No. 13 Michigan State beats Wisconsin 49-47


No. 13 Michigan State beats Wisconsin 49-47

MADISON, Wis. (AP) Michigan State coach Tom Izzo says some teams make the mistake of trying to speed up Wisconsin.

Instead, the 13th-ranked Spartans decided to grind the Badgers down.

Keith Appling scored 19 points and Branden Dawson added 18 while grabbing 13 rebounds to lead Michigan State to a 49-47 victory over Wisconsin in a defensive struggle Tuesday night.

``They don't turn it over. I don't care who they're playing,'' said Izzo, whose team finished with 10 turnovers, one more than Wisconsin. ``So we said we have to play like them in that respect. We wanted to run, but we wanted to be solid with the ball, and I think we did a good of that.''

It should be no shock the game was a grind considering Wisconsin is tops in the Big Ten in scoring defense and the Spartans are third. But defense alone doesn't explain the offensive struggles of both teams.

They both went more than 4 minutes without scoring down the stretch until Dawson broke the drought, hitting one of two from the free throw line. That put the Spartans (17-3, 6-1 Big Ten) up 48-44 with just over 2 minutes left.

The defenses clamped down again until Ryan Evans' 3-pointer from the wing with 17 seconds left pulled Wisconsin (13-6, 4-2) within 48-47.

The Badgers fouled Michigan State freshman Gary Harris. He took his time in hitting the front end of a 1-and-1, but rimmed out the second to leave the Spartans up 49-47.

Wisconsin's George Marshall, who missed practice Monday because he was sick, then drove the lane and was fouled with 3.5 seconds left. But he missed the first free throw and intentionally tried to miss the second, failing to draw iron and giving the ball to the Spartans.

After winning their first game at Wisconsin since 2001 last season, the Spartans have won two straight at the Kohl Center and have a four-game winning streak against the Badgers.

``I just love playing against Wisconsin,'' Appling said. ``Each year they have competitive guys that push me and make me better, so I just look at it as a challenge. These past couple years it's worked out in my favor and my team's favor.''

Though it was a defensive struggle for both sides, Wisconsin took the worst of it.

The Badgers shot just less than 30 percent from the field, including 8 of 27 from 3-point range. The starting frontcourt - Evans, Mike Bruesewitz and Jared Berggren - combined to shoot 9 of 32.

Wisconsin played without backup forward Frank Kaminsky, who missed his second straight game after being poked in the eye at Indiana last week. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said it hurt to lose a post player who can score.

Bruesewitz led the Badgers with 10 points.

``You can have a guy have an off night,'' Ryan said. ``We had more than one guy have an off night, and it's a one possession game. That's frustrating because you know you had opportunities.''

It was another poor showing night at the free throw line for the Badgers. Berggren, who came in shooting 76 percent from the line, missed three straight during Wisconsin's second-half scoreless streak, including the front end of a 1-and-1. The Badgers finished 7 of 18 from the line, including 5 of 13 in the second half, and are now shooting 61 percent on the season.

Berggren said it was particularly painful that the missed free throws included two after he went in for a dunk and was fouled during the scoreless stretch, saying he needed to fight through the contact better.

``To get easy points like that and leave those on the board is frustrating,'' he said.

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Rui Hachimura falls to Devin Booker in NBA 2K Players Tournament

Rui Hachimura falls to Devin Booker in NBA 2K Players Tournament

Coming off a nail-biting win over Donovan Mitchell in the first round, Rui Hachimura lost to Suns star Devin Booker in the quarterfinals of the NBA 2K Players Tournament Thursday night. 

The Wizards' rookie forward played with the Clippers, while Booker went with the Mavericks. Not only did Hachimura have the more talented team in this matchup, but it looked like he had a coach sitting near him the whole time too. 

Hachimura's biggest challenge in this one was finding easy points against Booker's defense. Booker did a good job using his center to close down driving lanes while leaving Hachimura's big men wide open in the corner.

The Clippers bigs aren't great outside shooters, so outside of a few surprising makes from Montrezl Harrell, it was a rough night offensively. Hachimura tried to go with a small-ball lineup with Marcus Morris at the center spot, but then he started giving up way too many offensive rebounds. 

On the flip side when Hachimura tried to do the same thing to Booker, Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber were able to knock those shots down. That left the door open for Luka Doncic to get open looks and that's how Booker eventually pulled away in the second half. 

It was a good run for Hachimura in the tournament. He knocked off the four-seed in Mitchell and delivered one of the more memorable moments of the first round. He just ran into a buzzsaw in Booker, who may have a decent chance to win the whole thing. 

The semifinals and finals of the 2K Players Tournament will begin on Saturday. 

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Ravens GM Eric DeCosta gives scouting reports on two of NFL Draft's 'very best" inside linebackers

Ravens GM Eric DeCosta gives scouting reports on two of NFL Draft's 'very best" inside linebackers

Perhaps the Ravens’ biggest need is an off-ball linebacker. Fortunately for them, there are two standouts that are projected to go in the back half of the first round of this year’s draft. 

The biggest question mark, though, is whether Kenneth Murray of Oklahoma or Patrick Queen of LSU will be on the board when the Ravens pick at 28th. 

During a conference call with reporters Thursday morning, Ravens’ general manager Eric DeCosta discussed both linebackers in detail.

"It really just depends what flavor you like, Murray or Queen," DeCosta said. "I think they're looked at side by side as probably two of the very best inside linebackers."

Queen and Murray, both of whom have been linked to the Ravens in the first round, are two different college linebackers. 

Queen was just a one-year starter in the SEC at LSU, but stood out from the pack and registered 85 tackles and three sacks in 15 games played. It was his only season as a starter. 

At the NFL Combine, the 6-foot, 229-pound linebacker ran a 4.5 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225-pounds 18 times. 


"Not as big as Murray, (but he’s) very explosive," DeCosta said. "LSU has put a number of really good defensive players in the league over the last four or five years. He's a guy that's sideline to sideline, he can play downhill, he's a very good cover linebacker. He kind of came on the scene this year, was not a household name before this year.”

Murray, on the other hand, was a three-year starter and has tremendous sideline-to-sideline speed. The 6-foot-2, 241-pound linebacker ran a 4.52 40-yard dash and bench pressed 21 times at the combine.

"Tremendous athlete, a cerebral guy, he's got really good length," DeCosta said. "He's been a really good defensive player on a team that really hasn't had a lot of really good defensive players lately. He’s a good prospect, he's a great student of the game, he's got great intangibles.”

Both linebackers represent the new era, of sorts, for linebackers in the NFL, as the traditional big and powerful linebackers of decades past are no more. Now, speed is at a premium to get on the field. 

While the Ravens’ front office added they could centralize their needs at linebacker and find a player with a specific skill of defending the run well, or defending the pass well, to play two downs, both Murray and Queen represent linebackers that can stay on the field for three downs.

“In a perfect world you'd like to have a bigger guy, but you're also looking for a bigger guy who can run,” DeCosta said. “Linebacker is a position where every single play is usually a contact play. The physical aspect, the durability aspect, of that position, guys that are consistently able to play, I think that’s a factor.” 

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