WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Bucks finish with the worst record in the NBA
MILWAUKEE -- The Bucks ended the worst season in their 45-year history, losing to the Atlanta Hawks at home last night 111-to-103. The Bucks closed out the string by dropping 17 of their final 19 games to finish at 15-and-67, with five more losses than the previous team record set two decades ago. Milwaukee led by one going into the final quarter. The game was tied at 87 when Atlanta went on a 10-0 run to take command. The Bucks never got any closer than six after that. Brandon Knight led Milwaukee with 31 points. Mike Scott had 17 for Atlanta, which finished its regular season at 38-and-44. The Hawks begin their playoff run on Saturday against the top seed in the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers. Meanwhile, the Bucks ponder their futures with an ownership change on the horizon. Both general manager John Hammond and coach Larry Drew have two years remaining on their current contracts. Hammond, who's been with the Bucks since 2008, did not comment yesterday. Drew, who joined the team a year ago, said he knows that new owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry will evaluate everyone -- and all he can do is sit back and see what happens. Edens said he and Lasry will begin their assessments immediately, and things will step up once the N-B-A's Board of Governors approves the ownership change.
The proposed new owners of the Milwaukee Bucks say the fans deserve a winning team -- and they plan to quote, "build a great team and beautiful arena." Long-time owner Herb Kohl announced yesterday that he'll sell the Bucks to New York hedge fund owners Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for 550-million dollars. Kohl said he would donate 100-million for the long-proposed arena to replace the B-M-O Harris Bradley Center. Edens and Lasry said they'll put up another 100-million for the new building. Bradley Center board chairman Marc Marotta said the donations provide "new momentum" for the arena project, and it will help the community for decades to come. National pundits were surprised by the Bucks' sale price, considering Milwaukee's small-market status. It's almost 150-million dollars more than what Forbes magazine estimated the team to be worth in January. That estimate was 405-million, the lowest in the N-B-A. The league's Board of Governors must approve the sale, but Kohl does not think it will happen this week. He plans to introduce Edens and Lasry to other team owners today in New York. In December, Kohl said he was looking for investors for partial ownership of the team he's held since 1985. Asked why he's giving up total control, Kohl said he won't live forever -- and he's comfortable with the new owners' commitment to Milwaukee. Kohl made it a condition that the Bucks stay where they are.
The Milwaukee Brewers are in Pittsburgh to open a four-game series with the Pirates tonight. That's after the Crew beat Saint Louis 5-to-1 yesterday at Miller Park, to salvage a victory in their three-game series with the Redbirds. The Brewers scored three times in the fifth to win it, on a two-run single by Jonathan Lucroy and an R-B-I single from Aramis Ramirez -- one of his three hits on the afternoon. Wily Peralta improved to 2-and-0, giving up one run on six hits in six-and-a-third innings. That run was a homer by Allen Craig. Peralta's E-R-A is a stingy one-point-nine-six, after an outing in which he struck out three and walked one. Cardinals' starter Joe Kelly took the loss. He's 1-and-1. Kelly left the game in the fifth after he hurt a hamstring while running to first on a bunt. The Brewers' victory was the only the sixth in their last 22 games against the Cardinals. Milwaukee ended a two-game losing streak and improved to 11-and-4. They're two games ahead of the second-place Cardinals in the National League Central, and will face a Pirates' team that's third in the division at 7-and-8. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo will start for the Crew against Pittsburgh right-hander Edinson Volquez.
The Wisconsin football team will open its season in prime time. ESPN says it will televise the Badgers' game against L-S-U starting at 8 p-m on August 30th in Houston. It's expected to be an attractive match-up for a national audience. L-S-U went 10-and-3 last fall, and was 14th in both major polls. Wisconsin went 9-and-4, with a Number-22 final ranking by the A-P. The Badgers have not played a regular season game against a Southeastern Conference school since 1972 -- when L-S-U beat the Badgers 27-7 in Baton Rouge.
The Marquette men's basketball team has lost its top prospect for this fall. Shooting guard Ahmed Hill of Augusta Georgia has been released from his scholarship after he had a talk with the Golden Eagles' new coach, Steve Wojciechowski. The 6-5 Hill was regarded as the best of the four freshmen who signed with Marquette to play this fall. He's Georgia's Number-two prospect. Hill was recruited by Indiana, Missouri, Florida, and Florida State before he was signed by former Marquette coach Buzz Williams -- who left for Virginia Tech last month. Hill is the second incoming freshman to leave Marquette in the wake of the coaching change. Guard-forward Marial Shayok of Canada has also withdrawn.
Milwaukee native Bruce Weber has given a one-year contract extension as the men's basketball coach at Kansas State. He's signed through mid-2019. Weber is 47-and-21 so far -- and the 47 wins are the most ever by a K-State coach in his first two seasons. Weber also led his team to the N-C-A-A Tournament in both his campaigns. Kansas State went 20-and-13 this past season and fell to Kentucky in the tournament's second round in March. The 57-year-old Weber, who graduated from U-W Milwaukee, coached Illinois for nine years before Kansas State hired him in March of 2012.
The Wisconsin softball team has a seven-game winning streak, after sweeping a home double-header against U-W Green Bay yesterday. The Badgers overcame a four-run deficit to win the opener, 9-to-8. Mary Massei hit a walk-off single. Wisconsin also beat Green Bay in the nightcap, 5-to-2. The Badgers scored four times in the fifth inning, highlighted by a three-run homer from Michelle Mueller. It was her sixth homer in the last seven games. Wisconsin improved to 24-and-15. Green Bay fell to 16-and-9.