lead the Razorbacks to a 72-50 women’s basketball win over Texas Southern in Bud Walton Arena on Thursday night.

The win moves Arkansas to 6-1 on the year. The Razorbacks host Pepperdine Sunday at 2 p.m.


Mavericks sign Fisher

The Dallas Mavericks signed free-agent guard Derek Fisher on Thursday, CBSSports.com reported.

Fisher, a Little Rock Parkview and Arkansas-Little Rock graduate, last played for the Oklahoma City Thunder during their run to the NBA Finals last season. The 16-year veteran spent most of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

To make room for Fisher, the Mavericks waived forward Troy Murphy.

Alabama fan gets 2 years for videoed lewd act

NEW ORLEANS — An Alabama man began a two-year prison sentence for an obscene act against an unconscious LSU fan in a Bourbon Street restaurant after the BCS national championship game in January, CBSSports.com reported.

The website reported Brian H. Downing of Smiths Station, Ala., was formally sentenced to terms of a plea deal with New Orleans prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to two counts of obscenity, and he may be eligible to serve less than half of his sentence.

— Staff and wire reports