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Making History St. John’s to host 8/7 Kansas in first game at UBS Arena

Excitement is starting to build for the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team (5-1) who is set to take on the Nationally Ranked 8/7 Kanas (5-1) for the first ever basketball game at the newly built UBS Arena. With the facilities being eight miles from the campus, the Red Storm is hoping for the fan faithful will pack the arena and support in one of the bigger games of the season.

The matchup between the two teams will be a part of the annual BIG EAST-Big 12 Battle. Thus far the Red Storm hold a 1-0 record having earned a victory against West Virginia at Madison Square Garden on December 7, 2018.

In another bit of history this will be the first time the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team will face a nationally ranked opponent. The team had taken on Indiana earlier in the season, in a 76-74 loss on November 17 on the road.

The St. John’s Men’s Basketball team was last in action on November 27, when they were taken to the limit by NJIT but prevailed by a score of 77-68 in overtime. Leading the way in the victory was Joel Soriano who had a team-high 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, while also grabbing nine rebounds.

Returning to the team after a lower leg sprain was Posh Alexander, who recorded a team-high 16 points, in addition to adding seven assists and four steals. Julian Champagnie rounded out the scoring by having his second double-double of the season with his 14 points and 10 boards.

Kansas comes into New York after a third-place finish in the ESPN Events Invitational in Orlando. The Jayhawks defeated North Texas in the opening before falling at the buzzer to Daytona. One of the players to watch for on Kansas will be Ochai Agbaji who has 22.5 points per game on 55.3 percent shooting.

One of the things that was highlighted by Head Coach Mike Anderson in a press conference held by the team on Thursday, is the fact that he will need his entire team to play and be present in the entire game in order to defeat the nationally ranked Jayhawks

1495 Sports is proud to bring the following Press Conference video that was held by the St. John’s Athletics Department prior to the team’s game against No. 8/7 Kansas:

Coach Anderson also emphasized the fact that the team will have to play clean basketball and make sure that they don’t turn over the ball. One of the things that Coach has prided his team on is the fact that they are blue collar and bring a ton of energy to every game.

The tip between the Red Storm and the Jayhawks is set for 7:00 pm, with the game to be aired on the FS1 Network.

For more information on the St. John’s Athletics Department fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

https://redstormsports.com/

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Joe Smith Jr to Defend WBO World Title against Callum Johnson

Joe Smith Jr., Long Island’s working class hero, will make the long-awaited first defense of his WBO light heavyweight world title against British knockout artist Callum Johnson on Saturday, Jan. 15 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. Smith-Johnson kicks off the Top Rank on ESPN 2022 schedule with a battle between two of the division’s biggest punchers. Smith was supposed to defend his title Oct. 30 in New York City, but a COVID-19 diagnosis delayed his return to 2022. 

In the 10-round featherweight co-feature, the undefeated Abraham “El Super” Nova, who hails from Albany, N.Y., will face Mexican action star Jose Enrique Vivas. Smith-Johnson and Nova-Vivas will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT. The undercard — streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+ — will see the long-awaited professional return of Cincinnati-born featherweight Duke Ragan (4-0, 1 KO), who captured a silver medal for the United States at the Tokyo Olympics. Long Island-born welterweight sensation Jahi Tucker (5-0, 2 KOs), Puerto Rican junior welterweight Omar Rosario (5-0, 2 KOs) and rising junior welterweight Kasir “Mazzi” Goldston (4-0, 1 KOs), are scheduled to appear in separate six-round bouts.


Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions, tickets priced from $49 to $89 go on sale Friday, December 3 at 10 a.m. ET and can be purchased at the Turning Stone Resort Box Office, charge by phone by calling 800.771.7711 or online at Ticketmaster

“Joe Smith Jr. always delivers, and he is in against a tough customer in Callum Johnson. This is a can’t-miss main event to kick off our 2022 Top Rank on ESPN schedule,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.

“Vivas is the ultimate test for a young, undefeated contender like Nova. Like our main event, you’re going to witness a tremendous battle.” Smith (27-3, 21 KOs) retired the legendary Bernard Hopkins with a storybook knockout in 2015, but it took him nearly six years to capture a world title. He fell short in his first attempt versus Dmitry Bivol in 2019, but in 2020, big-fight opportunities knocked. Smith battered Jesse Hart over 10 rounds in January and then knocked out former world champion Eleider Alvarez through the ropes in August.

