WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Former Madison and Marquette star burns Bucks
PORTLAND, OR -- Former Marquette guard Wesley Matthews scored 26 points last night, to help the Portland Trail Blazers win at home in overtime over the Milwaukee Bucks 120-to-115. Matthews, who starred at Madison Memorial High School, made 5-of-7 shots from three-point-range -- including a crucial trey late in the extra period. Damian Lilliard forced the overtime by making a basket with just over four seconds left in regulation. Bucks' guard Ramon Sessions tried a long three at the buzzer, but it didn't fall. In the O-T, Milwaukee had a one-point lead with 2:36 left when the Trail Blazers scored seven straight points to go in front for good. Former Buck Mo Williams scored 23 points, as Portland ended two straight home losses to Milwaukee. Brandon Knight scored 24 and Sessions 23, as the Bucks lost their fifth straight game overall and fell to 1-and-11 on the road against Western Conference opponents. The Bucks out-scored Portland in the paint, 56-46. But Milwaukee committed 19 turnovers, and the Blazers made all but three of their 27 free throw attempts. The Bucks will continue their four-game Western road trip tomorrow night at Golden State.
Bucks' power forward Ersan Ilyasova will stop playing on back-to-back nights for the rest of the season. Coach Larry Drew says he's concerned about a right ankle injury that Ilyasova has been struggling with since last October. He first hurt the ankle in a pre-season game against Cleveland. The Bucks have three more sets of back-to-back games -- the next being Sunday at Sacramento and Monday night against the Clippers in Los Angeles. Ilyasova says he wants to keep playing as much as possible, focus on recovering this summer, and being ready for next year. He has played in 52 regular season contests for the Bucks, averaging around 11 points and six rebounds. Ilyasova is making about 40-percent of his shots this season, down from 46-percent a year ago. Ilyasova's three-point production is way down, from 37-percent last season to 29-percent this year.
The U-W Green Bay men ended their season with an 80-to-65 home loss to Belmont last night in the opening round of the N-I-T basketball tournament. Belmont ended the first half on a 12-to-4 run to take a 12-point lead into the locker room. The Bruins went up by 19 in the second half, and Green Bay never got any closer than seven. The Phoenix did not score in the final 1:56. They were without their leading scorer, Keifer Sykes. The Horizon League player-of-the-year injured his left ankle in a league tournament game on March 8th -- and he was ruled out during the team's shoot-around yesterday afternoon. Without its point guard, Green Bay committed a season-high 21 turnovers. Greg Mays scored 15 points for the Phoenix, which lost back-to-back games for the first time all season. Craig Bradshaw scored a career-high 25 points for Belmont, which has won eight of its last nine and improved to 25-and-9. Green Bay finishes its season at 24-and-7, with the most wins by a Phoenix team since 1996. Tonight, the Green Bay women will open their W-N-I-T Tournament run at Minnesota.
Wisconsin fans can watch their team practice this afternoon, as the second-seeded Badgers get ready to play American University in Milwaukee tomorrow in the N-C-A-A men's tournament. Bo Ryan's team will practice from 1:30 to 2:10 at the B-M-O Harris Bradley Center. Admission is free. The Badgers are among eight teams playing in Milwaukee -- and all of their workouts today are open to the public. American is up first at noon. B-Y-U is next at 12:45, followed by the Badgers. Oregon practices at 2:15, Michigan at 4:25, Texas at 5:10, Wofford at 5:55, and Arizona State at 6:40. Wisconsin opens the Milwaukee games at 11:40 tomorrow morning against 15th-seeded American. The winner will play either Oregon or B-Y-U on Saturday. Michigan takes on Wofford in tomorrow night's session, and Texas faces A-S-U. Meanwhile, U-W Milwaukee continues to gear up for its opening N-C-A-A contest against second-seeded Villanova tomorrow night in Buffalo.
The Milwaukee Brewers pounded Texas 9-to-3 yesterday in an exhibition game in Phoenix. Carlos Gomez hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning, and Mark Reynolds belted a grand slam in the sixth. It gave Reynolds a boost, as he competes with Lyle Overbay and Juan Francisco for the Milwaukee first base spot. Reynolds is only batting .200 this spring, and the homer was his first -- but he leads the Crew with 10 R-B-I's. Marco Estrada threw six shutout innings. He held the Rangers to four hits with five strike-outs and no walks. Estrada has now thrown 12 scoreless frames this spring. The Brewers did not see their former teammate Prince Fielder, who was traded to Texas during the winter. He did not make the trip to the Milwaukee complex where he played for seven springs. Fielder is batting .256 in 14 games for the Rangers with a homer and five R-B-I's. The Brewers are now 9-and-12 in Cactus League play this spring. They'll play Seattle this afternoon. Earlier yesterday, the Brewers sent utility player Sean Halton to Triple-"A" Nashville on an outright basis.
In rowing, the Wisconsin varsity-eight was named the Big Ten's first boat-of-the-week for this spring. The team scored a pair of victories at the Oak Ridge Cardinal Invitational, beating out second-place Kansas last Saturday and Tennessee last Sunday. Marie Hebert led the Badgers each time as the coxswain.