Badgers set to wrap up regular season

first_imgERIN KEEFFE/Herald photoThe Wisconsin men’s soccer team (7-10-0, 1-4-0 Big Ten) closes out its Big Ten and regular season this Sunday when it heads to Evanston, Ill., to face Northwestern University (9-5-2, 1-3-1) at the Leonard Thomas Athletic Complex at 1 p.m.Statistically, Wisconsin has dominated Northwestern over the past 30 years, posting a 22-4-4 all-time record and out-scoring the Wildcats 60 to 18. However, in the past eight matches between the two teams, the Wildcats have held a slight advantage over the Badgers with a 4-3-1 record — including a 2-1 victory last season in Madison.Despite last season’s setback, Wisconsin is looking forward to the trip south with its newfound confidence in the offense’s ability to score goals following back-to-back wins by scores of 2-1 over Michigan State and 3-0 over UW-Green Bay.”The guys have to feel good because we’ve had a couple of wins in the last two games,” head coach Jeff Rohrman said. “Probably more than anything, they’re seeing that our offense is capable of doing some things. I’m sure they’re very excited — as they should be — and we’re looking forward to playing Northwestern.”Offensively, Northwestern is led by junior striker Brad North this season, who has tallied 16 points off of eight goals. Senior Kevin Earnest and junior Gerardo Alvarez have also contributed heavily to the Wildcat offense with three goals apiece in 2005. Anchoring the Wildcat midfield this season has been sophomore midfielder David Roth, who leads the team with six assists on the year.In its previous match this past Sunday, Northwestern bagged a nail-biting 2-1 victory over Butler University with a first half strike by North and an 88th-minute game-winner by Earnest. For Sunday’s matchup, Rohrman hopes his defense can step up and accept the challenge posed by Northwestern’s many offensive threats.”We’re going to have to play very solid defensively,” Rohrman said. “[Northwestern is] very good going forward with Brad North and Gerardo [Alvarez] — both of those guys can be a handful. Also, David Roth and Kevin Earnest are very athletic and skillful guys who, if you lose track of, can cause you problems.”While the Badgers have struggled on the road this season — posting a dismal 2-7 record away from home — the Wildcats have been unstoppable on their home field, yielding an undefeated 5-0-1 record, as well as out-scoring their opponents 12-2 in Evanston. The only draw for Northwestern came against two-time defending national champions No. 8 Indiana back on Oct. 16 in a tight 1-1 fixture.To counter the Wildcat’s stingy defense at home, the Badgers will look to feed piping-hot striker Victor Diaz. The redshirted freshman from Madrid, Spain has been a machine for the cardinal and white lately, producing 12 points off of five goals and two assists in the past five games.With two goals in their last match against UW-Green Bay and a third tally against Michigan two weeks ago, junior midfielder William Bagayoko has also played inspired soccer for Wisconsin lately.Against Northwestern, Rohrman believes his squad must pepper the Wildcat goal with quality shots just as they did in their last match.”We’re going to have to do as well as we did [against UW-Green Bay] with our shots — get them on goal and make their keeper make saves,” Rohrman said. “We’ve got to test them, and test them a lot.”With the Big Ten tournament just on the horizon, the Badgers will be looking to finish their regular season with a three-game winning streak and take some momentum from Sunday’s match into the Nov. 10 tourney.last_img read more

Devonte Graham’s 35 points too much for Syracuse to overcome in 76-60 loss to No. 2 Kansas