Nearly eight months after the Alvarez triumph, he edged Maxim Vlasov by majority decision to earn the vacant WBO world title. He became the fourth Long Island-born boxing world champion, joining Buddy McGirt, Chris Algieri, and former WBO junior lightweight world champion Jamel Herring. After a full recovery, Smith returned to training intent on staking his claim as the world’s preeminent 175-pounder. 

Smith said, “I am glad to be getting back into the ring as quickly as I am to defend my WBO world championship after having COVID. It is not the fight the fans or I expected, but this will be an explosive fight between two huge punchers. I look forward to facing Johnson and defending my belt in front of my fans, as well as putting on a great show for the ones watching at home.” 

“Joe Smith Jr. is always exciting to watch, but this fight could top them all. This is ‘must-see TV’ and a perfect fight to launch ESPN’s 2022 boxing season,” said Joe DeGuardia, President of Star Boxing. “We are looking forward to Joe defending his WBO world title against Callum Johnson. With two of the hardest punchers in boxing fighting each other, it doesn’t get more explosive than this. Don’t miss this fight, and don’t blink!” Johnson (20-1, 14 KOs) is a former British and Commonwealth light heavyweight champion riding a three-fight winning streak since a 2018 knockout loss to current WBC/IBF unified champion Artur Beterbiev.

Johnson knocked Beterbiev down in the second round, but Beterbiev rebounded and knocked out Johnson in the fourth. Johnson, from Boston, England, shared the same bill with Smith at Turning Stone Resort Casino in March 2019. Johnson knocked out Sean Monaghan in three rounds, while Smith lost a decision to Bivol in a bid for the WBA light heavyweight title. Johnson said, “Joe is a good world champion, and we’re both big punchers. I’m looking forward to it as much as I’m sure he will be. I also would like to thank Frank Warren and the team at Queensberry, who said they would deliver me a world title shot. They’ve done their job, and now it’s time for me to do my job in the ring and become the new WBO light heavyweight champion.” 

“I’m delighted to deliver this opportunity for Callum,” said Hall of Fame Promoter Frank Warren. “When he came with us, he said he wanted to get active again and become a world champion. Callum has his chance now to realize his dream, and if he fights like I know he can, there is no reason why Britain won’t crown a new world champion on January 15.” Nova (20-0, 14 KOs), world-ranked at junior lightweight, is now campaigning at featherweight. In June 2020, he turned away Avery Sparrow by unanimous decision, but in training camp for his next fight, he suffered a torn Achilles tendon. Nova was out of action more than a year and returned in August with an eight-round decision over Filipino veteran Richard Pumicpic. Vivas (21-1, 11 KOs) is a classic Mexican pressure fighter, a 27-year-old native of Texcoco who has won four in a row since a decision defeat to Ruben Villa. In October 2020, he needed only 76 seconds to knock out John Vincent Moralde.

He returned in May and rose from a pair of third-round knockdowns to edge Louie Coria by unanimous decision. Host of the January 15th event, Turning Stone Resort Casino is a Forbes Four-Star Award-winning destination resort, which continues to distinguish itself as a premier venue for fight-of-the-year caliber boxing. Turning Stone features world-class amenities including The Lounge with Caesars Sports, a state-of-the-art sports book in partnership with Caesars Entertainment, five hotels, more than 20 signature dining options, two spas, a 125,000 square foot Las Vegas style gaming floor, multiple entertainment venues, five golf courses, and several bars and lounges offering live entertainment every weekend. 

Additionally, Turning Stone is the Official Resort Casino of the International Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend. The partnership is a multifaceted initiative to spotlight boxing throughout the entire region. The program includes a series of boxing events at Turning Stone that culminate every year in June with an elaborate and bigger-than-ever International Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend celebration. International Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend will be held June 9 – 12, 2022. 

As an increasing number of athletes and performers now require ticketholders to be vaccinated, Turning Stone has updated its health and safety protocols for the Event Center, The Showroom and Exit 33 nightlife venues to align with industry health and safety protocols. All ticketholders 12 years or older are required to provide proof of vaccination to attend any event at the Turning Stone Event Center or The Showroom. Children 11 years or younger who are not vaccinated are required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of the event and will be required to wear face coverings while at Turning Stone. Guests visiting areas other than the Event Center, The Showroom and Exit 33 nightlife venues at Turning Stone are not required to provide proof of vaccination.

