One-shot wonderful: Taylor finds redemption

first_imgEVAN SCHWARZ/Herald photoThere was something distinctly cathartic about watching Kammron Taylor jump onto the Kohl Center scorer’s table pumping his fists triumphantly to the Kohl Center crowd. And not just to him, but for Badger fans everywhere who have seen the senior guard’s late-season struggles prove oh-so-costly for No. 4 Wisconsin. So when Taylor took the inbounds pass from Marcus Landry, came off an Alando Tucker screen, paused at the top of the key and then cold-bloodedly drained the game-winning 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds remaining to deliver a 52-50 victory over Michigan State on Senior Day, you couldn’t fault the UW players and faithful for feeling as if all the trials and tribulations of the past 10 days had been washed away.”It was a picture-perfect ending for Kam to hit that shot,” Tucker said. “In the manner that we won, everybody is confident now.”Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan wasn’t ready to say that Taylor’s shot was a sign of good things to come for the Badgers, but couldn’t help but feel excited for his senior point guard.”There are no automatics in life, and you are not promised tomorrow,” Ryan said. “So if it’s an omen, we’ll find out, but what a great way to walk off the court here for the last time.”Taylor, who was 1-of-8 on the day and had made just five of his last 26 attempts, didn’t hesitate to take the final shot.”My feelings are at the highest they’ve ever been since I’ve been here at Wisconsin. To go out on a note like that, hit the game-winning shot in front of your home fans and my family, it felt good,” said Taylor, who finished with eight points. “I wasn’t shooting it very well, but you can never lose confidence in your shot.”The victory gives Wisconsin (27-4, 13-3 Big Ten) the school-record most regular season and conference victories in a season and gives the team much-needed confidence heading into the Big Ten tournament, where the Badgers will likely see Michigan State (21-10, 8-8 Big Ten) for the third time in four games.Wisconsin’s Alando Tucker led all scorers with 26 points, while confirmed Badger-killer Drew Neitzel led the Spartans with 22. Michigan State reserve big man Goran Suton chipped in 16. The contest was reminiscent of Wisconsin’s contest against Ohio State a week ago, with a plethora of whistles, turnovers and missed shots. While the Badgers were able to stay out of foul trouble for the most part, the Spartans had three players pick up four fouls, with freshman phenom Raymar Morgan fouling out in the game’s final minutes.”We can’t play without Morgan and [Travis] Walton in there,” MSU head coach Tom Izzo said. “I thought we were going to have to forfeit the game there for awhile; … Morgan’s been our second-best player here for the last month, and we needed him in there, especially against a guy like Tucker.”With the Badgers up one, Neitzel gave the Spartans the lead with a jumper with 1:31 remaining. On the ensuing possession, Taylor missed a jumper at the free-throw line badly, drawing groans from the crowd and forcing UW to make a key defensive stop at the other end to set up the man of the hour’s final second heroics. During the timeout, Ryan drew up a simple screen and roll play between Tucker and Taylor to get the ball into his top players’ hands. It was nothing fancy but proved effective. “It was a ball-screen play that you see in basketball on a Saturday; you’ll probably see 200 of them,” Ryan said. “But none bigger than that one.”In a extremely tight game where neither team could build a lead larger than six points, Taylor owned the end of the game, but it was Tucker who owned most of the rest, finding some redemption of his own with 26 points on 7-of-15 shooting, after a pair of sub-par scoring games. The senior poured in half of UW’s points and was the only Badger player to score more than two baskets.Tucker scored 12 in the second half, including scoring nine straight Badger points (also assisting on Taylor’s other 3-pointer) to keep the Badgers afloat and in the game. Contrast that with Tucker’s second-half performance in East Lansing, where the senior managed only two points on 1-of-7 shooting.”Mike (Flowers) came to me and said, ‘You’re a big-time player, and this is where you have to step up,'” Tucker said. “That’s the confidence that my teammates give me, and I have that total confidence in myself that I have to be able to step up and take over at times.”It was Tucker’s play that dictated the simple strategy that Ryan had for the Badgers’ final shot.”We weren’t going to leave this game without making sure the ball touched him,” Ryan said.While the end was all the seniors could’ve asked for in a home finale, they expressed that nothing short of a mythical national championship will leave the group feeling satisfied when they hang up their cardinal and white uniforms.”That’s what you play for the whole year,” senior Jason Chappell said. “Anything less, we’re not going to be happy. Until we end up with a win in our final game, then we won’t be happy.”last_img read more

