State Basketball Roundup: Marquette still in the running for the Big East titleWisconsin Sports
-- Marquette stayed in the running for the Big East men’s basketball regular season title with a 60-54 victory at Rutgers last night
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Marquette stayed in the running for the Big East men’s basketball regular season title with a 60-54 victory at Rutgers last night.
The Golden Eagles scored the first points of the game, but they never led again until 3:05 to play. Jamil Wilson hit a three-pointer to make it 55-52, and Marquette hung on to win its seventh straight game over the Scarlet Knights. Vander Blue made the clinching free throws after he had struggled for several games. He scored 22 points, as Marquette moved to within a half-game of conference-leading Georgetown in the season’s final week. Myles Mack scored 11 for Rutgers, which dropped to 4-13 in the Big East and 13-15 overall. 15th-ranked Marquette improved to 22-7 overall. They’re 13-4 in the conference with only a Saturday contest at Saint John’s remaining on their schedule. First-place Georgetown has two games left. Louisville is also in the running for the season crown, tied with Marquette at a half-game back.
UW-Green Bay has advanced to the second round of the Horizon League men’s tournament with a 62-46 home win over UW-Milwaukee last night. The fourth-seeded Phoenix only shot 34-percent, but they still managed to secure a Friday night contest against Number-five Illinois-Chicago at Valparaiso. Green Bay led by six at the break at 27-21. And they opened the second half with a 12-to-2 run to put Milwaukee away. The ninth-seeded Panthers shot a dismal 26-and-a-half percent, and made just one field goal in the final nine minutes. Paris Gulley had 14 points, six rebounds, and three assists to lead UWM. Senior Demetrius Harris had three bags of IV fluids earlier in the day to fight a flu bug – but he played anyway, and had seven points and seven rebounds in his final collegiate game. Milwaukee ended its season at 8-24. Alec Brown scored 18 points for Green Bay, which improved to 17-14.
The Big Ten regular season men’s race got a lot more interesting last night, after the second-ranked Hoosiers lost to Ohio State 67-58. Indiana has clinched a share of the season title – and they could have won it outright with a victory over the Buckeyes. But instead, Wisconsin and two other teams have renewed hope in the season’s final week. Indiana is now one game up on Ohio State, and one-and-a-half ahead of the Badgers, Michigan State, and Michigan. Wisconsin plays at Michigan State tomorrow night, and at Penn State on Sunday.
The NBA’s Eastern Conference playoff race is tightening up. And after winning four straight, the Milwaukee Bucks find themselves in a very favorable spot. The Bucks still hold the eighth-and-final post-season spot in the East. But they’re only three games away from the Number-four position, which would give Milwaukee home court advantage in the first round if they could somehow move up that high. Miami leads the East with a 15-game winning streak, and Indiana and New York have the second-and-third spots by virtue of their division leads. Chicago and Brooklyn are tied for fourth at 11 games back. Atlanta is 11-and-a-half off the pace. Boston is 12-and-a-half back. And the Bucks are just a game-and-a-half behind the Celtics for the Number-seven slot. Meanwhile, the Bucks continue to create more breathing room in the eighth spot. They hold it by seven-and-a-half games over Philadelphia with 24 left, as the Bucks try to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Milwaukee will play the Clippers in Los Angeles tonight. The Clips are third in the Western Conference.