MADISON – The first game-winner of Sawyer Scholl’s college career was one of those bang-bang plays that didn’t leave him much time to think.
“I was lucky for it to pop up to me and then I just kind of stuffed it,” he said. “I don’t think too much when I get it that low, I just try to get it at the net and was lucky enough to get it in.”
The goal by the freshman from Medford came at the 13-minute 52-second mark of the third period and proved to be the difference in a 3-2 Wisconsin victory over Notre Dame in front of 12,672 at the Kohl Center on Saturday night.
The score was part of a wild final period that featured four goals, five penalties and one ejection. The win, meanwhile, gave the fourth-ranked Badgers their first wire-to-wire conference win since beating Notre Dame on Jan. 6 and a four-game season sweep of the Fighting Irish.
They accomplished the feat by holding Notre Dame to just 25 shots on goal, the third-lowest for a UW Big Ten opponent this season.
“I thought we defended our tail off tonight,” Wisconsin coach Mike Hastings said. “Kind of crazy game there in the third period with what happened. I thought the guys showed some composure. We talked at the beginning of our season that everybody matters and tonight you saw that.”
The win allowed Wisconsin (22-6-2, 13-4-1 – 41 points) to remain five points behind Michigan State in the Big Ten standings. The Spartans, who have played two more games than the Badgers, completed a sweep of Michigan on Saturday night.
Seven players accounted for the eight points scored by Wisconsin with Scholl, freshman William Whitelaw and sophomore Simon Tassy scoring goals. The only multi-point scorer was freshman defenseman Joe Palodichuk, who had two assists.
At the other end, senior Kyle McClellan didn’t allow a goal during the first two periods and finished with 23 saves.
“When we can come out of our end together and entered their end together we’re a much better hockey team,” Hastings said. “I thought we did a good job of breaking pucks out this weekend. It’s something the guys focused on this week and I thought they executed very well.”
Scholl’s goal gave Wisconsin a 3-1 lead. After a Notre Dame turnover near the blue line, Scholl passed the puck ahead to Cruz Lucius. Lucius didn’t have a good angle but his shot bounced off the side of the net and ended up behind the goal where where Scholl recovered it, reversed course and dumped it into the net.
Notre Dame goaltender Ryan Bischel didn’t have a chance to make the stop because UW’s Owen Mehlenbacher had crashed into the goal after getting tripped by a Fighting Irish player.
At least that’s the way the UW staff saw it. After a video review the officials didn’t take the goal off the board.
“All you could see on the replay was Mehlenbacher going into the net,” Hastings said. “I talked to (assistant coach) Nick Oliver and I said ask our (director of hockey operations) Luke Regner. Let me know if he was pushed in and that is what my guys said. He got tripped going into the net, so he didn’t go in there on his own power.”
Wisconsin allowed the first goal in four of its previous five games. Whitelaw allowed the Badgers to break that trend at the 6-minute mark of the first period off an assist from sophomore Tyson Dyck and Palodichuk.
“It was puck pressure and it created a turnover,” Hastings said. “That’s one young man that when he’s in that area he’s very comfortable. He was able to get his head up and find a hole. You saw what he can do under pressure last week in the shootout where I think he gets excited about that. He doesn’t fade. He doesn’t shy away.”
Notre Dame tied the game about 5 minutes into the final period with a power play goal by Landon Slaggert. The Badgers’ response came at the 9:39 mark on a power play goal by Tassy, the team’s first power play score in three-plus games.
Palodichuck and sophomore Christian Fitzgerald got the assists on the play.
“Our first unit was all over them. The second should have probably had one or two, so it was good to be able to get one,” Tassy said. “Our power play has been struggling a little bit, so being able to get a tip like that might get some momentum going for us.”
Scholl’s score gave the Badgers a two-score cushion that proved valuable when Notre Dame’s Cole Knuble cut the deficit to one with 3:47 left.
