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Fiammetta: Badgers getting love, but there’s more to be done

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first_imgJust in time for Valentine’s Day, the Wisconsin Badgers finally got some love this week.Of course, it was all a result of their own doing, as the Badgers upended the formerly No. 1, undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes Saturday at the Kohl Center. Jordan Taylor entered beast mode when UW needed it most, scoring 21 points after OSU built its largest lead, 47-32, with 13:21 remaining in the game. Bo Ryan showed he really is one of the nation’s top coaches, and Madison showed it really is one of the nation’s top sports towns – and not just for football.What a weekend, right?Yes, but let’s not forget the Badgers can’t play every game in the friendly confines of the Kohl Center. Only three days prior to facing Ohio State, Wisconsin traveled to Iowa City and shot just 6-for-33 (18.2 percent) from the field in the first half. The Badgers rebounded to make more than half of their shots in the second half and escaped with a 62-59 overtime win.That was against Iowa, the last-place team in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes are undoubtedly improving, but still – numbers are numbers.Wednesday night, in West Lafayette, Ind., against Purdue, the opposition will be better, the crowd will be louder and the atmosphere will be more hostile.March 6, when the Badgers travel to Columbus for Bucky-Brutus II and a rematch with the Buckeyes, the same will hold true – but amplified. After having the entire Grateful Red, a bunch of drunken old dudes and seemingly half the state of Wisconsin suffocate them in a frenzied rush to the court, and certainly after “Spitgate,” Ohio State will be eager for redemption. Very eager.So what’s the message here? It’s not a criticism of the Badgers. In fact, it’s really hard to criticize a team that hasn’t lost any of its four games in February. Wisconsin survived Purdue to begin the month, smacked Michigan State in the mouth five days later, outlasted Iowa on the road and knocked off Ohio State, something 24 other teams couldn’t do this year.Rather, it’s that for all the Badgers have done this year – namely record the first triple-double in UW history (Josh Gasser), rise to No. 10 in both polls and have two players (Taylor and Jon Leuer) named Big Ten Player of the Week – there’s still more to be done.Winning on the road is absolutely near the top of the list. No matter how many games Wisconsin wins at home, a sub-.500 road record won’t impress anybody come March. The Badgers are 5-5 away from the Kohl Center right now (including neutral site games). After Wednesday’s trip to Purdue, Wisconsin still travels to Michigan, Indiana and Ohio State. The Big Ten Tournament will be in Indianapolis, and the NCAA Tournament could be anywhere. Anywhere!Wisconsin also needs to improve from the foul line – but not by making more free throws. The Badgers are still the nation’s top team in that regard, sinking 82.4 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe.Rather, they need to get there more often. Wisconsin averages 24 free throw attempts per game – 341st in the nation. Yes, there are absolutely extenuating circumstances. The Badgers’ style of play – run the offense, find the best shot possible and make it – doesn’t lend itself to creating many possessions. In fact, Wisconsin averages just 58.5 trips down the floor per game, 345th in the nation.In case you’re not up on your Division I schools, that’s last. But it also doesn’t matter. The Badgers make the best of those possessions, averaging 1.19 points per. That’s tied with Saint Mary’s and South Dakota State for tops in the country.With that in mind, just imagine if Wisconsin got to the line more, particularly in the first half. Granted, games sometimes operate differently in each half. Refs occasionally tighten up in second halves, teams are forced into fouling late, etc. But against Ohio State, for instance, Wisconsin got to the line just twice in the first half. At Iowa, the Badgers got there four times in the opening half and just seven times overall (including overtime).In those two games, Wisconsin was trailing at halftime. With a few more trips to the line, the story could have been different. Leading at halftime can be a big deal, too. Coaches always talk about carrying momentum into the break, seemingly knowing they won’t make many effective changes during halftime.The Badgers led by as many as six in the first half against the Buckeyes, but OSU went into halftime up two. Then, they came out and built a 15-point lead. Yes, Wisconsin survived, but it won’t be able to rely on Taylor’s Superman act every night.Again, this isn’t an attempt at criticism. Rather, its an attempt at addressing the fact that Wisconsin, like it so regularly seems to do, won’t be able to fly under the radar and surprise the nation come March. Not after Saturday, not with Jordan Taylor on the roster and certainly not with all the additional press coming Madison’s way.Mike is a junior majoring in journalism and communication arts. What do you think the Badgers must do to build on their recent success? Let him know at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @mikefiammetta.last_img read more

