WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: UW-Milwaukee clinches Tourney berth by winning Horizon
DAYTON, Ohio -- U-W Milwaukee will make its first N-C-A-A men's basketball tournament appearance since 2006, after winning at Wright State 69-to-63 last night to claim the Horizon League title. It continues a remarkable turnaround for the Panthers, who only won eight games last year and were picked to finish last in the conference this season. Milwaukee led the entire way, after jumping out to a 19-7 start. They scored only one basket in the final eight minutes and still hung on to win its fifth straight game. Kyle Kelm scored 20 points for U-W-M. Jordan Aaron had 18, and was named the tournament's M-V-P after missing four games at the end of the regular season for an undisclosed violation of team rules. The Panthers made 9-of-18 shots from three-point range. They out-rebounded Wright State 35-28. And Milwaukee committed just 10 turnovers. A-J Pacher scored 16 for Wright State, which ended a six-game winning streak and fell to 20-and-14. U-W-M will represent the Horizon League in next week's Big Dance despite going just 7-and-9 in conference play. The Panthers had the fifth seed, and were the first team lower than third to win the Horizon tourney in its current format. At 21-and-13, Milwaukee will now get ready for its fourth N-C-A-A appearance. It will learn its seed and opening opponent on Selection Sunday.
Kevin Borseth of U-W Green Bay has been named the Horizon League women's basketball coach-of-the-year. Nine of his 12 players are freshmen and sophomores, and they managed to win the school's 16th straight regular season conference title. Borseth won the Horizon honor for the eighth time, with a career mark of 154-and-16 in conference games. Also, Tesha Buck of Green Bay was named the league's Freshman of the Year. Buck led all Horizon League freshmen in points with 10 per game as well as assists, steals, three-pointers made, and assist-turnover ratio. Buck and her teammate Mehryn Kraker made the All-Freshman team. No Wisconsin players made the all-conference first team. Kaili Lukan of Green Bay and Angela Rodriguez of Milwaukee made the second squad. Megan Lukan of Green Bay was named to the All-Defensive team. The top-seeded Phoenix will host Valparaiso tonight in the league quarter-finals. Seventh-seeded Milwaukee is at Number-two Wright State.
The Milwaukee Bucks lost to Minnesota for the fourth straight time, 112-to-101 last night in Minneapolis. The Bucks trailed by two points going into the final quarter, when the Timberwolves pulled away with a 19-to-4 run. Milwaukee trailed by double-digits through the final seven minutes, as the Bucks dropped to 2-and-23 against Western Conference opponents. They've still not won back-to-back games since last March. Milwaukee started on fire, hitting its first 12 shots and 15-of-21 during the first quarter. The T-Wolves caught up and took over with the help of 20-to-8 run early in the third period. Brandon Knight scored 21 points to lead the Bucks, and center Zaza Pachulia had a career-high 10 assists. Forward Ersan Ilyasova missed the game with a sore right ankle. Kevin Love had 27 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists to help Minnesota win its fifth game in its last seven. The Bucks have lost three-of-four, falling to an N-B-A worst 13-and-51 on the year. They'll play at Atlanta tomorrow night.
The Green Bay Packers made one move on the opening day of the free-agent signing period. They gave a minimum qualifying offer of one-point-four million dollars to restricted free agent linebacker Jamari Lattimore. Meanwhile, a couple of the Packers' other free agents began shopping around. Media reports said tight end Jermichael Finley was about to meet with the Seattle Seahawks -- where he'll get a physical after he underwent cervical fusion surgery last fall. Also, center Evan Dietrich-Smith was reportedly about to meet with Tampa Bay. Lattimore can still seek a better deal from other teams, but the Packers have the right to match any offer. Because Lattimore was never drafted, Green Bay would not get an extra draft pick if he signs with somebody else. Lattimore started four games last year after inside linebacker Brad Jones was out with an injured hamstring.
A receiver from Florida says he'll play his college football at Wisconsin starting in 2015. Junior wideout Andrew James of Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale tweeted yesterday that he gave an oral commitment to the Badgers. He also had scholarship offers from Cincinnati and Temple. James is Wisconsin's third known commitment to its 2015 recruiting class. The others are tight end Kyle Penniston from California and quarterback Austin Kafentzis from Utah.
After a day off, the Milwaukee Brewers return this afternoon to play the Angels of Anaheim in a Spring Training contest in Arizona. The Valley of the Sun is familiar territory to Khris Davis, who was given an opportunity to start in his natural left-field position for the Crew after Ryan Braun moved to right. Davis' father Rodney was working for the Seattle Mariners' organization in 1994 when he moved his family to the Phoenix area. Khris Davis ended up playing his high school ball at Deer Valley, about 11 miles from the Brewers' spring complex in Phoenix. The 26-year-old Davis ended last season in left field for Milwaukee, in the wake of Braun's drug suspension. He hit .294 with 11 homers in 119 at-bats. This spring, Davis is hitting .238 in seven spring contests with a homer and three R-B-I's.
Former Milwaukee area soccer stand-out Leslie Osborne announced her retirement from the pros yesterday. The 30-year-old midfielder played with the Chicago Red Stars last season. She's about to start a T-V career as a commentator on the Fox Soccer cable channel. Osborne, a Brookfield native, was the state's player of the year for Waukesha Catholic Memorial High School for two seasons around 2000. She was on the U-S national team when she suffered an A-C-L knee injury at a training session in 2008. That knocked her out of the Beijing Olympics, a year after she helped Team U-S-A place third in the Women's World Cup. Osborne played for Boston and F-C Gold Pride in Women's Professional Soccer, before joining Chicago last season in the National Women's Soccer League.