The victory sets up the Badgers up for a chance to take over first place in the Big Ten next week at Ohio State. Michigan State is idle next weekend, so with two wins UW would move ahead of the Spartans in the standings.
Wisconsin coach Greg Gard lobbies for mentor Bo Ryan to get into the Naismith Hall of Fame: ‘It’s a no-brainer’
Wisconsin’s Greg Gard states case for Bo Ryan to make Hall of Fame
Ryan, who spent 14 seasons at Wisconsin’s coach, won four Division III national championships at UW-Platteville and led UW to the Final Four twice.
MADISON – Greg Gard chuckled before he could attempt to respond to the question:
How would you state your case for Bo Ryan to be voted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame?
“I mean, it’s a no-brainer,” the Wisconsin coach said. “You look at the numbers.”
Gard, who worked under Ryan for more than two decades – at UW-Platteville, UW-Milwaukee and finally at Wisconsin – probably can recite many of the numbers from memory.
“Platteville alone,” Gard continued, “and I was there for six of those (seasons).
“The further you get from it you realize those may never be duplicated. They were video game numbers.”
Tom Izzo of Michigan State among those pushing for Bo Ryan to join the Naismith Hall of Fame
Gard and other coaches, including Tom Izzo of Michigan State, have been quietly pushing for Ryan, 76, to be inducted.
“Tom obviously recognizes the validity of Bo being in,” Gard said. “And I know Tom has been a proponent and a voice to help with this, as have others.
“I think for those that really understand it and know the history and step back and really look at it, it’s a no-brainer.”
Ryan moved one step closer last week when he was named among the 14 finalists for the 2024 class.
“Yes, we have been very vocal,” Gard said. “Probably more than ever and consistently more than ever.
“I think I’ve been able to talk to a lot of people that have given me insight how to keep that at the forefront.”
Ryan’s résumé is in the hands of the North American Honors Committee. That committee includes 24 voting members and is composed of Hall of Famers, basketball executives and administrators, members of the media and other experts in the game of basketball.
A finalist must receive at least 18 votes to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
The class is to be announced April 6, during the Division I men’s Final Four in Arizona.
“We’ve got to make another push now,” Gard said. “I know he needs 18 votes, so we’ll continue to push that forward and hopefully by April 6 when they announce the inductees that he is one of them.”
Bo Ryan’s résumé boasts impressive numbers
In case anyone has forgotten the impressive résumé Ryan compiled in 31-plus college seasons, here are some snippets:
His overall record was 747-233, a winning percentage of .762.
His teams qualified for the national tournament – NAIA, NCAA Division III or NCAA Division I – in all but four seasons, twice at UW-Platteville and twice at UW-Milwaukee.
He led Platteville to Division III national titles in 1991, 1995, 1998 and 1999 and those teams finished a combined 119-5 (.960).
Platteville was the winningest NCAA men’s basketball program of the 1990s regardless of division with a record of 266-26 (.908).
Ryan guided UW to 14 NCAA berths in 14 seasons and reached the Final Four in his last two full seasons. UW never finished outside the top four of the Big Ten during that run.
“We can sit here because we’re biased and say it’s a no-brainer,” Gard said. “But when you step back and really look at the numbers and the consistency of it, there’s no doubt it’s Hall of Fame worthy.”
Gard and his players were in Iowa City preparing to face the Hawkeyes when the finalists for the 2024 class were announced.
Gard called Ryan to chat.
“He did not know,” Gard said. “So, he was a little speechless. Which was good. It’s rare you find him speechless.”
Will the next time come in April?
Wisconsin school district releases tape of Black superintendent’s comments that led to resignation
The Green Bay school district on Wednesday released the recording of its first Black superintendent’s appearance on an Atlanta radio show in which he made blunt comments about race relations, criticized the community and derided one of the district’s principals.
Claude Tiller Jr. resigned on Saturday after a closed-door meeting with school board members.