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Washington Spirit Trade McGrady, International Spot, Draft Pick to San Diego for Expansion Draft Protection

The Washington Spirit have acquired complete protection in the upcoming NWSL Expansion Draft from San Diego Wave FC in exchange for the rights to defender Tegan McGrady, an international spot in 2022 and the natural first-round pick in the 2022 NWSL Draft the Spirit received from OL Reign in a previous trade. The trade comes ahead of the highly anticipated Expansion Draft, which will introduce Angel City and San Diego, followed by Draft Day for all NWSL teams.

McGrady was drafted by the Spirit with the 7th overall pick in the 2019 NWSL Draft. In her three years with the Spirit, McGrady featured in 34 matches, starting 28 of those and totaling 2,258 minutes. 

“Ahead of the Expansion Draft, we faced the challenge of finding ways to position the Club for sustained success by keeping as much of our core as possible. This trade aligns with that focus,” said President Ben Olsen. “We are very grateful to Tegan for her contributions to the Spirit. On the field, she was a key defensive piece to our championship run and off the field, she has set the example for athletes who aim to use their platform to create positive change. We wish her nothing but the best.”

This season, McGrady was a key part of the defensive resurgence and eventual NWSL Championship. At left back, McGrady was an important part of the buildup, with a successful pass rate of 72 percent or better every season and a passing accuracy in the defensive half of the field at 78 percent or better every season. The Stanford graduate was also a key part of the Spirit’s restarts with her left foot being a real asset, especially on corner kicks. 

“It’s been an honor to coach Tegan this season,” said Interim Head Coach Kris Ward. “She’s made a positive impact on the field and off, and it is clear that she is just at the beginning of what will continue to be a successful career. She will be greatly missed.”

For more information on the Washington Spirit fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

https://washingtonspirit.com/

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New York Mets Sign All-Star Eduardo Escobar

The New York Mets recently announced that the club has signed All-Star infielder Eduardo Escobar to a two-year contract with a club option for 2024.

Escobar, 32, appeared in 146 games between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Milwaukee Brewers in 2021. He slashed .253/.314/.472 with 77 runs, 26 doubles, five triples, 28 home runs, 90 RBI and a 109 OPS+. He was also named to his first All-Star team last season.

“Eduardo will be a welcomed addition not only to our lineup, but to our clubhouse culture,” said Mets General Manager Billy Eppler. “Eduardo’s versatility on the infield and his ability to hit from both sides of the plate will give our team additional depth.”

In 11 major league seasons, Escobar has slashed .256/.309/.436 with 503 runs, 215 doubles, 37 triples, 138 home runs and 536 RBI. He has recorded four seasons with at least 20 home runs and put up 80 or more RBI three times in his career.

In 2019, the switch-hitter recorded a career high 94 runs, 10 triples, 35 home runs and 118 RBI. He became the fourth switch-hitter in major league history to record a season with 30 or more home runs, 20 or more doubles and 10 or more triples, joining Ripper Colins (1934), Mickey Mantle (1955) and Jimmy Rollins (2007).

The Venezuelan native was originally signed by the Chicago White Sox as a non-drafted minor league free agent on January 28, 2006. 

For more information on the New York Mets fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

https://www.mlb.com/mets

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Hofstra Men’s Basketball edges out Princeton, 81-77 

Aaron Estrada scored 18 of his career-high tying 20 points in the first half and Jalen Ray hit a three-pointer with 18 seconds to play that provided a much-needed cushion as Hofstra held off Princeton’s second half rally in an 81-77 victory Wednesday night at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex. The Tigers trailed by as many as 19 points in the second half before getting as close as one in the final minute.

Hofstra moved to 4-4 on the season with the win, its third consecutive victory. Princeton slipped to 5-3 on the year with the loss.

Estrada shot 9-15 from the floor and added seven assists to lead four players in double-figures. Omar Silverio continued his strong play with 17 points and added five rebounds. Darlinstone Dubar had 15 points and shot 7-8 from the floor. Zach Cooks chipped in with 13 points, seven assists, and four steals. Ray finished with eight points and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.

The teams traded baskets in the opening minutes with Hofstra holding a 12-11 lead at the first media timeout. Hofstra was 6-9 from the floor in the opening minutes while the Tigers were 4-8 overall and 3-6 from three-point range. The Pride come out of the time out and went on an 8-0 run to lead 20-11 with 14:27 to go after a three-pointer from Dubar. Trailing 22-13, the Tigers went on a 7-0 run to make it a two-point game (22-20) with 10:41 remaining. The Pride scored five straight points to go back up by seven. Hofstra would lead by as many as 18, 48-30, before settling for a 16-point lead at the half, 50-34. The Pride outscored Princeton, 28-14 over the final 10:41 of the opening stanza.

