Local Sports News: November 28, 2023

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Local-Sports.png

Indiana University Volleyball Player Savannah Kjolhede named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week
After leading the Hoosiers to a brilliant blocking weekend and a pair of victories at Michigan State and Michigan, Indiana Senior Middle Blocker Savannah Kjolhede was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, as announced by the conference office on Monday afternoon. Kjolhede was instrumental in a weekend that saw IU record 26 total team blocks across two matches including 15 in a resounding defensive effort at Michigan. The Colleyville, Texas native went for 16 blocks in total against the Spartans and Wolverines with seven block assists in each match and a pair of solo stuffs on Black Friday at the Breslin Center.

To pair with her defensive performance, Kjolhede contributed 15 kills on the offensive end while hitting a collective .393 in a pair of victories. She helped lead IU to its 21st win of the season on Saturday at Michigan, matching a program record for regular season wins. The senior middle blocker was sixth in the Big Ten in hitting percentage (.361) and 12th in the conference in total blocks (117.0) in 2023. She finishes her IU career as one of three players in program history with a career hitting percentage of .300+ and a total of 380+ blocks (Deyshia Lofton and Ashley Benson). On the season, IU earned five Big Ten weekly awards; distributed among three different players. She is the first IU player to earn Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors since libero Paula Cerame in 2022. IU’s three conference weekly award recipients (Kjolhede, Camryn Haworth and Ramsey Gary in 2023 matches a program record set back in 2009 (Benson, Jordan Haverly and Caitlin Cox).

Indiana University Football Player Aaron Casey earns his second Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Award
In his final game in the cream and crimson, Indiana Football Senior Linebacker Aaron Casey provided one of the best defensive performances of his career in the Battle for the Old Oaken Bucket and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for the second time in 2023. Of Casey’s 11 tackles in the game, nine were solo stops and he posted 4.0 tackles for loss. Of his tackles behind the line of scrimmage, one was a solo sack of Hudson Carr and included a forced fumble on the play. His 4.0 tackles for loss are tied for No. 5 on the IU single game charts and tie a career high. It is the second time in 2023 that Casey logged 4.0 tackles for loss in a game, as he also accomplished the feat versus Wisconsin in Week 10. The Douglasville, Georgia, native is the only FBS defender with 4.0 or more tackles in a game multiple times in 2023.

Casey is the first Indiana defender to earn multiple Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week awards in a career and it is just the second time in program history the Hoosiers have earned multiple defensive player of the week awards in a single season (2020). In 2023, Casey ranks No. 2 nationally in tackles for loss (20.0) and solo tackles (78), with both totals leading the Big Ten. His 109 total tackles sit No. 4 in the Big Ten and No. 23 in the FBS and mark the first 100-tackle season by an IU defender since Tegray Scales (126) in 2016. His 20.0 tackles for loss are tied for No. 4 on the single season charts with Nathan Davis (1995) and were the most by an IU defender since Scales’ 23.5 in 2016. Of his 20.0 tackles for loss, 19 of those were solo TFLs, which led the FBS.

Indiana University Volleyball Player Ramsey Gary breaks the school’s single season record for digs
One of the most brilliant individual freshman seasons in program history has become one of the best campaigns by any player to ever wear the Indiana volleyball uniform. Freshman Libero Ramsey Gary, having already smashed the freshman single season digs record, broke the all-time single season digs record at IU on Saturday evening at Michigan. Bayli Lebo’s 2018 single season record (525) was put to bed by Gary with a 14-dig performance at Cliff Keen Arena in a victory over Michigan. The Pendleton, Ind. native finished the season with 530 digs.

Gary started and played in every match and set this season in the libero jersey. One of the highest-ranked recruits in program history, the freshman has lived up to every bit of hype she entered with. On top of the single season digs record, she also has the most 10+ dig games (31)) and 20+ dig games (10) in a single season in program history). Her 26 digs against Ohio State in October matched a single-game freshman record. She is the Big Ten leader in digs and is on track to be the first freshman and libero in program history to earn All-Big Ten First Team honors. With three years remaining at IU, and the program’s trajectory taking off, Gary could challenge for Caitlin Cox’s all-time digs record of 1,885 (2008-11). At her current pace, she would be the first player in program history with 2,000 digs in a career.

Purdue University Men’s Basketball Back on top at #1 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll
Purdue is back atop The Associated Press Top 25 men’s college basketball poll, right where it spent so much of last season. The Boilermakers ascended to No. 1 on Monday after an impressive run through a loaded field at the Maui Invitational. They beat Gonzaga, Tennessee and Marquette — three of the top 11 teams in the nation — in consecutive days, and that was enough to earn 60 of 63 first-place votes from the national panel of Top 25 voters.

“Our guys were resilient, I thought they hung in there, and I thought at times we didn’t play our best basketball in the three days, but I thought we played really hard,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said after the Maui Invitational. “We competed, and that is what you got to do. You got to just sometimes hang in there and just keep competing and make one more play.”

