first_imgFifth-year senior Jared Berggren had plenty to smile about Sunday, as the Badgers’ bench production added to the center’s solid 19-point performance against the Lions.[/media-credit]The Wisconsin men’s basketball team started off its 2012-13 campaign in high-flying fashion Sunday, demolishing Southeastern Louisiana 87-47 at the Kohl Center.From the get-go, it was never much of a contest between the Badgers and their visitors from the south.UW opened the game on a 19-0 scoring run that spanned the first eight minutes of the first half before the Lions broke the shutout on a three-pointer by senior guard Todd Nelson more than seven minutes into the game.By the end of the first half, the Badgers had built a commanding 43-17 lead on 15-for-28 shooting, while they held the visiting Lions to a measly 25 percent clip from the field on 7-for-28 shooting and 1-for-8 from behind the three-point line.While the second half would start out right where it left off for the Badgers, as time wore on, UW Head Coach Bo Ryan increasingly turned to the bench to take the workload off his starters in the first game of a lengthy season.The Badgers would finish with 34 points from the bench, including 10 points from senior forward Mike Bruesewitz and eight points from freshman forward Sam Dekker.For Southeastern Louisiana head coach Jim Yarbrough, Wisconsin’s offensive depth posed too many problems for his team to handle.“They were just terrific in every way,” Yarbrough said. “At one point weeks and months ago, if you told us we would have 47 points, we probably would have been ecstatic in some ways thinking, ‘Well maybe the game could be 58-47, kind of a low scoring affair, grinding it out.’“If this is any kind of example, I don’t think [Wisconsin is] going to have to worry about low-scoring affairs.”Perhaps the most unexpected aspect of the game for Badger fans was not the blowout margin of victory, but the team’s announcement before the game that Bruesewitz had been cleared to play and would participate in the regular season home opener.While the medical staff restricted his time on the court, Bruesewitz finished the game as UW’s third leading scorer with 10 points in 13 minutes off the bench. Senior forward Jared Berggren lead Wisconsin’s scoring efforts with 19 points, quietly putting out a solid performance for Wisconsin and rounding out his statistics with eight rebounds and four blocks.“I thought he did some really good things to keep a post presence,” Ryan said. “We did touch the post; some teams you will be able to touch the post more than against others. Jared did a pretty good job with that.”Helping Berggren with the scoring load and on the boards was redshirt sophomore guard Ben Brust. Often a hot-and-cold shooter last season, Brust finished the game with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and hit both of his two attempts from behind the arc. The 6-foot-1 Brust also led all players with 11 rebounds. Following the departure of point guard Jordan Taylor, who graduated last spring, and Josh Gasser to a season-ending ACL injury, some thought UW might struggle on the defensive side of the ball with two of the Badgers’ best defenders no longer on the court. But the combination of Brust, redshirt freshman George Marshall and sophomore Traevon Jackson at guard held the Lions’ starting guards to 19 points – including only two points from senior guard Brandon Fortenberry, who was Southeastern Louisiana’s second-leading scorer a year ago and is expected to carry the bulk of the offense this season.“We knew Fortenberry could score,” Ryan said. “I thought we did a pretty good job of, at times, handing him off to the next guy, forcing him to squeeze in areas of the floor to where he was uncomfortable. Our positioning wasn’t too bad.”Looking ahead to the rest of the season, especially with the loss of Gasser, Brust and the other guards know their defensive play could play a big role in the Badgers’ results.“Obviously Josh was [all-Big Ten] defensive team last year, so collectively in the guard spot, I think me, George and [Traevon], we’re going to have to do a good job working together … and do our best to get what we can without Josh,” Brust said. “We’re just going to have to step up.”Despite a dominating first performance in Wisconsin’s official unveiling of this year’s team, the looming matchup with No. 10 Florida Wednesday kept Ryan from getting too carried away with the Badgers’ 40-point rout.“[Traevon], and Ben, George, they did OK,” Ryan said. “But we are obviously going to have to be better against the next opponent.”Follow Nick on Twitterlast_img read more


first_imgSimmons, whose birthday is in September, will be playing in his age 30 season. Since 2000, there have only been 32 shortstops who had even a single season with 130 games at shortstop in their age 31 season or older, and only seven of them had more than two such seasons.That wouldn’t seem to bode well for the chances of an extension for Simmons, but there is precedent for elite shortstops to continue into their late 30s. Derek Jeter, Omar Vizquel and Jimmy Rollins have all had at least five seasons as an everyday shortstop past age 31.Simmons believes he’s in that category.“All you have is the track record of what I’ve done recently,” Simmons said. “I can’t show you a crystal ball of the future, but I can show you what I’ve done throughout.“I believe in myself. I know I can keep doing this for years to come, and I’m still improving as a hitter. Even though it didn’t show up last year because of different things, I know I’m still improving as a hitter and still growing as a hitter.” Although Simmons refuses to look at in the context of his contract, it certainly is relevant that he is looking for this bounce-back season in the final year before he’s set to be a free agent.The Angels have had internal discussions about an extension for Simmons, but have not talked to him or his representatives about it, owner Arte Moreno said last week.“I’m not even thinking about it,” Simmons said. “The only time I think about it is when (the media) brings it up. It is what it is. All I can do is play. I’m going to try to get better in spring training and just play good and at the end of the day, we’ll be where we need to be.”That starts with his physical condition. Simmons said he’s lighter this year, which was a reaction to twice suffering ankle injuries in 2019. He said he’s trying to “reduce the stress on the ankles” by reducing the bulk.Simmons first got hurt when he was lunging toward first to try to beat out an infield hit in May. He came back five weeks later, played for just about another month, and then hurt a different part of the same ankle in early August. Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Around those two stints on the injured list, Simmons hit .264 with a .309 on-base percentage and a .676 OPS. He hit seven home runs. His average, on-base percentage and OPS were all the lowest of his four seasons with the Angels.The injuries “definitely affected me,” he said. “You have to learn how to play slightly limited. I was OK. … I maybe lost the momentum I had, the rhythm and timing. I wasn’t stretching singles into doubles. I could move, but not as good.”On defense, the advanced metrics had downgraded Simmons slightly, although he was still well above average. He was a finalist for the Gold Glove award, but Francisco Lindor snapped Simmons’ two-year winning streak.Shortstop is typically one of the positions at which a player’s age impacts him the soonest.Related Articlescenter_img Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter TEMPE, Ariz. — Andrelton Simmons is looking at this season as a “challenge.”The Angels’ Gold Glove shortstop was on a rising trajectory through 2018, having steadily improved his hitting while continuing to play otherworldly defense.Now, he’s trying to bounce back from a 2019 season in which injuries sapped him of some of his production.“I enjoy all I’ve learned and how much better I got than the expectations when I came into this league as a hitter,” Simmons said. “So it’s a challenge for me to do it, to keep doing what I’ve done the past couple years and keep improving on it.”last_img read more