Evening State Sports Briefs: Bucks look to win-to-back games for first time this monthWisconsin Sports
-- The Milwaukee Bucks have not won back-to-back games this month. But that could change tonight in Washington, where the Wizards will try to break an eight-game losing streak.
WASHINGTON D.C. - The Milwaukee Bucks have not won back-to-back games this month. But that could change tonight in Washington, where the Wizards will try to break an eight-game losing streak.
The Bucks gave up their second-fewest points of the season last night in a 92-74 home victory over Toronto. It gave Milwaukee its 20th win against 30 losses. And it put them closer to playoff contention, just one-and-a-half games back for the eighth-and-final post-season spot in the Eastern Conference. Guard John Salmons says there’s a sense of urgency – and they need to string out some victories now if they want to make the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Wizards are 13-37, and they’ve given up an average of 109 points in their last eight games. The Wizards are 13-12 at home, but they’ve lost three straight there. Rookie point guard John Wall is expected to play for the Wizards, after hurting an ankle in a seven-point loss to Atlanta last Saturday night.
The Marquette University men’s basketball team will play its first game in a week, when it takes on the Bulls at South Florida tonight. The Golden Eagles are 5-5 in the Big East and 14-9 overall. South Florida is 2-9 in the conference and 8-16 overall. Their only Big East victories came against Providence and De Paul – and the Bulls were blown out by 23 points against 12th-ranked Syracuse in their last home game. Marquette forwards Jamail Jones and Erik Williams have seen very little playing time this season – and coach Buzz Williams says he appreciates the way they’ve handled it. Both players are in a waiting game behind Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder. And the coach is also trying to get center Chris Otule as much playing time as possible. Williams is a 6-7 sophomore who played in 19 games as a freshman. This season, he had a career-high 12 points in the season opener against Prairie View A&M and a career-best 10 rebounds in Game-Two against Centenary. But Williams has only had 21 minutes since. The 6-6 Jones is an inexperienced freshman. He had 10 points against Centenary, but has not had much court time since. Coach Williams says Jones will be a really good player – and for this season at least, he says practice is the best place where Jones can hone his skills.
The WIAC has a full schedule of men’s-and-women’s basketball games tonight. On the men’s side, UW-Stevens Point will try to win its seventh straight game when it plays at Eau Claire. The eighth-ranked Pointers are 10-2 in conference play, and they trail 10th-ranked River Falls by a game-and-a-half for the league lead. Also tonight, Whitewater is at Platteville. Stout hosts Superior. And La Crosse plays at Oshkosh. The Midwest Conference has men’s-and-women’s double-headers tonight. Saint Norbert hosts Beloit, and Carroll plays at Ripon. The Saint Norbert men are ranked 17th at 12-3 in conference play, two games ahead of second-place Ripon. The 18th-ranked Saint Norbert women are 14-1, three games up on second-place Monmouth. In the Northern Athletics Conference, the Concordia-Mequon men have clinched at least a share of the North Division crown. Concordia plays at Lakeland tonight. Wisconsin Lutheran hosts Marian. And Milwaukee Engineering plays at Rockford. And in the CCIW tonight, the Carthage men host Elmhurst. On the women’s side, fourth-ranked Stevens Point will go for its 13th straight victory when it hosts Eau Claire. The Pointers lead the WIAC at 12-and-0, with La Crosse second at 10-and-3. La Crosse hosts Oshkosh tonight. 23rd-ranked Whitewater is at home against Platteville. And the UW-Superior women host Stout.
The Milwaukee Admirals will try to hang onto their share of first-place in the American Hockey League’s West Division tonight, when they host Peoria. Milwaukee and San Antonio have a two-point lead over Peoria in a tight division race. Former Wisconsin Badger Blake Geoffrion has the hot hand for Milwaukee these days. He has scored goals in each of his last four games and has 13 points in that stretch. And Geoffrion has won back-to-back player-of-the-week honors in the AHL. Milwaukee is 28-13-2-6. Peoria is 29-18-2-2.
Green Bay Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy said receiver Jordy Nelson injured a bursa sac in one of his knees during the Super Bowl. At his season-ending news conference today, McCarthy said Nelson played the entire fourth quarter with the injury – and he’ll be fine. Nelson caught a career-high nine passes for 140 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl, in which the Packers beat Pittsburgh 31-25. McCarthy also said corner Charles Woodson would not need surgery for the broken collarbone that forced him to miss the second half of last Sunday night’s title game. McCarthy also said the preliminary personnel work is already underway for next season – assuming there is a next season considering the possible owners’ lockout of the players. McCarthy said the normal off-season conditioning program is already being set back. The coach also said he’s going through the normal evaluation process for the players and his assistants, and general manager Ted Thompson is going through the normal draft preparations. On the chances of an 18-game regular season, McCarthy said barely made it through 16 games – and he’s always looking for ways to lessen the risk of injuries.
Individual tickets for Milwaukee Brewers’ games will start going on sale Saturday, February 26th. As always, the Brewers will mark the occasion by holding its “Arctic Tailgate.” In the past, fans set up temporary shelters around Miller Park for days in advance of the sale. But this year, the team says shelters will not be allowed before noon on Thursday the 24th. They can only cover 100 square-feet unless the owners get the Brewers’ permission to make them bigger. Fans will not have access to the ballpark’s electricity, and gas generators will not be allowed. Shelters of cardboard and wood will also be off-limits. The Brewers also announced their promotional schedule today. And as always, it includes several bobble-head giveaways. The Brewers’ newest starter – Cy Young winner Zack Greinke – will be honored with a bobble-head to be given away on June 12th.
Five UW-Milwaukee athletes have received weekly honors from the Horizon League in swimming, diving, and indoor track-and-field. Freshman Scott Erickson was named the men’s field athlete-of-the-week, for having the league’s second-best shot put throw of the season at the Meyo Invitational at Notre Dame. Milwaukee senior Reigna Pierce was named the top women’s field athlete, for having the third-best triple jump in Panther history. Sophomore Elise Sigg was named the top women’s runner, for UWM’s second-fastest time ever in the three-thousand meters. In swimming, Milwaukee sophomore Zac Kraai was named the league’s top male for season-bests in the 500-and-one-thousand yard freestyle events. UWM senior Kelsey George and U-W Green Bay junior Daniel Pogue received the weekly diving honors.
Patrick Duvall of Beloit College is the Midwest Conference men’s swimming-and-diving athlete of the week. Duvall, a senior, won the 100-backstroke and the 50-and-500 freestyles in a triangular meet against Carroll and Knox College. Kelsey Hoeper of Lake Forest is the top women’s athlete. The conference also honored Matt Wood of Ripon and Lindsay Gruenke of Carroll in indoor track, and Rose Tepper of Lawrence and Nick Byom of Monmouth in field events.