WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: First place on the line in Packers-Lions Thanksgiving match-up
DETROIT - The Green Bay Packers can move into second place in the NFC North Division if they can beat the Detroit Lions today, and win their first game in just over a month.
The Chicago Bears will keep at least a share of the division lead, no matter what happens. The Bears and Lions are both 6-5, while the Packers come in at 5-5-1 after their tie with Minnesota last Sunday. Green Bay will have some fresh legs on both sides of the ball. Corner Sam Shields is expected to play after missing a week with a hamstring injury. He'll be assigned to Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson, who did not play when the Packers and Lions first met up October sixth in Green Bay. Linebacker Nick Perry and tackle Don Barclay are also expected to return today. Matt Flynn will start at quarterback in place of the injured Aaron Rodgers. Coach Mike McCarthy said Flynn took all the snaps at practice the past two days. Kick-off is at 11:30 from Ford Field in Detroit.
Johnathan Franklin is out for the year. The Packers' rookie running back was placed on injured reserve yesterday, after he had suffered a concussion while returning the opening kickoff against Minnesota last Sunday. The Packers filled the roster spot by promoting linebacker Victor Aiyewa from the practice squad. He joined the team in mid-October. Aiyewa spent some time in Tampa Bay's training camp in 2011. Franklin had his best game in Week-Three, when he ran for 107 yards and a touchdown at Cincinnati. Since then, the UCLA product only had six carries in seven games. Franklin played in 11 contests in all, with an average per carry of 5.6 yards.
The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team won the Cancun men's basketball Challenge in Mexico last night, with a 70-63 victory over West Virginia. The Badgers won despite being out-shot 43-to-41-percent. Wisconsin used a 20-2 run to go up by 17 in the first half. The Mountaineers got to within eight at the break. Wisconsin then went up by 12 early in the second half, but West Virginia never let the Badgers pull away. The Mountaineers were within six in the final minutes. Wisconsin then made 3-of-4 free throws to ice their victory. Sam Dekker had 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, and was named the tournament's MVP. Eron Harris scored a game-high 27 points for West Virginia, which dropped to 5-2. The 10th-ranked Badgers are now 8-0 for the first time in coach Bo Ryan's tenure in Madison. They'll play at Virginia next Wednesday night.
The Marquette University men's basketball team will play at Cal State-Fullerton this afternoon, in its second game of the Wooden Legacy holiday tournament. The Golden Eagles are 3-2 after losing on Monday night at Arizona State 79--77. Marquette senior Jake Thomas hit five three-pointers in that contest, as he helped the Eagles come back from 15 points down only to falter at the end. Cal State-Fullerton plays in the Big West Conference. The Titans are 2-3, after falling to San Jose State last Saturday 81-59. Guard Michael Williams scored a dozen for Fullerton.
The Milwaukee Bucks have their longest losing streak in 17-and-a-half years, after falling at home last night to the Washington Wizards, 100-92 in overtime. Bucks' guard O.J. Mayo scored a three-pointer to send the game to overtime. The Bucks had their final lead with 3:56 left in the OT, when Luke Ridnour hit a three. Washington then went on a 7-0 run. Ersan Ilyasova got Milwaukee to within four by making a lay-up with 1:14 to go. Nene had two big offensive rebounds in the final minute to seal the win for the Wizards. The Bucks lost despite out-rebounding the Wizards 44-34. Marcin Gortat scored six of his game-high 25 points in the extra period, as he hit 11-of-12 shots from the floor. John Wall had 19 points with six assists and five steals, as Washington won its third straight. Mayo led Milwaukee with 21. Khris Middleton netted 13, and Ilyasova had 12 as the Bucks have now dropped 10 straight for the first time since March of 1996 -- when they lost 15-in-a-row. The Bucks are now 2-12, and will try again for Win Number-Three tomorrow night at Charlotte.
The UW-Green Bay men will play Pepperdine tonight at the Great Alaska Shoot-out in Anchorage. The Phoenix are 2-and-1, after a 92-57 win over Minnesota-Duluth last weekend. Senior center Alec Brown had a triple-double in that game with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 blocked shots. Tonight is also the 100th game for Green Bay head coach Brian Wardle. Pepperdine comes in at 4-1, after a 58-53 win over Utah Valley State last Saturday.
Ryan Braun says he's open to moving from left field to right next year. The Milwaukee Brewers have talked about such a move, to give Khris Davis more playing time in left. Braun held his first news conference yesterday since he took a 65-game suspension in late July for taking performance-enhancing drugs. Braun says he's had some discussions with the Brewers about where he'll play next year -- and he's open to any position except third base, where he played when he was promoted to the Majors in 2007. Braun said it didn't go too well. He said he wanted to stay in Milwaukee, where he has seven years and $127-million remaining on his contract. There have been trade rumors, and Brewers' GM Doug Melvin recently said he has no intention of dealing Braun away. Braun said he's "deeply remorseful" for taking PED's in 2011 and then denying it for almost two years. He said little about his involvement with the Bio-Genesis clinic, and the PED regimen the clinic reportedly had him on.
The Milwaukee Admirals lost in overtime at Rockford last night, 2-1. Mark McNeil scored the game-winner just 37 seconds into the OT. Nobody scored until the third period, when Joakim Nordstrom put Rockford in front, and Taylor Beck scored a short-handed goal for Milwaukee. Admirals' goal-tender Magnus Hellberg had 29 saves. Milwaukee will now play at Charlotte in a two-game series that begins Saturday.
Marquette University senior Elizabeth Koberstein has been named the Big East Conference women's volleyball player-of-the-year. She had league-highs in hitting percentage, assists, and kills during the regular season -- and she's third in the nation in assists with almost 12-and-a-quarter per set. Koberstein was also the league's pre-season player-of-the-year. She becomes the first Golden Eagle to win the top honor. Also, Marquette outside hitter Autumn Bailey was named the freshman-of-the-year. Bond Shymansky and his Marquette assistants were named the Big East coaching staff-of-the-year. Meghan Niemann joined her Eagles' teammates Koberstein and Bailey on the All Big-East first team. Lindsey Gosh and Julie Jeziorowski of Marquette made the all-league second squad. The Eagles have the top-seed in the conference tournament. They'll play fourth-seeded Butler in the semi-finals tomorrow in Omaha.