Wisconsin’s tournament run ends in one-point loss to Kentucky

first_imgARLINGTON, Texas — The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team made just two three-point shots in the NCAA semifinals. The second came with six seconds left to push the Wildcats into the title game, beating Wisconsin 74-73.Kentucky freshman forward James Young led all scorers with 17 points. Julius Randle pitched in with 16 points and five boards.Sam Dekker and Ben Brust picked up 15 points each for Wisconsin while Frank Kaminsky was held to eight points after averaging 18.5 points per game in the NCAA Tournament entering the Final Four. Joey Reuteman/The Badger HeraldWith the game tied at 71 and 16 seconds left, Kentucky’s Andrew Harrison fouled Wisconsin point guard Traevon Jackson behind the three-point line to give the Badgers a chance to, at worst, essentially guarantee an overtime period with three shots at the free-throw line.Jackson missed his first attempt, but would recover to sink the next two, giving the Badgers a two-point advantage.On the ensuing possession, Andrew Harrison passed the ball to his brother, Aaron Harrison, on the right elbow and Aaron would sink a step-back three with Josh Gasser’s hand in his face to give Kentucky a one-point lead.“Aaron has been doing that all tournament,” Dekker said. “He’s got that clutch gene and props to him for hitting that shot. You got to tip your cap when credit is due.”Aaron Harrison has now hit three-straight game tying or go-ahead 3-point shots in the final minute of the game in the tournament.Wisconsin owned possession with six seconds left on the clock, down one, with a chance to walk away winners at the buzzer.As it has all year long, Wisconsin put the ball in Jackson’s hands with the game on the line.Jackson drove the length of the court and jump stopped just right of the free throw line to get a look at the basket. The junior pulled the trigger and the ball banged off the backboard and over the hoop to mark the end of Wisconsin’s run in the tournament.“I got hit on my arm and I had to kind of adjust in the air, that’s why I hit the backboard,” Jackson said. “I can’t make any excuses, you got to make better plays with that opportunity.”Wisconsin gained control of the game early, building a nine-point lead seven minutes into the first half off of a 10-0 run.The Badgers received a spark off of the bench from freshman guard Bronson Koenig who scored all 11 of his points in the first half.After opening the game 8-for-15 from the floor, Wisconsin’s shooting would go cold, hitting just one of its eight field goal attempts in the final 7:07 of the first half, allowing Kentucky to cut its deficit to four, 40-36, at halftime.Dekker would get the Badgers off to a quick start in the second half, hitting a three-pointer on their first possession, but Kentucky would come roaring back answering with a 15-0 run that would put the Wildcats up by eight, 51-43, with 15:33 remaining.“Good thing was I didn’t tell them that they had just scored 15 in a row on us,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “That might have made our guys nervous.”Wisconsin showed no signs of nerves or backing down, responding with a 15-4 run to take back a three-point lead.The bench again would give the Badgers a lift as junior guard Duje Dukan scored eight points — six coming from behind the arc — in less than three minutes to help put Wisconsin back in the game.“The bench picked us up,” Ryan said. “Some guys made some plays. We got some stops. That’s the only way you can come from behind.”But the Wildcats would exploit the Badgers down low all game long, outscoring Wisconsin 46-24 in the paint and winning the rebound battle 32-27.Kentucky grabbed 11 offense rebounds and converted those into 23 second chance points compared to Wisconsin’s 10.“That’s the way they play,” Ryan said. “That’s something that we had to try to answer and we’re like a lot of teams, we didn’t get that part done…they impose their will that way.”Wisconsin was able to draw fouls on Kentucky and get to the free throw line. The Badgers set a Final Four record for free throw percentage at 95 percent (19-20), but the single miss would prove to be fatal.The loss marks the end of senior guard Ben Brust’s Wisconsin career. Brust is the all-time leader in three-point field goals made with 235.“It’s the seniors last go around, the last time we got to suit up with those guys,” Gasser said. “That’s why it’s tough and you lose a one possession game, that’s not easy.”With the exception of Brust, Wisconsin will be returning every player that averaged at least seven minutes a game.While the team is still recovering from the loss Saturday, expectations have already been set for next season.“We got a taste of what it’s like to play at this stage and we’re going to be back. I know it,” Kaminsky said.[Photo by Joey Reuteman/The Badger Herald]last_img read more

