Morning State Sports Briefs: UWM men's hoops signs three new playersWisconsin Sports
-- Three players signed national letters-of-intent yesterday to join the UW-Milwaukee men’s basketball team this fall.
MILWAUKEE - Three players signed national letters-of-intent yesterday to join the UW-Milwaukee men’s basketball team this fall.
They are junior college transfers Jordan Aaron and Thierno Niang, and Louisiana high school player Donald Thomas. Aaron, who’s 5-11, averaged 14 points and four assists for Southeastern Community College in Iowa last fall. But he was among 10 players who violated team rules, and their season was canceled last December. Niang, who’s 6-1, is a native of Senegal. He averaged eight points and five rebounds for Triton College of Illinois last season. Thomas was an All-Louisiana second pick last spring. He went to Riverside Academy near New Orleans. Niang and Aaron will help re-stock a Milwaukee backcourt which lost point guard Kaylon Williams. Thomas, a forward, is expected to produce more speed in the front-court for the Panthers.
The University of Wisconsin will joined by Arkansas, Arizona State, and Creighton in the Las Vegas Invitational men’s basketball tournament on Thanksgiving weekend. The field was announced today. The matchups have yet to be set, but the Badgers will play two games in the Orleans Arena on November 23rd-and-24th. Nevada-Las Vegas won last year’s invitational over North Carolina.
Only one of Wisconsin’s three teams were victorious yesterday in their opening games of the NCAA Division III baseball regional at Whitewater. The host Warhawks defeated Concordia-Chicago 2-1 in 10 innings on a walk-off single by Matt Beyer. Saint Norbert College lost its opener to Saint Thomas, 5-1. Bryce Gapinski and Saint Norbert’s Kevin Nutley both pitched complete games, throwing over 100 pitches each. Last night, UW-La Crosse lost to Aurora, 2-1. Josh Davidson had the game-winning hit in the second-inning with a two-run single. Today, Saint Norbert faces possible elimination when it plays Concordia-Chicago. La Crosse has an elimination game against North Park, which lost to Saint Scholastica yesterday 8-7. And Whitewater will play Saint Thomas in the winner’s bracket. The double-elimination tournament continues at least until Saturday.
Paul Hoenecke of UW-Milwaukee has been named the Horizon League’s baseball position player-of-the-week. And Eric Semmelhack of the Panthers is the league’s honored pitcher. Hoenecke, a senior first baseman-and-catcher, batted .488 last week to help UWM go 4-0. He had 10 hits in 17 at-bats with four doubles, a homer, eight RBI’s, and nine runs scored. Semmelhack, a junior, threw seven shutout innings against Butler, striking out eight while holding the Bulldogs to a .130 batting average.
Four University of Wisconsin softball players were named today to the Big Ten’s all-conference teams. Junior outfielder Kendall Grimm and junior second baseman Whitney Massey were chosen to the all-league first team. It’s the first time in Badgers’ history that two of its players were picked to the top squad in the same year. Massey led Wisconsin with a .358 batting average, and set a school record with 22 doubles. Grimm batted .333 and was perfect in the outfield with 33 put-outs and one assist. Badgers’ sophomore starter Cassandra Darrah made the all-conference second team. She went 22-13 this year with a 2.77 ERA. And senior designated player Karla Powell made the Big Ten’s third team. She batted .314 in league play after missing time due to an injury. The four Badgers tied for the most all-conference softball players in school history. Wisconsin set a school record for victories this year with 34, with a team-best winning percentage of .641. Michigan received the league’s top honors. Amanda Chidester was named the player-of-the-year. Haylie Wagner was the top pitcher and the freshman of the year. And Carol Hutchins of the Wolverines was named the coach-of-the-year.
Both Wisconsin teams missed the cut yesterday at the NCAA Division III men’s golf tournament. Edgewood was sent home after being in 32nd place at the halfway point of the four-round competition. Edgewood was at 66-over-par, while Carroll was at plus-74 in 36th place. Only 15-of-the-41 teams will play the third-and-fourth rounds today and tomorrow at Howey-in-the-Hills Florida. Oglethorpe was the second-round leader at one-over. Kenny Rucker was Edgewood’s top player. He was at 158 after 36 holes, in a tie for 114th among the individuals. Sam Luedtke was Carroll’s top player. He was at 159, tied for 124th.
Green Bay Packers’ receiver Jordy Nelson said he gave both his mind and body a rest during the off-season. The Kansas native went back home like he normally does, after a breakout year in 2011 in which Nelson had 12-hundred-63 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. The four-year veteran placed ninth in the NFL in receiving yards, with five 100-yard games. Last year’s yardage total was just five short of the 12-hundred-63 yards he had in his first three years combined. Nelson said he always tries to find time to stop thinking about football for awhile – and this off-season was no exception. Nelson is traveling with some of the Packers this week on the team’s annual Tailgate Tour throughout Wisconsin.