first_imgMIAMI — Kansas needed an answer. For much of the night, the Jayhawks defense stymied Syracuse. The Jayhawks raced out to a 14-point advantage at halftime.But now, to start the second half, the Orange was back. Tyus Battle and Frank Howard, as they’ve done all year, were leading the offense. Battle made his first 3-pointer of the game. Then he drove in and got the and-1.Next it was Howard’s turn. A steal and a layup, followed up by an and-1 for himself. Then he hit a 3-pointer. The clunky Syracuse offense of the first half was gone. The Kansas fans, who’d been the louder supporters before the tip, ceded way to a raucous Orange crowd. A 20-point lead was down to seven.The Jayhawks’ next possession was falling apart, too. The ball was handed off to Devonte’ Graham with the shot clock winding down. Graham stepped back from Tyus Battle and shot an NBA-range 3-pointer with Frank Howard charging at him. It hit nothing but net.“On a night where basically we didn’t have much going on, he needed to do that,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “He picked his spots well.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse (6-1) was playing the toughest team it had all season on Saturday, and as a result, was seeing one of the best individual players in the country. Graham led the No. 2 Jayhawks (7-0) with a career-high 35 points, including seven 3-pointers. The performance was too much for the Orange to overcome in its 76-60 loss.The senior point guard missed his first three shots from deep in the game. It was part of a back-and-forth first 15 minutes, in which both teams struggled to hit anything from the field.Late in the first half, Graham knocked down a tough midrange jumper with Howard guarding him closely. On the next KU possession, Howard picked up his third foul trying to aggressively go over a screen and stay with Graham. Howard was sent to the bench and Graham hit two free throws.Then, in a blur, Graham knocked down three-straight 3-pointers. He smacked his chest and walked back with a swagger after the last one, culminating the stretch in which he scored the Jayhawks’ last 14 points of the half.Many of his 3-pointers, in both halves, came from the top of the key. Graham knew he’d find success there from his own experiences playing in a zone.“When we run our 2-3 zone, when the ball goes to the middle, we fan out,” Graham said. “You’ve got to leave somebody open, it’s usually the guy at the top.”Graham, who started the season in the conversation for the National Player of the Year award, struggled with his shot early this season. Through four games, he was shooting just 34 percent and averaging only 11.5 points.Then, in KU’s last matchup against Toledo, he exploded for 35 points. He matched that total again in Saturday’s contest.Graham, who came into the game averaging 8.5 per game, said that he balances his scoring and passing based on game flow. His shot wasn’t falling over the first four games. When it was tonight, he made sure to take advantage of it.Boeheim said that he felt the defense wasn’t the issue on Saturday, instead pinning the brunt of the loss on offensive ineffectiveness. Still, he wasn’t pleased with the defense played on Graham.He helped the Jayhawks pull away from the Orange late in the first half. When the Orange started creeping back in the second half, he made sure to keep it at bay for good.“Graham was really good today,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “He kept making a shot every time we needed something.” Comments Published on December 2, 2017 at 10:59 pm Contact Tomer: | @tomer_langer Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Tokelau’s only Pacific Games athlete ready

first_imgThe country’s sports federation says its lack of representation is down to it not having had enough time to prepare for the games, and its athletes not being available.Tokelau’s national legal advisor Lise Suveinakama says the blunder will prove a valuable lesson for the nation, which has a population of about 1400.She says it is important that athletes are better organised and prepared for regional competitions.Squash player Sam Iasona, who works as a line mechanic in New Zealand, says he’s thrilled to be able to travel to Papua New Guinea.Some of his workmates have even chipped in to fly him to Port Moresby.”What started as something that wasn’t too serious, I just started playing squash about a year ago and then one of the cousins suggested perhaps I should play squash in the Pacific Games. I’ll probably be playing a lot of guys who’ve been playing a lot longer than I have so I’ve been training hard for the last year and a bit.”The men’s squash competition begins today.After being in a similar position, Vanuatu’s Mary Ramel is already planning her next table tennis event after narrowly missing out on gold in the women’s Para singles final.Competing in a major tournament for the first time, Ramel twice took the lead against New Caledonia’s Delphine Andre before losing the deciding set 11-6 at the Caritas Stadium.Her coach, Anolyn Lulu, says Ramel’s preparation was far from ideal and up until November she hadn’t picked up a table tennis bat in years.”After Cyclone Pam, which damaged our training venue, they just started training just one month before we got here so the match was very tough for her. I believe in Mary – she can do better than that – just the crowd and all this it is an inexperience for her [because] she’s never participated in any table tennis event before. The surrounding, the environment itself also contributed to her defeat. Despite that, she played well and she will go back and home and continue to train and play in upcoming events”.New Caledonia also won the gold medal in the men’s Para singles event, with Fiji winning the men’s and women’s seated Para events.last_img read more