Volleyball: Badgers overcome Marquette, seek win against Purdue in last spring season match

first_imgThe University of Wisconsin volleyball team has never lost to the Marquette University Golden Eagles. That didn’t change Friday night.Wisconsin dropped the first set to Marquette in front of 1,000 fans at the Milwaukee Sting Center in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, but rattled off three-set wins in a row to come back and overcome a rough start.The Badgers trailed 18-15 in the third set but finished the game on a 10-3 run to best the Golden Eagles.Incoming redshirt junior Molly Haggerty led the charge with 17 kills as All-Americans Dana Rettke and Madison Duello each tallied double-digit kills.Rettke led the team with three blocks at the net while hitting at a .647 clip.Redshirt freshman Julia Wohlert saw her first action in a Badger uniform.The 6-foot-7 Wohlert joined Rettke at the net and created a daunting set of obstacles for Marquette’s opposing offense.Volleyball: Badgers overpower Green Bay in opening match of spring seasonThe University of Wisconsin women’s volleyball team dominated the Green Bay Phoenix in an early spring matchup at the UW Read…Wisconsin will close out their spring slate in an away match against the Purdue Boilermakers Saturday.The Boilermakers have had a full spring schedule which included back-to-back contests against the Illinois Fighting Illini — the team that knocked the Badgers out of the NCAA tournament last fall. Purdue won both matches against the Fighting Illini.During the 2018 season, Wisconsin beat Purdue twice. Both teams were among the top 20 in the country.The Badgers swept the Boilermakers in West Lafayette, but they needed a comeback, five-set match to beat Purdue in Madison last fall.Purdue took the first two sets in the latter matchup at the UWField House before the Badgers snatched three consecutive sets to prevail.Rettke led the Badgers in kills in both contests.In the five-set matchup, setter Sydney Hilley compiled 59 assists — the second-largest assist total of her career.Softball: Konwent leads Badgers to best start in program historyAs the University of Wisconsin softball team teeters in and out of the top 25 rankings, being ranked at all Read…Rettke, Haggerty, Duello and Grace Loberg all tallied 12 or more kills against the Boilermaker defense.Outside hitter Sherridan Atkinson of the Boilermakers dominated the match with a game-high 26 kills against the Badger front line. Luckily for the Badgers, Atkinson graduated in December and will not compete in the spring match.Redshirt junior Blake Mohler will look to take Atkinson’s place as the Boilermakers’ primary attacker.As the Badgers close the spring slate, the coaching staff has been busy securing future recruits.Wisconsin received commitments from 6-foot-8 Anna Smrek and Lauren Jardine — both to join the Badgers in 2021.Wisconsin also snagged former Minnesota Gophers defensive specialist Lauren Barnes, who played alongside current Badger libero Tiffany Clark in high school.It is still unknown whether Barnes will have to sit out a year as a transfer or if she will be able to compete as early as the 2019 season.The matchup between the Badgers and the Boilermakers starts at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time at Holloway Gymnasium in West Lafayette, Indiana.last_img read more

Andy Murray wins opening ATP World Tour Finals match against Ferrer

first_imgAndy Murray began his ATP World Tour Finals campaign with a convincing win over Spain’s David Ferrer in London.The Briton, 28, won 6-4 6-4 at the O2 Arena and will next play the winner of the evening match between Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal.Another victory on Wednesday would ensure Murray ends the year as world number two for the first time.The Scot’s season will continue next week as Great Britain take on Belgium in the Davis Cup final.”It was a tough match with a lot of long rallies,” said Murray. “He fought hard right to the end and made it extremely difficult.”He didn’t serve as well as he can and I played a bit better at the end of both sets, and that got me the win.” After some uncertainty over whether Murray would sacrifice his place in London to remain healthy for the showpiece in Belgium on 27-29 November, the Scot was in committed mood once he stepped out into the O2 Arena for his first round-robin match.He spent several days last week practising on clay for Britain’s first Davis Cup final since 1978, but there was little sign of rustiness on the switch back to an indoor hard court.Four break points slipped by in the first eight games before Murray finally broke through, thanks to a fine volley and a Ferrer double fault.The seventh seed, 33, was misfiring, making just 47% of first serves, and he was thankful for a loose Murray service game at the start of the second set.Ferrer was soon battling to keep Murray at bay once again, however, succumbing in game six as the Scot levelled. Serving to stay in the match, an eighth double fault saw Ferrer go 0-30 down. Then presented with a first match point a bouncing Murray leapt to put away a smash at the second attempt.The victory gives him an early lead in Group Ilie Nastase, with two players to qualify for the semi-finals on Saturday.–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

