WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Cold shooting night dooms Badgers as Northwestern wins
The Wisconsin men's basketball team ended a 14-game home winning streak, falling to Northwestern last night 65-to-56. It was the fourth loss in the last five games for the 14th-ranked Badgers, while the Wildcats won for the first time at the Kohl Center in 14 tries. Wisconsin led by one after a tight first half. Northwestern went on a game-deciding 15-to-2 run, which gave the Wildcats a 12-point advantage with 5:30 left. The Badgers were down by 10 with just over a minute to play when Ben Brust tried taking over. He scored six points down the stretch, but it wasn't enough as Wisconsin could not get within six in the final minute. Chris Collins, Northwestern's first-year coach, called it a tremendous win for his program -- because he knows how tough it is to win in Madison. The Wildcats had not won there since 1996. Drew Crawford had 30 points and eight rebounds, as Northwestern improved to 4-and-5 in the Big Ten and 11-and-11 overall. Brust scored 21 for Wisconsin, which dropped to 4-and-4 in the league and 17-and-4 overall. The Badgers will host Ohio State on Saturday.
The U-W Green Bay men snapped a 12-game winning streak, with a 75-to-60 loss at Valparaiso last night. The Phoenix played without senior center Alec Brown for the first time in his career. He sat out with an injured left shoulder. Green Bay coach Brian Wardle was injured after he fell on the ice while getting off the team bus -- but he did not miss the game. Valparaiso took control early on, as the Crusaders made eight-of-their-first-10 shots. The lead grew to 22-to-11, and Green Bay never got within single digits the rest of the night. Valpo's largest lead was 26 with just over 14 minutes left. Without the 7-1 Brown in the middle, the Crusaders had a 38-28 rebounding edge. LaVonte Dority scored 26, as Valparaiso improved to 5-and-3 in the Horizon League and 13-and-10 overall. Keifer Sykes scored 19 for the Green Bay, which lost its first conference game after going 7-and-0. The Phoenix are 17-and-4 overall, and will host Wright State on Saturday.
Five Marquette women's players scored in double figures last night, but it wasn't enough as the Golden Eagles lost at DePaul 91-to-85. Junior Cristina Bigica led Marquette with a career-high 19 points, and Chelsie Butler added a career-high 15. DePaul also had five players in double figures, led by Brittany Hyrnko with 20. Marquette trailed by 19 midway through the second half. They got within five later on, but the Blue Demons sealed their free throws down the stretch to seal their victory. Marquette lost despite shooting 50-percent and out-rebounding DePaul 52-29. The Demons improved to 7-and-2 in the Big East and 16-and-5 overall. Marquette dropped to 4-and-4 in the league and 13-and-6 overall. They'll host Georgetown on Saturday.
The U-W Milwaukee women lost at home to Illinois-Chicago last night, 84-to-70. The Flames started pulling away with a 12-nothing run in the first half. Milwaukee scored the first eight points of the second half to get within five, but Illinois-Chicago answered with a 10-2 run -- and the Panthers never got any closer than 10 after that. The Flames out-scored Milwaukee 20-to-5 in points off turnovers, and 17-to-8 in second-chance points. Milwaukee natives Terri Bender and Rachel Story each scored 22 for Illinois-Chicago, which improved to 5-and-2 in the Horizon League and 16-and-4 overall. Angela Rodriguez had 26 for U-W-M, which is now 2-and-4 in the conference and 6-and-13 overall. The Panthers will host Valparaiso on Saturday.
Tonight, the Wisconsin women play at Michigan State, and the U-W Green Bay women are at Oakland. In men's action, Marquette hosts Providence, and Milwaukee is at home against Wright State. The U-W Parkside men-and-women play at Saint Joseph's.
The Milwaukee Bucks lost their fourth straight game last night, 126-to-117 at home to Phoenix. The Suns led by as many as 23 in the second quarter, before the Bucks cut the deficit to 12 at the half and seven after three periods. Milwaukee got to within five points several times in the fourth quarter, but Goran Dragic hit back-to-back three-pointers to put Phoenix up by 16 with 2:19 left. The Bucks never got to within 10 the rest of the way. Dragic scored a game-high 30 points -- 13 of them in a short span late in the game to give the Suns their third straight victory. He injured his left elbow on a hard fall to the floor late. X-rays were negative. Ersan Ilyasova scored 27 for Milwaukee. Brandon Knight had 24 points and eight assists, as the Bucks went 34-of-36 from the free-throw line. Still, Milwaukee fell to 8-and-37 on the year. They'll play at Orlando tomorrow night.
The Bucks will be represented at the N-B-A's All-Star Weekend for the first time in three years. Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will join eight other rookies and nine second-year players in the Rising Stars' Challenge on Friday night, February 14th in New Orleans. The N-B-A announced the selections yesterday. The 19-year-old Antetokounmpo has become a starter for a Milwaukee team that's re-building. He was the 15th overall pick in last year's draft -- and he's averaging seven points and five rebounds in 39 games. Antetokounmpo is second among N-B-A rookies in rebounding, and he's the seventh-highest rookie in scoring. Brandon Jennings was the last Milwaukee player to be in the All-Star Weekend's festivities. He was in the rookie-sophomore game in both 2010-and-'11.
Kevon Looney of Milwaukee Hamilton has been named to the McDonald's High School All-American game, to be played on April second in Chicago. The senior forward was among 24 boys selected. And Looney is the first Wisconsin player in 11 years to be chosen. Brian Butch of Appleton West was the last in 2003. Only three other Wisconsin boys' players have been McDonald's All-Americans -- Sam Okey of Cassville in 1995, Calvin Rayford of Milwaukee Washington in '91, and Joe Wolf of Kohler in 1983. Looney averages 27 points a game in a number of spots on the floor for Milwaukee Hamilton, which has won five straight after a 3-and-5 start.
Wisconsin high school football teams will have new safety guidelines as they start preparing in August for their next seasons. The W-I-A-A's Board of Control unanimously approved new rules yesterday on the length of practices, and breaks that must be taken to avoid players from getting overheated. State coaches joined the W-I-A-A in creating the new rules. In the pre-season, long days with two practices can be held every other day, alternating with short practices. Cooling-off and recovery periods are scheduled in. The first day of full pads and contact will be on the seventh day of the August workouts, instead of the fourth day. When the regular season begins, teams can practice up to two-and-a-half hours with no recovery periods.