Monroe leads Bucks past Pistons 102-89

MILWAUKEE — While Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was limited on offense, Greg Monroe picked up the slack in a 102-89 win over the Detroit Pistons Monday night.

Antetokounmpo was held to just eight points in 36 minutes of play, while Monroe came off the bench to provide a team-high 25 points, along with 13 rebounds. It was Milwaukee’s first win streak since Jan. 13 and the team’s second double-digit win since losing Jabari Parker to his second torn ACL to the same knee.

Michael Beasley supplemented Milwaukee’s offensive output with 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting, helping build the lead up to as many as 22 points.

”Those two guys crushed us. And then our offense was pathetic,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. ”It was just a miserable night all around.”

Defensively, Milwaukee made progress as well, holding an opponent under 100 points for the first time in 20 games.

Pistons rookie Henry Ellenson was inactive in his first return to Milwaukee since being drafted out of Marquette. He was the No. 18 overall selection by Detroit last summer.

Marquette shocks #1 Villanova 74-72 Tuesday night at the Bradley Center

MILWAUKEE — The Marquette men’s basketball team followed up an impressive win over Creighton with an even more impressive 74-72 win over #1 Villanova on Tuesday night. Golden Eagle Katin Reinhardt hit two free throws with 11.6 seconds left and Villanova missed a layup at the buzzer.

The Golden Eagles (14-6, 5-3 Big East) roared back from a 17-point deficit for a season-defining win over the Wildcats (19-2, 7-2).

Fans stormed the court at the Bradley Center after the victory.

Marquette overcame poor free throw shooting and poor stretches in the first half to pull off the upset.

Reinhardt led the Golden Eagles with 19 points.

A year later, the Badgers know who they are as they face Marquette

MADISON | A year ago at this time, the Wisconsin basketball team was struggling. Like, really struggling. Having to replace five members from back-to-back Final Four teams will do that. Add in the uncertainty around coach Bo Ryan’s status, and the losses to Western Illinois, Georgetown and UW-Milwaukee begin to make sense. By the time they met Marquette in Madison on Dec. 12, the Badgers had already suffered as many losses (4) as they had the entire season before.

“We were pretty disorganized,” senior Bronson Koenig said of what the team was like at this time last year. “We didn’t really have an identity at that time. It was early. We held the ball a lot. We did a lot of one-on-one. We didn’t move the ball.”

And that resulted in a 57-55 loss to the Golden Eagles at the Kohl Center. Afterwards, Marquette’s freshman star Henry Ellenson said they came to town looking to show everyone that they were the best team in the state, and that’s what they did. It was hard to argue with him at the time. With the Badgers running an offense designed for talent they didn’t have, lacking leadership in the locker room and guys getting frustrated by a lack of playing time, things were bad.

“We thought we were getting it back on track,” guard Zak Showalter said of a win at Syracuse that preceded the back-to-back losses to Milwaukee and Marquette. “(But) we were still clearly struggling. Still took a while to get the ship righted.”

Three days after the Marquette game, and following a win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Ryan stepped down as coach, making his long-time assistant Greg Gard the interim coach. Gard implemented several strategies to turn things around, most notably going back to the “Swing” offense that Ryan had made famous, expanding the rotation and pushing for the experienced players to become leaders in the locker room and on the floor.

There were signs of progress but things didn’t hit rock bottom until a loss at Northwestern dropped them to 1-4 in Big Ten play. A frustrated Nigel Hayes lit into the team, which allowed everyone to get whatever they were thinking off their chest. It was a turning point in a season that would see Wisconsin win 11 of their next 12 games and make the NCAA tournament for an 18th straight season.

Now, just two days shy of a year since the last time the Badgers and Golden Eagles faced off, they meet again, this time in Milwaukee. And while many of the names are the same on Wisconsin’s roster, the team is much different. The 17th ranked Badgers know who they are and have an identity that mirrors some of the better teams that Ryan had in his 15 years as coach. They aren’t a finished product, but they’ve shown in the last four games — where they won by an average of 29 points — that they understand how they have to play to be successful.

Certainly, Marquette (7-2) will provide a stiff challenge. The game always seems to be close and this Golden Eagles team has plenty of weapons offensively. But it’s also an opportunity for Wisconsin to show how far they’ve come and make a statement.

“You want to have that pride of being the best team in the state,” Showalter said. “I think last year, obviously, we slipped (on) a couple in-state games, and we don’t want that to happen this year.”