first_imgINDIANAPOLIS? Michael Flowers would have made a great cornerback.Flowersintercepted a pass intended for Drew Neitzel with 30 seconds left, and hisdriving layup was the difference in No. 8 Wisconsin’s 65-63 victory overMichigan?State on Saturday that sent the Badgers to the Big Ten titlegame. Well, Flowers’ strip and score and a whole bunch of fouls.TheBadgers were able to overcome a rough day offensively thanks in part to theSpartans’ foul trouble. No. 19 Michigan?State was called for 30 fouls andhad four players foul out ? three in one 56-second span alone.“I’mvery disappointed in the outcome,” said Michigan?State coach TomIzzo, who was so upset he had to stop several times to compose himself in hispostgame news conference. “I don’t plan on getting over this today. Idon’t plan on getting over this tomorrow. On Monday I’ll get over it.”TheBadgers, meanwhile, are just happy to keep playing after rallying from 12 downin the second half. They reached the Big Ten tournament championship for asecond straight year, and the fourth time in five years. Wisconsin (28-4) willplay either Illinois or Minnesota, both of which need to win the title to getan NCAA bid.Wisconsinhas now won nine straight, and 22 of 24.“Idon’t think words can really describe what the guys did in the comeback,”Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “Probably the best way to describe it is toput a DVD on, watch it again and make your own observations.”TheSpartans (25-8) certainly have their thoughts about the outcome, but they’renot fit for the public. They were in foul trouble from the start of the game,averaging a foul a minute at one point in the first half. Leading scorer RaymarMorgan, and big men Goran Suton, Drew Naymick and Idong Ibok all fouled out,and Isaiah Dahlman was the only one of the 12 Spartans who played who didn’tget at least one foul.Michigan?Statehad more fouls (14) than field goals (11) in the first half, and Izzo wasforced to cobble together lineups that rarely are seen outside of practice.Despiteall that, Neitzel and freshman Kalin Lucas not only kept the Spartans in thegame, they almost pulled off the victory. Neitzel, who has had an up-and-downyear, had his second big game in a row, leading all scorers with 26. Lucas had18.“For(Neitzel) to play the way he did the last two days, I’ve always said goodthings happen to people who work hard and stick to it,” Izzo said, chokingup. “I think he deserved what he got as far as his play. I don’t think hedeserved what he got as far as the game went.”Neitzelconverted a three-point play, and Lucas sandwiched two jumpers around a freethrow to give Michigan?State a 63-61 lead with two minutes to play. MarcusLandry tied it with a pair of free throws with 1:41 left.Aftera Wisconsin turnover, the Spartans were trying to get the ball in Neitzel’shands. But Flowers, a member of the Big Ten’s all-defensive team, read thefreshman point guard perfectly, stepping in and grabbing Lucas’ pass before itgot anywhere close to Neitzel.“Iknew they were probably looking for Drew Neitzel,” Flowers said. “Ifhe doesn’t have the ball, he can’t score, so I over-covered him.”Flowerstook the ball in for the easy layup, and Wisconsin had a 65-63 lead with 27seconds left.TheSpartans were hoping to get the ball to Neitzel again, but Wisconsin’s stingydefense wasn’t giving them anything. Lucas finally put up a layup, but itrattled off the rim and Brian Butch grabbed the rebound. Michigan?Stategot one more chance after Jason Bohannon missed a pair of free throws andTravis Walton got the rebound, but Neitzel had the 6-foot-11 Butch in front ofhim and his 3-pointer missed bounced off the rim.“Wewere down (12), and we were saying, ‘It’s going to come on the defensiveend,’” Butch said.Butchled the Badgers with 19 points, and Landry had 18. Joe Krabbenhoft had hisfourth double-double of the year with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Wisconsin isnow 11-3 against Michigan?State since Ryan arrived in 2001, including twowins this year.“Rightnow, we’re trying to be the most opportunistic team in the country,” Ryansaid. “We don’t care who gets (the ball) or where, but if we can getwithin 15 feet in, you’ve got a better shot at getting to the free throwline.”Wisconsinwasn’t making its free throws early, and the frequent stops-and-starts seemedto keep the Badgers from getting into any kind of rhythm. Despite Naymick andSuton picking up their third fouls in the first three minutes of the secondhalf, the Spartans opened with a 10-2 run that put them up 39-29 with 15:26 toplay. They would later push the lead to 53-41 on 3-pointers by Neitzel andLucas and a pair of free throws from Morgan.Butthings unraveled in the 56-second span from 6:06 to 5:10 when Ibok, Naymick andSuton all fouled out. The Badgers made six of seven free throws, and Butchadded a 3-pointer to pull Wisconsin to 55-54 with 4:23 to play.last_img read more


first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 2, 2018 at 3:33 pm Contact Anthony: amdabbun@syr.edu Syracuse added a second player to its incoming Class of 2019 on Tuesday. John Bol Ajak committed to Syracuse, according to Prep Circuit. Ajak posted an Instagram photo of him in an Orange jersey, announcing his commitment to SU.The 6-foot-10, 205-pound forward hails from Paoli, Pennsylvania, and attended Church Farm School before transferring to Westtown School for his upcoming senior year.Ajak is rated as a three-star recruit, according to 247 Sports. He’s ranked No. 371 in the nation, and the No. 61 center. With Paschal Chukwu graduating after the 2018-19 season, the Orange will have minutes to fill at the center position.He joins guard Brycen Goodine in Syracuse’s confirmed Class of 2019. He said during the summer that he had remained in close contact with Syracuse assistant coach Adrian Autry.Ajak said back on July 12 that Autry was regularly checking in on him after what he called a “bad spring.” SU head coach Jim Boeheim also made contact with Ajak throughout the summer.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“They’ve been really honest with me,” Ajak said in July. “They told me to continue to be aggressive, finish at the rim and be a good teammate.”Ajak played AAU basketball for Team Final over the summer, where his play improved. He said then that Syracuse was near the top of his list.“Syracuse is an awesome school,” Ajak said in July. “I love everything about it, the coaches, the style of play.”Ajak took an unofficial visit to Syracuse for a game last year, then made an official visit to campus last weekend. Ajak had multiple Division I offers, including major interest from George Washington and St. Joseph’s. Commentslast_img read more