Purdue replaced preseason No. 1 Kansas, which fell to fifth after losing to Marquette in the Maui semifinals before beating Tennessee in the third-place game. Arizona moved up one spot to No. 2 with one first-place vote, Marquette climbed a spot to third and UConn was fourth with two first-place votes. The defending national champion Huskies play the Jayhawks on Friday night at Allen Fieldhouse. Houston remained sixth while Duke climbed to seventh, Miami to eighth and Baylor to ninth. Tennessee only fell three places to 10th after its losses to Purdue and Kansas in Maui, a reflection of the stiff competition. “I’ve said all along, I like being in big games. If you want to win a big game, you got to get in a big game,” Volunteers coach Rick Barnes said. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and I enjoy these games because I want to see us play at the highest level. I want to see us execute at the highest level. I want to see our guys learn from this.”

Gonzaga remained at No. 11 after its trip to Maui, and Kentucky was 12th. Florida Atlantic used its win over then-No. 12 Texas A&M on the way to an ESPN Events Invitational title to jump six spots to No. 13, right ahead of the Aggies. Creighton plummeted seven spots to No. 15 after getting walloped by Colorado State in the Hall of Fame Classic championship game. Texas and North Carolina were followed by Villanova, which returned to the poll, and then BYU and the Rams, who both jumped into the poll for the first time this season. Mississippi State, James Madison, Alabama, Illinois and Oklahoma rounded out the Top 25.

Indianapolis Colts beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Lucas Oil Stadium
The Indianapolis Colts returned from the bye week in the thick of the AFC playoff hunt, and they’ll stay there after a 27-20 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday. The Colts’ defense recovered a fumble with under two minutes left in the game. The recovery helped Indy secure its second home win of the season. The Colts are now 6-5 on the season and in a battle for the final AFC wild card berth. The teams swapped field goals to start the game, but the Colts took control after a spark from the defense. Ronnie Harrison Jr., who was elevated to the active roster after the team parted ways with former All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard, intercepted Baker Mayfield at midfield.

The Colts took advantage of the great field position as quarterback Gardner Minshew hit receiver Michael Pittman for 17 yards. Running back Jonathan Taylor then ran for another 17 yards before scoring from four yards out to put the Colts on top, 10-3. Indianapolis added to its lead after a Tampa Bay punt. Minshew connected with Pittman for 24 yards on a fourth-and-1play, then ran for a 2-yard touchdown six plays later to make it 17-3. Indianapolis was on the verge of running away with the game until Minshew threw an interception to defensive back Carlton Davis deep in his own territory. The Buccaneers capitalized three plays later as Mayfield found a wide-open Mike Evans for a 1-yard touchdown. The Colts tried to get three points back before the end of the half, but kicker Matt Gay missed a 58-yard field goal as time expired to keep the score 17-10 as the teams went into the locker room. The Colts extended their lead to 20-10 in the third quarter with a Gay 36-yard field goal.

Indianapolis let Tampa Bay back into the game with another miscue. Head coach Shane Steichen decided to go for it on fourth-and-6 from the Buccaneers’ 40-yard line, but Minshew’s pass to wideout Josh Downs was incomplete. The Bucs then marched 60 yards on nine plays, scoring on Mayfield’s second touchdown toss to Evans to make it 20-17. The Colts answered back with their own nine-play drive. They went for it again on fourth down, but this time Minshew completed a 30-yard strike to tight end Mo Alie-Cox for the first down. Taylor scored a 1-yard touchdown three plays later to make it a two-score game again. Tampa Bay cut it to 27-20 on a Chase McLaughlin 24-yard field goal before the Colts’ defense sealed the game when Samson Ebukam forced a Mayfield fumble Dayo Odebyingo recovered. Leonard was at the game in a suite just days after the team released him. The second-round pick in 2018 was named All-Pro four times and made three Pro Bowls. The Colts are back on the road for an AFC South matchup in Tennessee on Sunday.

Former Indiana University Men’s Basketball player Yogi Ferrell Signs with Team in Serbia
Yogi Ferrell, the former NBA Guard and former Indiana University Men’s Basketball standout, has reached an agreement with Partizan Belgrade in Serbia. The 30-year-old athlete, coming off a successful season with Cedevita Olimpija, secured the Slovenian Basketball League title and earned the Finals MVP accolade. Having briefly joined the Shanghai Sharks in the Chinese Basketball Association this season, Ferrell now sets his sights on EuroLeague competition with Partizan.

This marks Ferrell’s second stint in EuroLeague, following his tenure with Panathinaikos during the 2021-22 season, where he contributed 1.6 points, 1 rebound, and 1.8 assists in 8 minutes over five games. Notably, Ferrell showcased his skills in EuroCup last season, averaging 18.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 5.1 assists in 30.5 minutes per game for Olimpija. Partizan is currently 11th in EuroLeague with 4 wins and 5 losses.

Follow us on Facebook

Image result for Facebook button

For more local news . . . Check out our archived episodes of What’s Happenin’ and Talkin’ Sports with Nick Jenkinson