WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Badgers beat Penn St., winning streak now at seven
The Wisconsin men's basketball team has a seven-game winning streak after a 71-66 victory at Penn State. The 14th-ranked Badgers were up by four at the break. Penn State got within two points on three occasions late in the second half. Wisconsin was up 66-64 with 18-point-two seconds left when Traevon Jackson made four consecutive free throws to seal the victory. The Badgers made 13-of-14 free throws down the stretch. Josh Gasser scored 15 points for Wisconsin, which won its fifth straight road game and school-record 11th contest away from Madison. D-J Newbill had 23 for Penn State, which was trying to win its second game in a row over a ranked opponent but instead dropped its fifth straight to the U-W. Penn State is now 5-and-11 in the Big Ten and 14-and-15 overall. Wisconsin clinched a first-round bye in next week's conference tournament. The Badgers are 11-and-5 in the Big Ten and 24-and-5 overall. They'll host Purdue on Wednesday night.
It appears that the Marquette men will have to win next week's Big East Conference Tournament to have any hope for an N-C-A-A bid. The Golden Eagles lost at eighth-ranked Villanova yesterday 73-to-56. Marquette only got 17 points from its starters, as it dropped to 17-and-12 overall and 9-and-7 in the Big East. Villanova moved into first place in the conference by a game over second-place Creighton. Marquette trailed by 11 at the intermission, and Villanova opened the second half with a 12-4 run. Marquette scored the next six points to make it a 48-35 game, but Villanova then pulled away for good with a 16-7 run. The Eagles never got within 17 after that. Deonte Burton scored 13 for Marquette. Darrun Hillard scored a career-high 26 for Villanova, which won its fourth straight and improved to 14-and-2 in the Big East and 26-and-3 overall. Marquette returns home tomorrow night to play Providence.
Wisconsin will play sixth-seeded Minnesota on Thursday night in the first round of the Big Ten Conference women's basketball tournament in Indianapolis. The Badgers have the Number-11 seed, after losing their regular season finale to Northwestern at home yesterday, 77-to-73 in overtime. Wisconsin blew two chances to win in the final three seconds of regulation, when Taylor Wurtz and Michala Johnson missed. Northwestern then started the overtime with a 5-nothing run to lead for good. Wurtz had 18 points and 12 rebounds, as the Badgers finished the regular season at 3-and-13 in the Big Ten and 10-and-18 overall. Nia Coffey scored 19 for Northwestern, which ended its conference schedule at 5-and-11, with a 15-and-14 overall mark.
U-W Stevens Point won the W-I-A-C men's basketball title by crushing Whitewater at home yesterday, 74-to-57. The Pointers, ranked first in the N-C-A-A's Division-Three, won the league's automatic berth to the national tournament. Second-ranked Whitewater is expected to get an at-large bid when the D-Three field is announced late this morning. Whitewater only shot 17-percent in the first-half against the Pointers, as the Warhawks trailed 37-14 at the break. Whitewater shot 44-percent in the second half, and 34-percent for the game -- but they never got close to Stevens Point, which shot 50-percent for the afternoon. Tyler Tillema had 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Pointers, who improved to 26-and-1 overall. Quardell Young scored 19 for Whitewater, which dropped to 23-and-4.
Saint Norbert of De Pere and Marian of Fond du Lac are also headed the national Division-Three men's tournament, after winning their conference tourneys on Saturday. On the women's side, Carthage, Saint Norbert, U-W Oshkosh, and Wisconsin Lutheran all won automatic N-C-A-A bids by winning their league tournaments over the weekend. That field will be announced this afternoon.
Matt Garza gave up four first-inning runs in his Milwaukee debut, but the Brewers came back later to beat Colorado 6-to-5 yesterday in an exhibition game at Scottsdale Arizona. Garza, who signed a four-year, 50-million-dollar free agent contract this winter, surrendered four hits and a pair of walks in one inning of work. Michael McKenry had the big hit for the Rockies with a two-run double. Hector Gomez gave Milwaukee the victory with a homer in the eighth inning off Rockies' reliever Scott Oberg. The Brewers are now 3-and-2 in Cactus League play, and will face the Chicago Cubs this afternoon.
Matt Kenseth of Cambridge finished 12th in yesterday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix. Kenseth dropped one place to seventh in the series point standings after two races. Paul Menard of Eau Claire placed 23rd in The-Profit-on-C-N-B-C-500. He rose spots to 24th in the point totals. Beloit-born Danica Patrick was 36th at Phoenix, and fell two spots in the standings to 39th. Travis Kvapil (kwah-pull) of Janesville took 38th in his first race of the season. He's now 42nd in the standings. Kevin Harvick won the event. Dale Earnhardt Junior is still the Sprint Cup points' leader.
The Wisconsin women's hockey team won its first-round W-C-H-A playoff series over Minnesota State, with a 2-to-nothing victory yesterday in the third-and-deciding game in Madison. Blayre Turnbull and Courtney Burke scored, and Alex Rigsby had 21 saves. It was the Badgers' fifth straight game against Minnesota State, and second-ranked Wisconsin won all but one of them. The Badgers now advance to the W-C-H-A Final Face-off in Bemidji Minnesota. They'll play North Dakota late Friday afternoon.
The Milwaukee Admirals have won back-to-back games for the first time in over five weeks, with a 2-to-1 overtime victory at home yesterday over Rochester. Pekka Rinne, the N-H-L All-Star goal-tender who's on a rehab assignment with Milwaukee, had 17 saves. Charles-Olivier Roussel scored both of Milwaukee's goals, including the game-winner with 3:32 left in the overtime.
In golf, Pewaukee native Mark Wilson tied for 46th at the P-G-A's Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens Florida. Wilson shot a one-over-par 71 in his final round yesterday to finish at even-par-280. Russell Henley, Ryan Palmer, Rory McIlroy, and Russell Knox all completed regulation at eight-under-272. Henley won the tournament on the first playoff hole.
The Milwaukee Wave lost at home to Missouri yesterday 9-to-4. Lucas Rodriguez gave the Comets their victory with a three-point goal early in the fourth quarter. Milwaukee blew a chance to get the top-seed in the Major Indoor Soccer League playoffs, as the Wave ended the regular season at 16-and-4. All four of its losses came to the Comets, who are now 14-and-6. The two teams will play each other in a first-round series which begins next Sunday at Missouri. Game-Two is a week from tonight in Milwaukee.