Being mayor, player aided Johnson in Sterling push

first_imgIn this photo taken on April 29, 2014, Sacramento, Calif., Mayor Kevin Johnson, at podium, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, left, speaks about the penalties imposed on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling by the NBA at a news conference at Los Angeles City Hall. From second left are current and former NBA players Steve Nash, Norm Nixon and Tyson Chandler. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is on a winning streak.The former NBA star led the city’s successful effort to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle and was recently sworn in as leader of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.But he scored what might have been his biggest victory when he represented NBA players in demanding one of the harshest penalties in the history of U.S. sports against Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, over racist remarks.After intense lobbying by Johnson and numerous others, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling from the league for life, fined him $2.5 million, and said he would urge the NBA’s board of governors to make Sterling sell the Clippers.“I hope that every bigot in this country sees what happened to Mr. Sterling and recognizes that if he can fall, so can you,” said Johnson, 48, who became Sacramento’s first African-American mayor in 2008, the same year the nation sent its first black president to the White House.In targeting Sterling, Johnson used his unique experience as a former player and elected official to drive the discussions with NBA executives on behalf of the National Basketball Players Association.NBA players were willing to take the unprecedented step of boycotting playoff games if the commissioner didn’t include the mandate for Sterling to sell the Clippers.“For politicians, these moments happen and you either show you have it or you don’t,” said Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist who has worked with Johnson throughout the fight to keep the Kings in Sacramento. “It was a slam dunk when it came to demonstrating he has what it takes.”Johnson, a playmaking point guard and scorer who played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns from 1988 to 1999, called the Sterling scandal a defining moment for the NBA and said he was personally offended by the remarks.“We may not have the power to force Mr. Sterling to sell his team, but make no mistake, we believe that Mr. Sterling should no longer have the privilege of being an owner of an NBA team,” Johnson wrote in a Facebook post before Silver handed down his punishment.Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he didn’t know the mayor could speak so eloquently.“My goodness,” Rivers said. “Just the rallying cry that this is not just about the Clippers or the Lakers or L.A. This is something bigger. It was great.”Johnson’s political trajectory has been rising since he returned to his hometown of Sacramento.During his first mayoral campaign in 2008, he fought allegations of misusing federal grants while running a charter school. Despite the claims, he ousted the incumbent with a pledge to raise the profile of the city. He compared himself to then-candidate Barack Obama and also campaigned on the promise of change.His personal profile has also been on the rise. In 2011, he wed former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee in a private ceremony in Tennessee after plans for a much larger wedding drew intense public scrutiny. Rhee was featured in the school reform documentary “Waiting for Superman” and founded the advocacy group StudentsFirst.The couple attended Obama’s first inauguration and they were among 350 guests at a White House state dinner honoring French President Francois Hollande in February.While the Clippers made recent headlines, it’s been the Kings that have dominated much of Johnson’s time.Sacramento had a topsy-turvy relationship with former Kings owners George, Joe and Gavin Maloof as the franchise struggled and proposals for a new arena came in fits and starts. The Maloofs considered moving the Kings to Las Vegas, Anaheim and Virginia Beach until announcing an agreement that called for investor Chris Hansen to buy the team and move it to Seattle.Johnson, however, made it tough for the team to go by getting the City Council to approve a plan for a $447 million downtown arena with a $258 million public subsidy.In the end, the Maloofs sold the Kings and the new Sleep Train Arena to a group led by TIBCO Software chairman Vivek Ranadive – and the team stayed put.Ranadive and Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, described Johnson as passionate, hardworking and charismatic.“He’s the kind of guy that you would love to have sitting next to you on a long flight,” Ranadive said.Earlier this year, Johnson was recruited by the players union to help find a new executive director. Now, he is hearing his name mentioned as a possible candidate for the position.___Associated Press writer Antonio Gonzalez contributed to this report from Oakland, Calif.last_img read more

Half-time: Burnley 1 Brentford 0

first_imgBrentford trailed at the break at Turf Moor to a Michael Keane header.The goal, on 25 minutes, came against the run of play after the Bees had looked the better side in the opening stages.Burnley keeper Tom Heaton turned away an Alan Judge free-kick and was then equal to a shot from Lasse Vibe, who looked the brightest of the Brentford players.Vibe also latched on to a Konstantin Kerschbaumer through ball but delayed his shot and allowed Heaton to block with his legs.Burnley then scored with their second serious attempt on goal, a corner nodded in by Keane at the far post.That settled the home side down a little and quelled Brentford’s bright start, with Scott Arfield blazing a good opportunity over the bar.Alan McCormack forced Heaton into a save at his near post before being booked for a strong challenge on Burnley left-back Ben Mee.Burnley: Heaton; Darikwa, Duff, Keane, Mee; Boyd, Jones, Arfield, Kightly; Hennings, Jutkiewicz.Subs: Gilks, Ward, Anderson, Taylor, Vokes, Vossen, Sordell.Brentford: Button; McCormack, Dean, Tarkowski, Bidwell; Judge, Diagouraga, Kerschbaumer, Gogia; Hofmann, Vibe.Subs: Bonham, Barbet, Colin, O’Connell, Udumaga, Clarke, Senior.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more