Thursday State Sports Briefs: Braun and Lucroy named to U.S. squadWisconsin Sports
-- Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder Ryan Braun and catcher Jonathan Lucroy were officially named this morning to the U.S. roster for the World Baseball Classic.
MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder Ryan Braun and catcher Jonathan Lucroy were officially named this morning to the U.S. roster for the World Baseball Classic.
Both players confirmed earlier that they accepted invitations to be on Team USA. Major League executive Joe Torre will manage the 28-member squad. Today’s roster is preliminary, and the final roster must be submitted by February 20th. It must have at least 13 pitchers and two catchers. Former Wisconsin Timber Rattler Adam Jones of Baltimore was also named to the American squad. They’ll be in Pool-“D” with Mexico, Canada, and Italy – and the U.S. will open play on March eighth in Phoenix against the Mexican team. Rosters for other nations were also to be announced today – and five other Brewers have said they’ll play. John Axford, Jim Henderson, and Taylor Green are on the Canadian team. Yovani Gallardo plans to pitch for Mexico. And Puerto Rican native Martin Maldonado says he’ll catch for his home country.
The Phoenix Suns have lost five of their last six games at home – and a loss tonight to Milwaukee would end the Bucks’ 24-game losing streak on the Suns’ home floor. The two teams only meet once-a-year in Arizona – and the Bucks have not won in the Valley of the Sun since February 21st of 1987. The Bucks appear to have the best chance in years of ending that streak tonight. Milwaukee has already defeated Phoenix once this season, 108-99 on Jan. 8 at the Bradley Center. Brandon Jennings had 29 points and nine assists in that game – and the Bucks are among the NBA leaders in forcing turnovers, with just over 16 per contest. Defense was a hallmark of former coach Scott Skiles – and things have not changed much under new coach Jim Boylan. But then again, Boylan says he has not had the opportunity to change a lot since Skiles left 10 days ago. He says the Bucks have not practiced enough to make wholesale changes. Milwaukee is 19-18, but has not won yet in a Western Conference arena. Phoenix is 13-27 – and if the Suns lose tonight, they would have their first four-game home losing streak since 2004.
The women’s basketball teams at UW-Green Bay and UW-Milwaukee both have Horizon League games on tap for tonight. The Green Bay women play at Cleveland State, while the Panthers are also in Ohio at Youngstown State.
Green Bay is 12-2 overall and 2-0 in the conference. The Phoenix are second in the nation in scoring defense, giving up almost 47 points per game. Adrian Ritchie leads Green Bay’s offense with almost 15 points per contest. Cleveland State hopes to go 3-0 in the Horizon League for the first time in nine years. The Vikings have won nine-of-their-last-10, after beating Detroit by 11. Cleveland is 10-5 overall. Milwaukee and Youngstown State will both try to even their 0-1 conference records. The Panthers have not played since last Thursday night, when they fell to Wright State 71-61 at home. Kim Demmings scored 35 for the Raiders in that game, as Milwaukee dropped to 4-9 overall. Youngstown State is 10-4 overall. Brandi Brown of the Penguins averages 20 points and 11 rebounds a game. For UWM, senior Sami Tucker needs eight points tonight to surpass a-thousand for her career.
Six seniors from Wisconsin have been nominated to play in the McDonald’s All-American boys’ high school game. They are Deonte Burton of Milwaukee Vincent, Duane Wilson of Whitefish Bay Dominican, Luke Worthington of Mequon Homestead, Luke Fischer of Germantown, Bronson Koenig of La Crosse Aquinas, and Matt Thomas of Onalaska. There’s also an All-American girls’ game, but no Wisconsinites were nominated for that contest. The final rosters will be unveiled on Valentine’s Day. The annual McDonald’s games will be played on April third in Chicago at the United Center.
Former Milwaukee Braves’ shortstop Johnny Logan has been elected as the newest member of the Walk-of-Fame at Miller Park. He got almost 73-percent of the vote from members Brewers’ organization and media throughout the state. Nominees need to get at least 65-percent of the total ballots cast, down from 75-percent in previous years. Logan is the first new inductee since 2010, when former Braves’ pitcher Lew Burdette was elected. Former Braves’ first baseman Joe Adcock fell two votes short of being elected – and Brewers’ pitcher Teddy Higuera fell three votes short. Logan played in Milwaukee from 1953-through’-61. He was a four-time All-Star, with a .268 career batting average, 93 homers, and 547 RBI’s in 13 big league seasons. He was a member of the World Series champion Milwaukee Braves in 1957, and was on the pennant-winning team from ’58. A date for Logan’s induction has not been set yet. It will take place sometime this summer.