A three-point play from Silverio with 15:50 on the clock gave the Pride a 19-point lead, 59-40. Princeton responded with an 8-0 run to cut its deficit to 11, 59-48, following a three-pointer from Ethan Wright with 14:27 to go. A 7-2 run by the Pride, capped off by a three-pointer from Ray, put Hofstra back up by 16, 66-50, with 11:32 to play. The Tigers would get within seven, 73-66, following a three-point play from Max Johns with 5:10 to play. Silverio answered with a three-pointer on Hofstra’s next possession to push the lead back to 10. Princeton would not go quietly and ran off seven consecutive points to make it 76-73 with 2:05 to play. Following a Dubar layup, Wright got Princeton within three once again with a layup of his own with 1:39 to play.

Following an empty possession by the Pride, the Tigers made it a one-point game with 48 ticks on the clock. Ray answered with a three for the Pride to push the lead back to four, 81-77 with 18 seconds to play and the Tigers came up empty on their next possession with the Pride getting the rebound with nine seconds left. Princeton was under the foul limit and fouled on the first inbounds to force a second. The Pride got the ball in but turned it over in the frontcourt. The Tigers had a last second shot that hit off the rim as time expired.

Princeton’s Jaelin Llewellyn led all-scorers with 24 points. Ryan Langborn added 16 points, while Tosan Evbuomwan had 14 points. Wright contributed 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

Hofstra is back in action at home on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Bucknell. Tickets are available for purchase at HofstraTickets.com, by calling (516) HOF-TIXX, or by visiting the Hofstra Athletic Ticket Office in the lobby of the Mack Sports Complex during normal business hours.

Notes:
-Hofstra now leads the all-time series with Princeton, 4-3.
-Ray moved into a tie for second place with Eli Pemberton for most career games played with 129.
-Hofstra was 10-10 from the free throw line
-Cooks seven assists matched his career high.
-Hofstra is 3-0 at home in 2021-22 and 44-12 over the last four-plus seasons.
-Hofstra had a season-high 22 assists.

For more information on the Hofstra University Athletics Department fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

https://gohofstra.com/

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Preview: Albany FireWolves vs Toronto Rock

For the first time in nearly two decades, the National Lacrosse League returns to the Capital Region.  The Albany FireWolves, formerly the New England Black Wolves, kickoff their inaugural season on Saturday, December 4 with an away game against the Toronto Rock before returning to Albany for a home matchup versus the Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday, December 18.  This weekend’s game will be at 7 p.m. in the FirstOntario Centre on Saturday, December 4, and broadcast live on My4 WNYT, ESPN Plus, and TSN as the NLL Game of the Week.

Though this will be the first game under the name FireWolves, the organization will look to start the 2021-22 season with a win and pick up where the team left off before the season came to a halt in 2020.  The then Black Wolves were riding a four-game win streak and boasted the best record in the league at 8-3 when play was stopped.  Toronto was having a solid year as well, holding a 7-4 record and was a game back from first place in the North division. The last time the two clubs met, the Black Wolves came out on top 12-8.

FireWolves Players to Watch:

Joe Resetarits is a player whom locals might recognize after his standout career with the University of Albany just a few years ago.  The former Great Dane scored a goal in every single game he played in throughout his four years and was named All-American and Conference Player of the Year honors the last season he played in the Capital Region.  Returning to the 518, Resetarits has established himself as one of the best forwards in the NLL and is the only American player to log a 100-point season in league history. During his short tenure with the Black Wolves, Resetarits has compiled 68 points in 18 games.  Look for Resetarits to create multiple scoring opportunities for the FireWolves both as a scorer and a distributer.

Another key name is one fans will see between the pipes this season.  Coming off a Goalie of the Year award in 2020, Doug Jamieson returns to the team after posting eye-popping goaltender numbers the last time he was on the turf.  He allowed a mere 8.80 goals per game, good for second best in NLL history, and set a league record for save percentage at 82.9%.  Though a testament to a solid defensive unit as a whole, Jamieson served as the backbone while in net as the team was on pace to allow the fewest goals in the league since 2014.  The magic number is to keep the opposing team under 10 goals and who better to have in net than one of the best in the business?

