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Men’s basketball: No. 20 Wisconsin goes cold late, falls to No. 11 Michigan State 67–59 at the Kohl Center

first_imgIn what was a close fought battle most of the way, the No. 20 University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (17-8, 9-5 Big Ten) fell to the No. 11 Michigan State Spartans (20-5, 11-3) at the Kohl Center Tuesday night by a score of 67–59.The Badgers let the game slip away in the final minutes with poor shooting and defense, giving Michigan State a surplus of opportunities to seal the game.The game was still within Wisconsin’s reach with under a minute to go, but after a failed defensive assignment allowed Michigan State’s Kenny Goins to sink a wide open three to give the Spartans a 62–56 lead with 32 seconds to go, the Badgers had foiled their chances of winning.The Badgers couldn’t seem to get anything to go their way early on, shooting just 8-for-22 from the field and 2-for-7 from three to go with four turnovers in the game’s first 12 minutes. Wisconsin followed up the cold spell with a 14–4 run that featured seven points from Brevin Pritzl, five of which came in a single possession after a flagrant foul was called on Michigan State’s Matt McQuaid. Pritzl made two free throws and then nailed a three-pointer to give the Kohl Center a burst of energy.A look at the camaraderie, culture surrounding Wisconsin men’s basketball programFrom 1999-2017, the Wisconsin men’s basketball program had reached the NCAA tournament in 19 consecutive seasons, a streak that was Read…But Michigan State quickly responded, going on an 11-2 run of their own to take back the lead. Wisconsin led 38–37 heading into the break in what ended up being a high-scoring half.In the second half, the Badgers struggled to establish an offensive rhythm and would not take back the lead after the 17-minute mark in the second half.The Spartans were able to neutralize the Wisconsin backcourt in the second half, preventing Brad Davison and D’Mitrik Trice from getting open looks on the perimeter. Nate Reuvers netted three 3-pointers, but was unable to find a rhythm late.As has been the case many times in the past, the Badgers were forced to lean on Happ late Tuesday.But in front a “sea of red” crowd at the Kohl Center, Happ’s free-throw shooting woes continued. He went 0-for-6 from the stripe and committed five turnovers in the second half to give the Spartans momentum down the stretch. Wisconsin shot 1 of 8 from the free-throw line in the second half, a deciding factor in the loss.“We have to be more complete when we get to the free throw line, get the ball to a high percentage area and be able to complete that. We weren’t able to do that,” Head Coach Greg Gard said.Happ notched another double-double, finishing with 20 points to go with 12 rebounds. Reuvers had 11 points, while Davison scored nine points on just 3 of 12 shooting (2-for-8 from 3).Happ’s 20 points put him at 2,000 for his career as he became the fourth player in Big Ten history to record 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in their career. Happ is the first conference player to accomplish that in more than 35 years.Assessing Ethan Happ’s draft stock as his UW career nears its endThere’s a saying that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. A prime example of this in action Read…Michigan State star Cassius Winston led all scorers with 23 points to go with six rebounds and six assists for the Spartans, out-dueling Happ in a showdown between two of the Big Ten’s premier players. Goins and forward Nick Ward each added 12 points.In addition to the stout defensive showing, Michigan State out-rebounded Wisconsin 40-28.“I think our defense, holding them to 21 points in the second half, rebounds, getting back to the things that have won us games, I think was critical,” Spartan Head Coach Tom Izzo said.The Badgers have now lost two in a row after a six-game win streak. Wisconsin closes their regular season with six Big Ten games, four of which will come against teams with losing records in conference play.Next, Wisconsin will take on Illinois Feb. 18 at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin beat Illinois in Champaign earlier this season, 72–60, behind a career night from Reuvers.last_img read more