After 12 years in the NFL, Green Bay defensive end Ryan Pickett continues to be a top performer on the Packer line. And position coach Mike Trgovac says the 33-year-old Pickett has at least one good year of football still left in him. Since the Packers moved to the 3-4 defense, Pickett does not get a chance to build up the glamor numbers, like sack totals. But this season, Pickett was the healthiest he’s been in years – and he continues to tie up offensive line blockers, and fill up the middle to make it harder for the opponents’ rushers to go-up-the-gut. The Saint Louis Rams chose Pickett in the first round back in 2000. The Packers signed him as a free against in 2006. And after seven seasons in Green Bay, Trgovac says Pickett still plays like he’s hungry. The coach estimates that Pickett played 100 more snaps than he did a year ago. And with 51 tackles, Pickett had his best year on Green Bay’s front line. He has one year remaining on his current contract.
Horizon League basketball resumes tonight for both UW-Milwaukee and UW-Green Bay. In men’s play, the Panthers are at home against Cleveland State, while Green Bay entertains Youngstown State. UW-Green Bay is going for its sixth straight home win. The Phoenix scored a pair of conference victories last week against Loyola and Illinois-Chicago. Green Bay center Alec Brown had a season-high 21 points against UIC. The Phoenix are 2-2 in the Horizon League and 8-9 overall. Youngstown is 1-2 in the conference, and 9-7 overall. Junior guard Kendrick Perry leads the Penguins with 16 points a game. Green Bay starting forward Greg Mays was suspended this week for three games. Coach Brian Wardle said the sophomore violated team rules. UW-Milwaukee is still looking for its first conference victory after three losses. They’re 4-13 overall, after falling by 24 to Valparaiso last Saturday. They’ll play a Cleveland State team that’s 2-2 in the league, and 10-8 overall. Charlie Lee and Bryn Forbes lead the Vikings in scoring with 11 points a night. Milwaukee’s Paris Gulley has scored in double figures in nine of his 11 contests, with 18 last Saturday.
A fourth suspect has been charged in the attack last August on Wisconsin football running back Montee Ball. An arrest warrant has been issued for 27-year-old Karlis Griffin of Madison – and he was not in custody at last word. Prosecutors said Griffin stomped on Ball’s head during the incident, which occurred around the time the bars were closing. Ball suffered a concussion – and he said he does not remember much about the assault. Two men were placed in first-offenders’ programs after pleading guilty to substantial battery. A third is due in court tomorrow for a plea-and-sentencing hearing. Unlike the others, Griffin is not a UW-Madison student. Authorities initially said five suspects were involved – but a fifth person never turned up.
In Division III the Lakeland College men will try to stay undefeated tonight in the Northern Athletics Conference, when the 8-0 Muskies host Milwaukee School of Engineering. Concordia-Mequon is two games back in second, and they’re at Edgewood. MSOE, at 5-2, is in third. Also tonight, Marian plays at Maranatha Baptist. Maranatha is still looking for its first NAC victory. They’re 0-8.
After two weeks in Hawaii, the PGA Tour moves to the U.S. mainland for the Humana Challenge which is getting underway in La Quinta, California. Pewaukee native Mark Wilson is the tournament’s defending champion, and he had a 10:40 tee time for his first round today. Madison’s Jerry Kelly is also competing, with the same tee time on a different course. Meanwhile, the senior players on the PGA Champions Tour begin their new season tomorrow. Rhinelander native Dan Forsman is part of the field for the Mitsubishi Electric Championship. The three-round tournament is being played in Hualalai, Hawaii.
University of Wisconsin women’s hockey defenseman Courtney Burke has been named the WCHA Freshman-of-the-Week. Burke from Albany, New York assisted on half of the Badgers’ goals in their two-game sweep over Ohio State last weekend. Burke has at least one point in each of her last four contests.
In men's college basketball
UW-Stevens Point 65, UW-Platteville 60
UW-Whitewater 68, UW-Oshkosh 50
UW-River Falls 92, UW-Superior 77
UW-Stout 63, UW-La Crosse 55
Carthage 65, Elmhurst 61
In women’s college basketball…
UW-Oshkosh 54, UW-Whitewater 49
UW-Stevens Point 71, UW-Platteville 49
UW-La Crosse 69, UW-Stout 56
UW-Superior 72, UW-River Falls 67
Concordia-Mequon 63, MEdgewood 59
Wisconsin Lutheran 84, Dominican 52
Milwaukee School of Engineering 55, Marian 53
Carthage 63, Elmhurst 33
In Wisconsin boys’ high school basketball…
Milwaukee Destiny 98, Milwaukee School of Languages 61
Franklin 56, South Milwaukee 51
Kenosha Tremper 60, Lake Forest, Ill. Academy 37
Milwaukee Hamilton 60, Milwaukee Bradley Tech 47