UW wrestling slides by No. 25 Hofstra

first_imgAfter finishing last in the Big Ten a year ago, the Wisconsin wrestling team started off its 2012-13 season with an 18-13 victory over the No. 25 Hofstra Pride.Wisconsin (1-0) suffered its first loss last year against Hofstra (0-2) by a score of 25-12, a loss that ignited a string of 11-straight dual losses for the Badgers.UW head coach Barry Davis said he was encouraged by his team’s success in its first match of the year.“Last year was a rough year for a lot of guys, but as a team, to get off with a win and moving forward, building momentum,” Davis said. “Obviously we’ve got some things to work on; some young guys in the lineup right now, but definitely a good start overall.”Wisconsin took the final three matches of the afternoon after dropping its first two matches to find itself in a 0-7 hole. Redshirt sophomore Dylan Iczkowski and redshirt junior Jackson Hein won their respective matches to give Wisconsin the first lead of the day heading into the meet’s final contest.With the score at 15-13, redshirt senior Cole Tobin was asked to step in at the heavyweight position for No. 16 redshirt freshman Connor Medbery, who was not feeling well before the match. Tobin clinched the match for Wisconsin with a big takedown with less than 20 seconds left in the final period.The coaching staff called Tobin at the library around 10 a.m. Sunday morning to tell him he was in the starting lineup.Tobin said the win will provide a major momentum boost for the entire season.“I think this is a really big first step,” Tobin said. “Last year was kind of a tough year. This year, there’s a lot of excitement. It’s a good team we just beat, so it’s good momentum for the rest of the season.”Wisconsin began the day with the challenge of facing three-consecutive nationally-ranked wrestlers, including No. 4 Steve Bonanno. After the Badgers lost their first two matches, redshirt junior Tyler Graff earned the first Wisconsin win at the 141-pound weight class. The third-ranked Graff redshirted last season to compete in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, where he finished third. Only the top spot in each weight class earns a spot on the Olympic team.Graff said while he is still adjusting to the head-to-head format of collegiate wrestling, he was able to stay poised against his opponent.“Most of it was being patient, using my abilities,” Graff said. “I’m good enough to get more attacks off; I think it’s important just to keep building off of that and getting better and implementing.”Davis said it was good to have the two-time All-American back in the lineup, but he needs to work on switching his form back to a grappling style.“He’s got to get back into that folkstyle mode; right now he’s more in that freestyle mode,” Davis said. “He’s got to pull that trigger, get the guys legs more often and score some more points. That will come with time, though.”In the 149-pound matchup, fifth-year senior Cole Schmitt made a key takedown in the second period en route to a 3-0 shutout to put the Badgers within a point of the Pride. Schmitt accumulated a 13-5 record in the 2011-12 season.Davis said Schmitt wasn’t a player who expected to contribute much to the team.“Dylan never won a state title, and is a kid no one even expected to be in our lineup, and he came out with a big win today,” Davis said.After Wisconsin lost a 2-6 decision at the 157-pound match, redshirt sophomore Frank Cousins fell to an early 6-3 deficit after he was taken down twice in the first period and a third time in the second period. Cousins finally made his move in the final period as he created three takedowns, including one in the final five seconds of the period, to earn the 9-7 decision, again pulling within one point of Hofstra.Davis said that staying aggressive on the mat will be an important factor for the team for the remainder of the season.“What we’ve got to do is continue to be offensive,” Davis said. “Overall, we’re building; we’ve gotten better since September. Again, we’re going to learn and work on the small things, and they’ll turn into big things.”last_img read more

Why can’t the Lakers win without Lonzo Ball, and will they ever?

first_imgIt’s not that the Lakers are perfect with Ball, but he has at least been in the game for all 15 of their wins.Naturally, the focus on Ball’s absence is his offense. But his 7.1 assists per game tends to be offset by the fact that, on average, he misses seven of the 11 shots he attempts per game.The Lakers’ offense is more or less the same with or without Ball. When he is on the court, the Lakers average 100.9 points per 100 possessions. Without him, they average 101.5 points.It’s on defense, as strange as that might sound, that his absence is really felt, with the Lakers allowing 6.2 more points per game when Ball is off the court. Going by straight points per game, a less reliable stat but one whose results are no less damning, the Lakers allow 107.8 points per game with Ball, and 124.1 without him.With Ball on the floor, Lakers opponents shoot 44.6 percent from the field. Without him, that number swellls to 51.9 percent.Before the loss in Oklahoma City, Walton ticked off the things Ball brings to the court for the Lakers’ defense, starting with his lanky 6-foot-6 frame, his ability to switch on screens and his preternatural ability to anticipate passes.Passing, after all, is the part of the game Ball knows best.Meanwhile, Ball leads the Lakers in defensive rebounds, averaging 5.8 per game.“We finish off possessions a lot of times with either him coming back in and tipping the ball to someone or grabbing the rebound himself,” Walton said.Ball has missed two straight games with a sore left knee, and he is unlikely to be on the floor when the Lakers host Indiana on Friday.“He says it feels better but he’s still limping around,” Walton said following the team’s shootaround on Wednesday. Hours later, prior to tip-off, he added Ball “doesn’t look like he’s ready to start playing.”That leaves Walton to promote the holistic, team approach of everyone summoning the mindset of making the extra pass without Ball there to set the example.“It’s going to take everybody with that type of mindset,” he said, “but still willing to be aggressive at the same time.”After coming up empty for an eighth time on Wednesday, Walton and the Lakers can only hope for better against the Pacers.“We’re capable of winning without him,” Walton vowed.His other players still have to prove it. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“I think it’s much harder to win without Lonzo, but it’s not impossible,” Walton said. “There’s games that we could have won (that) he hadn’t played in. We just didn’t finish them out.”The Lakers’ eight losses without Ball have been by an average of 17 points. With the exception of a double-overtime thriller in Houston on New Year’s Eve, the Lakers have not really been close in any of their games without the No. 2 draft choice.Thursday’s 114-90 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder was just the latest case of the Lakers missing Ball. Tyler Ennis started in place of Ball, tallying nine points points, three rebounds and three assists.While the Lakers have tried to compensate for Ball’s absence by stepping up their collective efforts at facilitating as a team, it’s clear they can’t collectively compensate for his unique skill.“We just got somebody that can facilitate,” Kyle Kuzma said. “That’s what he does, that’s what he wants to do. (We’ve) got a lot of guys that really score it, and to have him on the floor to do that and push the pace is also good.” OKLAHOMA CITY — The Lakers are at their most consistent without Lonzo Ball.Eight games, eight losses.So, can it really be that simple? That despite all of the distractions that come with the 20-year-old point guard’s family, despite his screwy and often ineffectual jump shot, the Lakers need Ball to win?Or is it just a cause of correlation vs. causation?center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more