On the recording, he is caught during a break from speaking on air during a WAOK-AM radio interview on Feb. 6 referring to a female principal as a “wicked witch” and using a disparaging slang word to describe her. Tiller was in Atlanta on a teacher recruiting trip.
During one of the breaks, the show’s host refers to Green Bay as “about as lily white as I have ever seen.”
Tiller responds, “The lily on top of the lily.”
Green Bay, a city of about 100,000 people in northeastern Wisconsin, is about 72% white, according to U.S. Census data released in July 2023. People who identify as Black make up about 4.2% of the population.
The entire interview, including conversations Tiller had with the host during breaks, was livestreamed on Facebook. The host informed Tiller that his appearance would be streamed.
During the interview, Tiller was asked about his conversations with mostly white teachers.
“I’m a bald head man and I wear bow ties,” Tiller said. “So first all, they think that I’m a Muslim. They think I like to fix bean pies. And that’s furthest from the truth. So I have to go debunking some microaggressions before I even go into. They think majority of us we like fried chicken and watermelon. I prefer my chicken baked.” He added that, as “a bald head black man with a bow tie, they get my passion confused with anger.”
Tiller’s comments about bow ties and bean pies were a reference to the Nation of Islam, a Black nationalist movement with roots in Detroit whose male followers often wear distinctive red bowties. Followers also often consume and sell food made from navy beans, including pies, which are promoted as healthy.
Tiller didn’t respond to a phone message left by The Associated Press on Wednesday evening. In a statement he issued following his resignation, he said his remarks during the interview were “specifically directed toward the broader systemic issues within public education that contribute to ongoing challenges.”
He added that he offered his perspective “with candor, anchoring my narrative in both my professional insights and personal experiences as an educational leader of color.”
“Simply put, I spoke my truth.”
The school district board’s president, Laura McCoy, didn’t respond to a phone message on Wednesday evening. Board Vice President James Lyerly declined to comment, saying Tiller’s resignation was “a human resources matter.”
Tiller became superintendent in Green Bay in July. He had previously served as an assistant superintendent over high school transformation with the Detroit Public Schools Community District, according to a biography on the Green Bay school district’s website.
During one break he told the host that “mindset in Green Bay, Black and brown folks, it’s almost like stepping back in time. They don’t even realize it til I came along and I have people coming up to me crying saying ‘don’t leave’ because I’m giving voice to the voiceless.”
At another point during the interview, he said he applied for the job only at his wife’s urging, thinking that “no all white board is going to choose an African American male.”
Associated Press writer Kathleen Foody in Chicago contributed to this report.
Wisconsin AG among multi-state coalition aiming to uphold federal air regulations
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul is joining 15 other Democratic attorneys general intervening in a case that challenges Clean Air Act regulations.
In November, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized changes on how states must meet clean air standards under the regulations. The updates govern state plans to limit air pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
The final rule set timelines providing a framework for states to develop plans that set and enforce emission standards for existing power plants. Kaul said the rule would allow states to adopt more stringent standards for facilities than what’s required under federal law.
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In January, West Virginia and a group of other states challenged the regulations in a federal appeals court. They argue the EPA is going beyond its authority with the proposed changes.
Kaul is defending the EPA’s regulations.
“The changes that the states challenging these regulations are seeking would weaken efforts to limit air pollution,” Kaul said in a statement. “We must not take a step backward in protecting clean air and combating the climate crisis.”
The changes would also allow states more time to submit plans and update how states can engage with communities affected by power plants. The EPA plan also provides a process states can follow that allows facilities to meet less stringent standards based on their remaining useful life. Under that process, power plants may also receive more time to comply with the regulations.
The challenge comes after a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2022 limited the EPA’s authority to issue regulations that would curb carbon emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act. The decision limited the agency’s ability to regulate pollution only at the facility through emission controls rather than considering other options, such as adopting clean energy projects.
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