Nicky Adams brings new philosophy, mentality to struggling program

first_img Published on September 4, 2019 at 11:21 pm Contact Arabdho: armajumd@syr.edu | @aromajumder On the chain-link fence beside a shed at Hookway Athletic Field, there are 50 ribbons, all different colors. Each player on the Syracuse women’s soccer team owns two — one for each win this season. Some tied the ribbons on top of one another, others chose to space them out.It’s a tradition started this season by first-year head coach Nicky Adams. Already, three games into her tenure, the Orange are two-thirds of the way to the amount of ribbons they would’ve put up last season.“It reminds us that winning matters and the feeling that we had when we won,” Adams said.Syracuse (2-1) first contacted Adams, then-head coach of Rice, this past February after the Orange lost 13 straight games to end its season. Phil Wheddon resigned less than 24 hours after SU’s worst season in program history. By early March, Adams was named his successor, the Orange’s fourth head coach since the program started in 1996. Adams said she’s here for the “long haul” and believes the administration will give her time to turn the program around and become a contender in the Atlantic Coast Conference, one of the toughest leagues in women’s soccer.“I felt like I was ready for the next challenge,” Adams said. “I’ve been offered other jobs in the past but the timing with my family didn’t work out, and it was just crazy how the timing this time with Syracuse worked out. When I came for my interview, everything just felt right.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textArabdho Majumder | Asst. Digital EditorGrowing up in El Paso, Texas, a border town, Adams said she grew up playing a Hispanic-influenced brand of soccer — more about heart and passion than tactics, she said. Women’s soccer was still early in its development at the time — the first Women’s World Cup was in 1991 — and there was only one select team in the region.As a high school freshman, Adams participated in an Olympic Development Program. Adams’ maiden name is Thrasher, and Texas A&M head coach G Guerrieri said the name was fitting once he saw her play for a club team in El Paso.“She basically thrashed through a team of much older players and just was playing at a speed that was different to anyone else on the field,” Guerrieri said.Adams received a letter from Guerrieri at the start of her junior year of high school, prompting Adams’ mother to call him. Adams got the spiel from her and remembered saying “these things don’t happen very often, and I’m in a position to go be a part of a top 25 school.”So she went to College Station, Texas and again made a leap. Adams chose to forego her senior year of high school and went straight to A&M in 1997 as a “wide-eyed 17-year-old that didn’t even have a driver’s license,” she said.At the time, Guerrieri said most programs, including his, were just recruiting seniors. Very few players graduated high school early, which didn’t become a norm until around 2007, he added.Adams called Guerrieri her “second father” and credited him with breaking down soccer and teaching her the tactical side of the game. Their relationship came with plenty of commitment on both sides, and Guerrieri referred to Adams as a “soccer rat.” She’d always ask the coaches how and why they did things. She’d train for 45 minutes before team practices. Then, Adams would stay after to watch film with the coaching staff.“When you love something and you’re passionate about something and you have big goals and you’re put in a situation where people believe you can do it and want to help you,” Adams said, “you don’t want to disappoint either, so it was my No. 1 thing to do in college.”Eva Suppa | Digital Design EditorAfter a fractured fibula forced her to redshirt in 2000, a local U-9 girls team in the area approached her to coach them. Unable to play soccer and feeling lost at the time without it, she quickly grew to love coaching, Adams said. The girls looked up to her so much that they named the team the College Station Thrashers, Guerrieri said.Adams has been told in the past that her teams tend to mirror her competitive edge. Her father was a horse jockey, so she grew up around tracks watching him race, and while her passion and fierce competitive attitude turned to soccer, Adams just loves to win, she said. In her first two games as head coach for the Orange, she did just that.To start the season, Adams has encouraged her forwards to use their creativity, and throughout the year, she hopes to see improvements in her players’ soccer IQ with that added freedom. Her changes aim for a more attacking style of soccer on the pitch while attempting to bond with the girls off the field, whether it be giving full effort at practice or joining in on singing and dancing competitions with her players.“I love her,” junior Mackenzie Vlachos said. “She just has such a positive energy. She cares so much for this team, and she believes in us, and I think that really helps.”A slight smile starts to tug her players’ lips at the mention of their new head coach’s name. The coach who invited them over a handful of times already. Who joins them in singing Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” on road trips. And the one who embraced an exhausted Georgia Allen after a home-opener win, SU’s first in three years.Adams has become the pulse for a team that didn’t think it could win again. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more