Suspended midfielder Kelly Cross allowed to practice with Syracuse

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first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 3, 2015 at 12:31 pm Contact Jon: [email protected] | @jmettus Syracuse midfielder Kelly Cross is allowed to practice with the team while she is indefinitely suspended, head coach Gary Gait said on Friday. Cross cannot play in games or travel with the team during her suspension, he added.“Kids may make mistakes, but we still stick behind them and we don’t isolate them and throw them to the curb,” Gait said.Cross was indefinitely suspended last Friday due to a violation of team rules. Gait would not say what team rules were violated.She was the driver of the car that crashed into the Mount Olympus stairwell on March 23, the Department of Public Safety confirmed four days later.Cross missed Saturday’s loss to Duke because of her suspension. She had started every other game and is fifth on the team in points (20), goals (14) and assists (6).AdvertisementThis is placeholder textShe scored eight goals in the four games prior to her suspension and scored three against Northwestern on March 22, the day before the crash.No. 7 Syracuse (8-4, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) hosts Virginia Tech (6-7, 0-4 ACC) at 10 a.m. in the Carrier Dome on Saturday. Commentslast_img read more

Brewers vs. Nationals final score: Dramatic eighth inning exorcises Washington’s playoff demons

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first_imgThe Nationals trailed from the first inning until the eighth, but Soto’s single off left-hander Josh Hader put the home team ahead, and Washington advanced to face the Dodgers in the NLDS by winning its first elimination game since relocating from Montreal.MORE: Watch select MLB playoff games live with fuboTV (7-day free trial)Milwaukee held a 2-0 lead after two batters. Nationals ace Max Scherzer walked Grisham to start the game and surrendered a two-run home run to catcher Yasmani Grandal on the next pitch.Brewers first baseman Eric Thames hit a solo shot in the second to take a 3-0 lead and continue Scherzer’s postseason struggles. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner would settle down to work through five innings, but his shakiness remains a concern going forward.Crucially, right-hander Stephen Strasburg was nails in the first relief appearance of his career, striking out four in three scoreless innings.That allowed the Nationals to remain within striking distance. Shortstop Trea Turner launched a solo homer in the third — the only run of the night off Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff, who threw four innings — but Washington’s lineup was quiet otherwise.   Hader entered in the eighth, protecting the 3-1 lead and looking to secure a six-out save.The unraveling began with one out, when he hit pinch-hitter Michael A. Taylor on the hand. The play was reviewed to see if the pitch had actually hit the knob of the bat first, but the call on the field stood. Hader followed that by striking Turner out, but pinch-hitter Ryan Zimmerman blooped a broken-bat single into center field, and third baseman Anthony Rendon worked a full-count walk to load the bases.Soto then lined a 1-1 pitch into right field, and Grisham overran it, allowing the ball to squirt past him. He retrieved it and caught Soto between second and third, but all three runs had already scored, and all the momentum had shifted.Hudson allowed a one-out single in the ninth but nothing else, setting off the Nationals’ first playoff celebration since moving to D.C.Brewers vs. Nationals: Live score, updates, highlights from NL wild-card gameFinal: Nationals 4, Brewers 311:08 p.m.: Nationals win. Daniel Hudson allows a one-out single in the ninth but nothing more, and Washington advances to face the Dodgers in the NLDS. What