Ola Aina: Eye on Super Eagles Porous Left Back

first_imgO la Aina has been rated as the player with the highest number of possession won in his defensive area in the English Championship so far this season.“He has won possession in the defensive area more times (34) than any other player in the Championship this season,” Whoscored tweeted. Since joining Hull City on loan from Chelsea during the summer transfer window, 20-year-old Aina has been present for the 2014 FA Cup losing finalists. It therefore came as  little surprise when the utility full-back was included in the English Championship’s Team of the Week for Match Day 11 of the current campaign. He narrowly missed out on a Man-of-the-Match Award penultimate week, in the Tigers 6-1 thrashing of Birmingham.Aina had a game rating of 7.9, making three key clearances, one interception and four tackles, while also winning 11 of his 18 duels. The wing-back also had a pass accuracy of 70 per cent and completing three of his four dribbles.Though many Nigerian soccer fans were relieved when Nigeria scooped four points from the available six against Cameroon, keen followers of the game were worried as the Cameroonians exploited the weakness in the left back of the Super Eagles manned by Elderson  Echiejile, considered Nigeria’s weakest link in the defence.Though Aina is naturally a right footed player, he is comfortable with his left foot.“I find it more comfortable playing left-back. To be honest, I don’t know why, but I feel comfortable playing there. If I have to do a job on the right I will feel the same. It’s not difficult for me,” Aina said.Speaking with THISDAY, former Nigerian international, Waidi Akani strongly believes that the former junior international has done enough to win Gernot Rohr’s confidence in the Eagles defence but said the experience of Echiejile would still count for him for now.“I have seen Aina play on few occasions and I am convinced that he can comfortably man the Super Eagles defence, but you cannot compare anything with experience. I think Echiejile should surely start ahead of him.“The coach would always count on the experience of Echiejile, some may argue that Aina is faster and probably has a faster recovery rate, but when the chips are down, there is no argument about who should start, and it would definitely be Echiejile.“One thing anybody cannot argue is the fact that Aina is the future of Super Eagles defence,” Akani noted.In a telephone chat with THISDAY from his base in America, former Nigeria midfielder, Paul Okuku said he had watched some of Aina’s clips and feels that he has a place in the national team if he decides to play for Nigeria.“It is left for the coaching crew to decide if he is good enough to play for the team, but from the little I have seen of him, I have no doubt in my mind that he has a place in the team, if not now, surely in the nearest future,” Okoku noted.Continuing he said, “When you consider the fact that the World Cup is a different kettle of fish, we therefore need our best legs. The fact that Aina can play anywhere in the back four is an added advantage as the defence was the weakest link in most of our games.”Asked if the trend of relying on foreign players to prosecute our matches was not a wrong signal to the local league, Okoku said, “Unfortunately, that is the situation we found ourselves.”Aina who was loaned out to English Championship side Hull City by Chelsea for the 2017/18 season, has been with Chelsea since he was a kid and this will be his first loan move from the English champions.He has also played for England at U16, U17, U18, U19 and U20 levels but had recently committed his international future to Nigeria.He has made six first team appearances for the Blues but is now continuing his football education with the Tigers in the Championship.“I’m very excited to be here and it is the start of a new chapter in my career. It’s my first loan move away from Chelsea and I just want to hit the ground running,” Aina saidIn what is apparently becoming a norm for the eggheads of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, to woo European players of Nigerian origin to play for the Super Eagles as the local league is not incubating enough players capable of donning the national team’s shirt, Aina has since joined Nigeria’s World Cup qualifying train.Super Eagles captain and former Chelsea player, Mikel Obi, was one of those that influenced the former England Under-20 player to represent Nigeria as against the country of his birth after Aina impressed in Chelsea pre-season debut against Bristol Rovers.It came as no surprise that Chelsea eventually loaned him out as the Blues have long been criticised for failing to provide a pathway from their all-conquering youth sides, which have been crowned European champions in the past two seasons, to the first team but Conte intends to change that. “People who know me will know I don’t gift a place to anyone, but only those who deserve to play will play for me. It is important for Aina to understand this. In the future, he can play from the start. Age is not important. I made my first appearance in Serie A at only 16,” Conte had said when he newly joined Chelsea last season.The 19-year-old was born in Southwark, London and has represented England youth sides and UEFA Youth League 2014/15.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Super Eagles’s weakest link is the left full back manned by Elderson Echiejile. However, Ola Aina, who recently switched allegiance to Nigeria after he had played for England at the age-grade level, may be the solution. Kunle Adewale writeslast_img read more

Officials identify body found in Columbia River as Camas man

first_imgThe Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s office identified the man whose body was found Thursday morning in the Columbia River as Carl Lacour.Lacour, 45, of Camas jumped off a boat Aug. 21 near Jantzen Beach and presumably drowned then. A Hayden Island resident spotted his body on Thursday and it was recovered by Portland Fire & Rescue.The Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s office determined Lacour died from drowning.last_img