Though the FireWolves were able to retain numerous key guys on the roster, the team still made waves in free agency this offseason.  Trading away a pair of second round 2020 draft picks, the FireWolves brought in Jacob Ruest, a four-year league vet who adds a ton of firepower to the team’s already loaded offense.  Playing each of his first four seasons with the Colorado Mammoth, Ruest tallied up 188 total points in 67 career games.  Ruest has already made an impact for the FireWolves, scoring a goal in their most recent preseason victory last Saturday.  The new addition to the offense will look to ride the momentum from the preseason win to help lift the FireWolves to a 1-0 start to begin the team’s inaugural season.  Look for Ruest to quickly transition defense stops into scoring opportunities for the FireWolves.

Opposing Players to Watch:

Entering his tenth season with the Rock, Rob Hellyer has been a staple for the Rock offense since being drafted in the third round in 2010. Last season, Hellyer finished third in MVP voting while leading the Rock in scoring with 56 points. Hellyer was limited to just one goal in the only matchup against the Black Wolves during the 2019-20 season.

Nick Rose, another long-tenured member of the Rock, has been in a Toronto uniform since he joined the team in 2012. In the shortened season, Rose posted career bests 9.41 GAA and Save Percentage .816. In one game against the Black Wolves in 2019, Rose allowed 11 goals.

Tom Schreiber has been nothing short of great since joining the Rock in 2017.  In 18 games during his debut season, Schreiber compiled 33 goals and 61 assists on his way to being named NLL Rookie of the Year.  Two years later, he tied his 94 points from his rookie season and set a career high with 65 assists.  In five games prior to the season shutting down in 2019-20, Schreiber tallied 19 points on eight goals and 11 assists.

This will be the first meeting between the FireWolves and the Rock this season.  The two clubs will faceoff one more time after the season opener on Saturday, February 19 in Albany. 

Do not miss your opportunity to witness history!  Fans can secure their tickets for the historic inaugural 2021-22 FireWolves home opener today!  For more information regarding home opener tickets, visit https://albanyfirewolves.com/tickets/2021-22-home-opener/ or call/text the FireWolves front office at 518-362-4900.

The Albany FireWolves 2021-22 Inaugural Season is presented by CDPHP.

For more information on the Albany FireWolves fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

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National Lacrosse League Faces Off This Weekend With Largest Coverage Footprint In Its History

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, readies for the 2021-22 campaign, beginning Friday and Saturday with every team playing in a slate of seven games on Face Off Weekend across North America. The start of its 35th season also launches a series of exciting developments this year, most notably historic television coverage on ESPN and TSN linear and digital platforms, an expanded playoff format, and the inaugural season of Panther City Lacrosse Club.

The first of 126 regular season games take place on Friday, when the Vancouver Warriors visit the San Diego Seals on ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET). On Saturday, there will be six games: Saskatchewan at Halifax (6 p.m. ET); Albany at Toronto in its new home in Hamilton, Ontario (7 p.m. ET); Colorado at Georgia (7 p.m. ET); expansion Panther City at Philadelphia (7 p.m.); Rochester at New York (7:30 p.m. ET); and Calgary at Buffalo (7:30 p.m. ET).

Fans can watch every game on the NLL schedule through TSN, which will broadcast a minimum of 20 “NLL Game of the Week” games in Canada on its national television feeds and the rest through TSN digital platforms, and ESPN, which will distribute every game on ESPN+ and broadcast 10 linear games across the ESPN family of networks. It will be the greatest number of live televised games in the history of the league.

Saturday’s game between the Albany FireWolves and Toronto Rock is TSN’s first NLL Game of the Week beginning at 7 p.m. ET. ESPN begins its linear coverage next Saturday, December 11, with San Diego visiting Colorado at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPNEWS.

The NLL’s 14 teams competing this year are aligned into two Conferences, with the top four teams in the East and top three in the West advancing to the playoffs. The eighth playoff slot will go to the team with the better record between the fifth-place East and fourth place West teams, per NLL tiebreaker rules. The first round will be single-elimination, while the second round and NLL Championship Finals will each be best-of-three series.

“NLL fans and everyone who associates with the league have been waiting a long time for this day, and we are thrilled that Face Off Weekend is finally upon us,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “With comprehensive and unprecedented coverage on TSN and ESPN, revamped Conference and playoff format, new e-commerce sites in the U.S. and Canada powered by Fanatics, new and expanded marketing partnerships and programs like NLL Unites recognizing and celebrating the sport’s rich heritage, our 35th season is set to be the biggest and best ever.”

For more information on the National Lacrosse League fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: