WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Bucks assure themselves of losing season and it's only February
MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Bucks ran out of gas in the fourth quarter last night and lost at home to Boston, 102-86. It was the Bucks' 42nd loss, mathematically assuring them of a losing season.
The Celtics only shot 40-percent in the first half but still led by three at the break. Boston had a two-point edge going into the final period, when it broke the game open with a 12-4 run. Bucks' point guard Brandon Knight said his team "went flat" in the final 12 minutes, and the Celtics took advantage. Knight led the Bucks with 22 points. Boston coach Brad Stevens said he got on Jeff Green at halftime for passing up an open shot. Green responded by scoring 19 of his 29 points in the second half. Boston out-shot the Bucks 48-to-43 percent, and the Celtics scored 32 points off 21 Milwaukee turnovers.
The Bucks also received more bad news on the injury front. Forward-and-center John Henson left the game with a late foot injury. And Bucks' center Larry Sanders will be out at least through this weekend's All-Star break with a fractured orbital bone in his right eye, suffered when he was elbowed by Houston's James Harden on Saturday night. Luke Ridnour and Ekpe Udoh returned last night after being out. Caron Butler, Ersan Ilyasova, and O.J. Mayo remained out for Milwaukee, which limps into the All-Star break after hosting New Orleans tomorrow night. Sanders was scheduled to see a specialist today about the fractured right eye-bone he suffered last Saturday. Bucks' coach Larry Drew said Sanders was still having blurred vision yesterday, two days after Houston's James Harden accidentally elbowed Sanders in the face. Sanders is expected to be out at least through the All-Star break this weekend, and there's no timetable on his return. Drew said the fourth-year pro was really starting to get his energy back -- and his injury is really unfortunate. Sanders missed 25 games early in the season, after he had thumb surgery following a night-club brawl in early November. He has averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds in three games this month before his injury. For the season, Sanders is averaging about eight points and seven rebounds a night. Sanders and power forward John Henson were on the floor together for the first time this season on Saturday night -- but that lasted only five minutes when Sanders got hurt. Henson injured a foot last night in a Bucks' loss to Boston.
Former Bucks' guard Desmond Mason said he heard racial taunts from Texas Tech fans when he played his college basketball at Oklahoma State. Mason was on ESPN's "Mike-and-Mike" radio show yesterday, talking about the three-game suspension against Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart for pushing a fan near the end of a loss at Texas Tech on Saturday night. The fan, Jeff Orr, denied that he made a racial taunt to Smart -- but Mason said he wouldn't get into an argument about that. Mason said it was clear that Smart let his guard down, and things got into his head -- and Mason said he never that let happen in his playing days. He said he had a number of conversations with fans in his NBA career -- but it was more quote, "smart talk" than curse words. Mason also said that as Smart gets better, he'll hear more taunts -- and he has to learn to keep his emotions in check. Mason played for three-and-a-half seasons in two stints with Milwaukee between 2003-and-'08.
Former Bucks' coach Terry Porter lost a game for the Minnesota Timberwolves last night. Porter was filling in for Wolves' head coach Rick Adelman, who was away for personal reasons. The Wolves lost to Houston 107-89 in Minneapolis, as Dwight Howard had 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Rockets. Porter, a T-Wolves assistant, replaced Adelman for 11 games during a family-related absence a year ago. Porter went 2-9 then. Adelman is due back for tomorrow night's Minnesota contest against Denver. Porter is a Milwaukee native who played at UW-Stevens Point and then starred for 17 years in the NBA -- including three years with the Timberwolves. Porter coached the Bucks for two seasons from 2003-through-'05, and was a head coach at Phoenix for one season ending in mid-2009.
The U.S. women's curling squad is 0-2 at the Sochi Olympics, after falling to Russia this morning 9-7. Debbie McCormick of Rio had a 71-percent accuracy rate, and Erika Brown of Madison had 65-percent accuracy. UW-Oshkosh graduate Allison Pottinger sat out for a second straight match as the Americans' alternate. Also, the U.S. men's curling rink dropped to 0-2, with a 9-4 loss to China. Brown's brother Chris sat out for a second straight match as the U.S. alternate. The men's squad plays again today against Denmark. The women's curling rink will play China tomorrow. In speed-skating, Wauwatosa East high school graduate Sugar Todd placed 28th in the first of her two races today in the 500-meters. Her time was 39-point-278 seconds. Sang-Hwa Lee of China was the leader at the halfway point of the competition, at 37.42.
Janesville native Tucker Fredricks finished well out of contention today in his final Olympic speed-skating event. He was 26th in the 500-meters, his only event at the Sochi Winter Games. The 29-year-old Fredricks said he performed worse than he expected, with a time of 70.999 seconds for two races. He had announced his retirement this year after three Olympics. Shani Davis, who trains in West Allis at the Pettit National Ice Center, was 24th in what he regards as a tuneup for his longer events. Waukesha high school graduate Mitchell Whitmore was 27th in the 500. Brian Hansen, who trains in West Allis, dropped out of the finals so he could preserve his energy for the 1000 and 1500-meter competitions.
In women's Olympic hockey, former Wisconsin Badger Meaghan Mikkelson-Reid made two shots-on-goal for her native Canada yesterday in a 3-0 victory over Finland. Four Wisconsin players helped the U.S. women's hockey team crush Switzerland 9-0 yesterday. Team USA improved to 2-0 and guaranteed a spot in next Monday's semifinals. Madison area native Amanda Kessel had two goals and two assists. Former Wisconsin Badgers Hilary Knight and Brianna Decker each had one goal and one assist. Ex-Badger Meghan Duggan also had a helper. Goal-tender Jessie Vetter was given the day off, after the former Wisconsin star helped the U.S. beat Finland on Saturday. Kessel and Knight are tied for the U.S. points' lead with four each after two games. Kendall Coyne also has four. The American women will play their final preliminary round game on Wednesday morning against Canada.
Jim Henderson has been added to the list of Milwaukee Brewers to be honored with bobble-head giveaways this season. The Brewers' closer won a three-way fan vote to be the bobble-head given away on Sunday, July 27th, when the Crew faces the New York Mets. Henderson out-polled starters Matt Garza and Wily Peralta. The Brewers will have eight bobble-head giveaways this year, all on Sundays. Carlos Gomez will be the first bobble-head on April 27th, to be honored for his Gold Glove from a year ago. Hall-of-Famer Robin Yount will be the final honoree on September 14th.
The Green Bay Packers' new running backs' coach has high praise for Eddie Lacy. Sam Gash said the NFL's offensive rookie-of-the-year has similarities to Hall-of-Fame rusher Curtis Martin, who spent most of his career with the New York Jets. Gash helped blocked for Martin and a host of other standouts during his 12-year NFL playing career -- and he vows not to change Lacy's basic running style. Gash was named last Friday as the replacement for Alex Van Pelt, who will now coach Green Bay's quarterbacks. Gash said he spoke with Lacy as soon he got hired -- and based on their conversation and game film, he said Lacy has the same mentality as Martin even though Lacy is bigger. Gash said he'd like to help teach Lacy the little things about being a pro, and advancing beyond his rookie success.
Green Bay Packers' coach Mike McCarthy said he'd welcome Missouri defensive end Michael Sam if he can play well and be a good teammate. Sam revealed over the weekend that he's gay. McCarthy said the Packers will always have room for a talented player who can be respectful, follow team rules, and produce on the field -- and the coach said he understands that Sam is talented. Assistant head coach Winston Moss said he wasn't sure how the rest of the NFL would react, but he believes the Packers would welcome Sam. Moss said quote, "Around here, it's all about success. At the end of the day, if he's a good football player, a good teammate, everything else will take care of itself." Moss said he anticipated that the Packers would someday have an openly gay player on the team, and quote, "The process will take care of itself." The Packers introduced their new coaching staff yesterday. Moss's role is expanding so that he'll coach all the linebackers -- not just the inside linebackers as in previous years.
We won't know for sure until March, but the Green Bay Packers are said to be about $28-million under the projected NFL salary cap for this fall. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the Packers have about the seventh-highest salary cap room among the 32 teams in the league. But that could change quickly, once the Packers start re-signing some of the 17 players who are un-restricted free agents. The list includes defensive lineman B.J. Raji, corner Sam Shields, fullback John Kuhn, running back James Starks, and tight end Jermichael Finley -- who may or may not play again after fusion surgery for a serious neck injury last season. Projections are that the cap will be $126.3 million dollars to $128-million just before free agency begins early next month.
The Marquette University women's basketball team plays at Providence tonight. The Golden Eagles are 6-5 in the Big East and 15-7 overall, after losing at home to Butler 74-70 last weekend. Senior Katie Young led Marquette in that game with 21 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. The Eagles will play a Providence team that's 6-17 overall, with just one conference victory in 12 tries. The Friars are coming off a 30-point loss to Saint John's, in which Karin Robinson led Providence with 21 points. Marquette won its last game against the Friars on January 21st, 87-79 in Milwaukee. Also tonight, the Marquette men play at Seton Hall.
The Marquette men's basketball team will try again for its first two-game winning streak since mid-December, when it plays at Seton Hall tonight. The Golden Eagles have alternated wins-and-losses in their last 13 games. They haven't played since last Tuesday, when they came from behind to beat Butler by seven at home. Marquette is 5-5 in the Big East and 13-10 overall. Seton Hall has the same overall mark, with a 4-6 conference record. The Pirates are coming off a 70-53 loss at Villanova last Friday night. Guard Sterling Gibbs was Seton Hall's top scorer in that game with16 points. Also tonight, the Marquette women are at home against Providence.
In Division III college basketball, men's-and-women's double-headers are on tap tonight in the Midwest Conference. Saint Norbert plays in Waukesha against Carroll, and Ripon travels to Lake Forest. Sixth-ranked Saint Norbert leads the men's standings at 14-0 in league play, three-and-a-half games ahead of second-place Grinnell. Saint Norbert and Cornell are tied for the Midwest women's lead at 12-2. Monmouth is a half-game back at 12-3. Also tonight, men's teams are in action in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. Marian is still in first place at 14-3. They'll travel to Plymouth to take on third-place Lakeland. Second-place Milwaukee School of Engineering is at Concordia-Wisconsin. Wisconsin Lutheran hosts Madison Edgewood. In non-conference play, Northland College of Ashland hosts Northland International of Dunbar in men's-and-women's basketball. The River Falls women are at Martin Luther.
For the second week in a row, Black River Falls native Jack Taylor of Grinnell College has been named the Midwest Conference men's basketball player-of-the-week. Taylor, a junior guard, became the 23rd Grinnell player to score more than a-thousand points for his career, when he had 40 against Knox College last week and 29 against Beloit. Almost 250 of Taylor's points came in two games, including a national record of 138 set last season. Marla Willard of Monmouth was named the women's player-of-the-week.
Despite losing to Whitewater last week, UW-Stevens Point did not lose its No. 1 ranking in the new Division III men's basketball poll from D3hoops.com. The Pointers are now 20-1. Whitewater moved up four spots to No. 3, with an overall mark of 19-3. Saint Norbert rose two places to sixth. In the D-III women's poll, Carthage is still at No. 9 at 19-2. Whitewater remains 11th. Oshkosh did not budge in the 17th spot. Saint Norbert and Wisconsin Lutheran also received votes. DePauw is still the women's No. 1.
After a week out, the Wisconsin men's basketball team returned to the AP Top-25 today. The Badgers are 21st in this week's media poll, after their two-point upset of Number-nine Michigan State yesterday. Despite the loss, Tom Izzo's Spartans held steady in the ninth spot. Wisconsin also remains in the USA Today coaches poll, up three places from a week ago at Number-21. Wisconsin is 19-5 overall and 6-5 in the Big Ten Conference. The Badgers' next game is on Thursday night at home against Minnesota. Meanwhile, Wisconsin reserve Nigel Hayes was named today as the Big Ten's Freshman-of-the-Week. He scored 14 points in each of his last two games, including yesterday's big win over Michigan State. Hayes made a combined 8-of-12 shots from the floor. He's averaging 15 points in each of his last three contests. Wisconsin is 11th in the new RPI Rankings, which help determine the seeds for the NCAA Tournament. UW-Green Bay is 79th, Marquette 83rd, and UW-Milwaukee is 143rd.
University of Wisconsin junior Michael Lihrman has been named the Big Ten Conference Men's Indoor Field Athlete-of-the-Week. He broke his own school record in the weight throw, with a toss of 75-feet four-inches at last weekend's Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York. It was the second-longest weight-throw in the NCAA's Division I this season. Lihrman has competed in just four meets for the No. 5 ranked Badgers, and he set new school records each time. He set his first weight throw record at last year's USA Indoor Championships, and he broken it twice since. Lihrman also set a new UW hammer throw record of 207-feet 11-inches at last year's USA Outdoor Championships.
Minnesota is no longer No. 1 after the Wisconsin men's hockey team upset the Golden Gophers in back-to-back 2-1 decisions in Madison last week. Minnesota fell to second in this afternoon's new Division I poll from U.S. College Hockey Online. The Badgers rose from 12th place to eighth, with an overall mark of 16-8-2. Boston College is the new men's No. 1. The Wisconsin women remain second behind Minnesota in their College Online poll. The Badgers have won seven straight, after sweeping a pair at Ohio State this past weekend. Wisconsin is now 23-3-2 overall and Minnesota is 28-1-1. The two teams meet this weekend in a WCHA series in Madison.
The Saint Norbert men's hockey team is still No. 1 in the new Division III poll from U.S. College Hockey Online. The Green Knights are 19-3-1 overall. UW-Eau Claire moved up one place to third in the new poll, while Stevens Point one spot to fourth. UW-River Falls is still 11th. In the Division III women's poll, the Top-10 spots are all the same from a week ago. River Falls is fifth, Stevens Point sixth, and Superior seventh. Plattsburgh of New York is still the women's No. 1.
The University of Wisconsin softball team opened its spring season at 2-2 at the South Florida-Wilson-DeMarini tournament in Tampa. The Badgers lost their weekend finale to third-ranked Florida yesterday afternoon, 5-1. Wisconsin scored its only run in the top of the sixth on a Florida error and a pair of walks. Kelsey Stewart had the game-winning for the Gators -- a two-run homer in the fourth inning. Wisconsin beat Bethune-Cookman and Illinois State on Saturday while losing 5-3 to Florida on Friday after being ahead for much of the game.
Former Marshfield High School softball stand-out Andie Varsho is on a watch list for USA Softball's Division-One Player-of-the-Year. Varsho is about to begin her senior campaign with the Purdue team. She's one of 50 candidates for the national season honor. Varsho has batted .392 with the Boilermakers with 100 runs scored, 99 RBI's, and 79 stolen bases. She also has a .455 career on-base percentage. Varsho hit .415 a year ago, when she made the All-Big Ten and All-East Regional teams.
Brookfield Central is still the Division 1 leader in the new AP boys' state high school basketball poll. Milwaukee Rufus King moved up two spots to second after Germantown lost its second game of the season and fell into a tie for third with Neenah. In Division 2, Mount Horeb and Seymour share the top spot, after Seymour moved up from second a week ago. Rice Lake remains third in the new poll. In Division 3, Lodi is still the leader, followed by Manitowoc Roncalli and Elk Mound. Whitefish Bay Dominican is still atop Division 4, with Mineral Point and Oshkosh Lourdes second-and-third. And in Division 5, the leader is still Green Bay Northeast Wisconsin Lutheran. Cassville is second, and Sheboygan Lutheran third.
Kimberly still leads Division 1 in the AP girls' poll. Sheboygan North is second, followed by Oak Creek and Superior. Green Bay Notre Dame remains atop the Division 2 rankings, with Onalaska second and Milwaukee Pius XI third. Neillsville continues to lead Division 3, followed by Brodhead and Fox Valley Lutheran. In Division 4, Racine Prairie still rules the roost, with Colfax second and Cuba City tied for third with Algoma. The Barneveld girls remain atop Division 5, followed by Milwaukee Heritage Christian and Wisconsin Rapids Assumption.
Jerry Kelly of Madison dropped five places to 151st in the new World Golf Rankings released today. Kelly and Pewaukee native Mark Wilson both missed the weekend cut at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on the central California coast. Wilson dropped 13 spots in the new rankings to 251st. Steve Stricker of Madison, who continues to play on a very limited schedule, dropped one place to 12th in the world. Tiger Woods is still at No. 1.
Wisconsin boys' high school basketball
Abbotsford 57, Wisconsin Rapids Assumption 51
Arcadia 54, Eleva-Strum 53
Argyle 72, Madison Abundant Life 60
Black Hawk 62, Potosi 45
Boscobel 51, Iowa-Grant 47
Catholic Central 51, Faith Christian 42
Cedar Grove-Belgium 73, St. Lawrence Seminary 33
Chippewa Falls 96, Hudson 86
Clear Lake 49, Birchwood 23
Columbus Catholic 51, Augusta 33
Cornell 49, Flambeau 46
Coulee Region Christian 49, Houston, Minn. 46
De Soto 62, Cashton 40
Delavan-Darien 60, Whitewater 50
Elk Mound 63, Bloomer 29
Gillett 49, Niagara 40
Gilman 59, Colby 55
Green Bay East 53, Green Bay Notre Dame 51
Hamilton 89, Lake Geneva Badger 50
Hayward 46, Drummond 29
Howards Grove 74, New Holstein 54
Hurley 63, Ewen-Trout Creek, Mich. 43
La Crosse Central 48, Tomah 33
Ladysmith 75, Chequamegon 64
Lake Mills 68, Wisconsin Heights 38
Lakeshore Christian 54, Milwaukee Pulaski 52
Alma Center Lincoln 58, Independence 53
Oshkosh Lourdes 63, Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs 61
Luxemburg-Casco 52, Southern Door 39
Marathon 51, Athens 41
Markesan 58, Waterloo 52
Marshall 65, Deerfield 56
Greendale Martin Luther 55, Cudahy 54
Mauston 50, Royall 38
McFarland 70, Brodhead 44
Menominee Indian 66, Marion 63
Milwaukee Vincent 65, Waukesha Catholic Memorial 59
Mineral Point 65, River Ridge 29
Monticello 47, Highland 39
Necedah 67, Weston 38
Nekoosa 50, Black River Falls 48
New London 61, Marinette 50
Wausau Newman 40, Edgar 19
North Fond du Lac 42, Horicon 39
Maple Northwestern 60, Spooner 40
Oconto 67, Crivitz 47
Onalaska 72, Holmen 65
Onalaska Luther 62, Viroqua 50
Oostburg 58, Milwaukee Lutheran 50
Stevens Point Pacelli 75, Shiocton 50
Palmyra-Eagle 44, Dodgeland 31
Port Edwards 58, Wild Rose 42
Portage 53, Waunakee 51
Poynette 76, New Glarus 33
Ripon 79, Wautoma 42
River Valley 65, Fennimore 50
Rosholt 41, Tigerton 32
Sheboygan Lutheran 67, Sheboygan Falls 57