a turn of events.10:56 p.m.: Soto gives the Nats the lead! A single to right that would’ve merely tied the game gets past Grisham, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Soto is caught between second and third to end the inning, and we head to the ninth with Washington suddenly leading 4-3.10:55 p.m.: The Nationals load the bases with two outs. Soto is at the plate. Hader is laboring, past 28 pitches, and the bullpen is active.10:35 p.m.: Brewers closer Josh Hader enters in the eighth, looking to protect a 3-1 lead.10:13 p.m.: Drew Pomeranz closes the sixth with back-to-back strikeouts, and Strasburg does the same to take us to the seventh-inning stretch.9:57 p.m.: A double play helps Stephen Strasburg keep Washington’s deficit at 3-1 in his first inning of relief.9:50 p.m.: Dozier reaches on a throwing error by third baseman Mike Moustakas, but Turner flies out ot left to send us to the sixth inning.9:43 p.m.: Victor Robles singles off Brewers reliever Brent Suter, which brings Scherzer’s spot in the lineup to the plate. Brian Dozier will pinch-hit, ending Scherzer’s start.9:35 p.m.: Scherzer puts a couple of runners on via walks but escapes any damage in the fifth. The bullpen began to warm up, though, so it’s not cleear how much longer he’ll be out there.9:20 p.m.: Woodruff closes his night with a 1-2-3 fourth inning. He’ll be pinch-hit for in the fifth.In 2019, @B_Woody24 averaged 96.2 mph on his fastball.Tonight, all 38 of his fastballs were 96.9 mph or faster. 😱 pic.twitter.com/zEOYHNL5ih— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) October 2, 20199:00 p.m.: HOME RUN, Nationals. Trea Turner launches a solo homer with two outs in the third. B3: Brewers 3, Nationals 1.. @treavturner gives the Nats a spark. pic.twitter.com/9yJnRzt3lI— MLB (@MLB) October 2, 20198:52 p.m.: Scherzer retires the Brewers in order in the third, though Grandal just missed his second homer of the game.8:45 p.m.: Kurt Suzuki puts a charge into one, but it’s caught at the wall to end the second inning. Left fielder Ryan Braun runs off gingerly after making the play, unclear what happened.8:39 p.m.: Howie Kendrick is the Nationals’ first baserunner, singling through the left side with one out in the second.8:28 p.m.: HOME RUN, Brewers. Eric Thames leads off the second with a solo shot. Scherzer is struggling early. T2: Brewers 3, Nationals 0.2 homers in 2 innings?That’ll quiet the home crowd. pic.twitter.com/vWAbwG2Op4— MLB (@MLB) October 2, 20198:24 p.m.: Brandon Woodruff works a 1-2-3 first inning.8:16 p.m.: Scherzer settles down to retire the next three batters. Some damage done, though. 8:11 p.m.: HOME RUN, Brewers. Scherzer walks the leadoff man on two close pitches, and Milwaukee catcher Yasmani Grandal pulls the first pitch he sees for a two-run shot. T1: Brewers 2, Nationals 0.Get up! Get outta here! Gone! pic.twitter.com/aK3MAKDkLv— MLB (@MLB) October 2, 20198:09 p.m.: Max Scherzer’s first pitch is a fastball that misses way outside, and we’re underway.8:02 p.m.: Here are your starting lineups:LET’S. GET. W👁LD. #Scherzday // #STAYINTHEFIGHT pic.twitter.com/xrRYWYHcvF— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) October 1, 2019The #Brewers Wild Card lineup is here. #MKEHistory | #ThisIsMyCrew pic.twitter.com/UolgrkcQ9b— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) October 1, 2019 Nationals outfielder Juan Soto started celebrating even before was tagged out between second and third to end the eighth inning. He knew he had supplied a potential knockout blow in an eventual 4-3 NL wild-card win over the Brewers on Tuesday. He couldn’t contain his enthusiasm.Soto’s would-be game-tying single turned into a go-ahead hit when Brewers right fielder Trent Grisham let the ball roll past him. A shutdown ninth inning from Washington right-hander Daniel Hudson ensured Soto’s heroics didn’t go to waste.last_img read more