Sheboygan County Christian 58, Living Word Lutheran 57
Sheboygan Lutheran/Kohler/Sheboygan Christian 67, Sheboygan Falls 57
Shell Lake 56, Lake Holcombe 34
Shullsburg 50, Hazel Green Southwestern 48, OT
Somerset 51, Barron 48
Spencer 63, Rib Lake 44
Stratford 43, Pittsville 39
Sturgeon Bay 48, Kewaunee 44
Turtle Lake 67, Prairie Farm 59
Waukesha West 87, Milwaukee Career and Tech Ed 52
West De Pere 62, Hortonville 46
Westby 68, Brookwood 41
Westfield 55, Princeton 26
Wisconsin girls' high school basketball Amherst 49, Shiocton 37
Baraboo 48, Edgerton 20
Bay Port 53, Hortonville 45
Cameron 61, St. Croix Falls 44
Clinton 53, Monroe 46
Colby 52, Granton 16
Coleman 55, Niagara 16
Crandon 35, Laona/Wabeno 32
Dodgeville 79, Evansville 45
Durand 53, Altoona 44
Madison Edgewood 54, Oconomowoc 41
Fond du Lac 59, Appleton East 46
Fox Valley Lutheran 71, Appleton West 67
Frederic 57, Unity 34
Freedom 35, Denmark 29
Green Bay Southwest 61, Sheboygan North 42
Hartford 52, West Bend West 32
Hurley 65, Bessemer, Mich. 36
Kettle Moraine 43, Watertown 17
La Crosse Central 40, Tomah 18
La Crosse Logan 43, Menomonie 36
Lancaster 43, Boscobel 27
Lena 55, Wausaukee 47
Little Chute 51, Berlin 34
Lomira 44, Campbellsport 41, OT
Luck 51, Birchwood 17
Marion 37, Menominee Indian 20
Mellen 53, Drummond 35
Milwaukee School of Languages 63, Milwaukee Heritage Christian 56
Monticello 58, Highland 20
Mukwonago 63, Appleton North 62, 2-OT
New Lisbon 41, Melrose-Mindoro 21
New London 56, Marinette 16
New Richmond 57, Hudson 49
North Crawford 47, Wonewoc-Center 44
Oregon 43, Fort Atkinson 34
Oshkosh North 51, Menasha 28
Peshtigo 63, Marinette St. Thomas Aquinas 19
Phillips 65, Wisconsin Valley Lutheran 23
Plymouth 60, Port Washington 13
Potosi 53, Wauzeka-Steuben 39
Prairie du Chien 48, Waukon, Iowa 34
Prescott 53, Saint Croix Central 46
Randolph 28, Pardeeville 27
Reedsburg 51, Mount Horeb 29
Rice Lake 54, Amery 33
Riverdale 54, Ithaca 47
Seneca 41, Kickapoo 28
Shawano 56, Clintonville 37
Siren 33, Cornell 22
South Shore 69, Solon Springs 32
Spencer 40, Rib Lake 31
Suring 59, Crivitz 29
Thorp 43, Owen-Withee 41
Plainfield Tri-County 45, Almond-Bancroft 42
Union Grove Christian 57, Kenosha Reuther 41
Turtle Lake 52, Prairie Farm 41
Washburn 43, Bayfield 41
Watertown Maranatha Baptist 51, Milwaukee St. Anthony 11
Waupaca 51, Tomahawk 30
Westby 61, Blair-Taylor 43
Whitewater 80, Beloit Turner 50
Wisconsin boys' high school hockey
Antigo 6, Rhinelander 0
Ashwaubenon 6, De Pere/West De Pere 0
Baraboo/Portage 5, Brookfield 4
Bay Port 10, Oshkosh 0
Chippewa Falls 10, River Falls 3
Northland Pines 3, Wausau East 1
Stevens Point Pacelli/Wisconsin Rapids Assumption 9, Sauk Prairie 0
Stoughton 7, Monroe 1
Wisconsin girls' high school hockey
Lake Geneva Badger 13, Viroqua 0
Fond du Lac 12, Beaver Dam-Randolph 0
Marshfield 3, Medford 0
Tomahawk 3, Point-Rapids 2