DEREK MONTGOMERY/Herald photoMINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — A week’s worth of preparation and reflection didn’t help the Wisconsin Badgers’ defense Saturday with the win against the Golden Gophers. Just seven days removed from a contest that saw the UW defense give up a record number of total yards, the defense almost set another record: most rushing yards allowed in school history.For the second consecutive week, and third time this year, the Wisconsin defense allowed their opponent to post more than 30 points in a game. But unlike UW’s previous two opponents that posted upwards of 30, Northwestern and Bowling Green, Minnesota is not a team anyone would classify as a high-octane offense.In fact, Minnesota’s crawl ball is the antithesis of the offenses run by the Wildcats and Falcons. But that didn’t stop the Gophers from putting up huge numbers, and for the second consecutive week, it was an opposing team’s tailback that created most of the damage.Minnesota’s star tailback, Laurence Maroney looked nearly unstoppable in the game, running, juking and plowing his way to an impressive 258 yards on the ground. The Gophers’ running game was so dominant that Maroney passed the century mark before halftime, and his backup, Gary Russell, finished the game with 139 yards on 19 carries.”Maroney’s one of the best backs in the country,” defensive tackle Mike Newkirk said. “We knew that coming in and we had to prepare for him. But we were going after him whether he was the best or the worst, it doesn’t really matter. We knew we had to try and contain him.”All told, the Badgers gave up 411 yards on the ground on the day, just 41 yards shy of the most yards allowed by a Wisconsin defense. UW’s run-stuffing ability was a far cry from the defense that was allowing less than a 100 yards per game on the ground prior to their loss to Northwestern.”As a defensive line we preach that everything is on us,” Newkirk said. “There might be issues in the secondary, there might be issues at linebacker but that doesn’t matter to us. As far as the yardage that the other guy is getting we take that all on ourselves.”So what has changed in the last two weeks that have transformed this team from a veritable wall against the run, to the porous product fans saw Saturday? To a man, the Badger defense will tell you the biggest culprit is one thing — tackling.”Our tackling wasn’t good today, that’s definitely our biggest problem right now,” free safety Roderick Rogers admitted.The Badgers missed tackles throughout the day, allowing the Gophers to get second chances on their running plays and rack up the yards after catch in the passing game. Perhaps one of the most telling statistics is the number of yards Gopher rushers lost Saturday.Despite running the ball 63 times in the contest, Wisconsin’s defense was unable to stop the Gophers at the point of attack and Minnesota’s backs only lost a grand total of four yards on the game.Injuries were also a factor for the Badgers, who spent much of the second half with a makeshift defensive line. A unit that could ill-afford to lose more bodies got even thinner throughout the game as defensive end Joe Monty and defensive tackle Jason Chapman both left the game due to injuries forcing defensive coordinator Bret Bielema to rely heavily on Matt Schaunessy, Kurt Ware, who was also nicked up during the game, and Nick Hayden while rotating in various players throughout the game.”We were thin coming in and we lost a couple more, so there were some guys out there that I didn’t know were out there,” Bielema said.The wear and tear of the season, which doesn’t give UW a bye week until the end of the conference season, was also evident in the secondary. While UW did open the game with their usual starters, Allen Langford and Brett Bell, on the field, the two cornerback spots saw unusually high number substitutions against Minnesota.”There are a lot of plays out there and I took special attention to that after last week,” Bielema said. “We had 89 snaps for some of our guys and then there’s special teams players in there as well, we just got to make sure we’re not putting too much on our guys physically.”Redshirt freshman Jack Ikegwuonu saw the most action of his career Saturday, while Levonne Rowan also saw a noticeable increase in his playing time. That playing time came mostly at the cost of Bell, who saw his time diminish increasingly as the game went on.”You’ve got to help as much as you can,” Bell said. “I’m not on the field, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to win the game.”With the injuries mounting and the length of the season taking its toll, UW must spend the week again trying to figure out an approach to stop opponents running attacks.”We’ve just got to go in, watch film and see why we’re giving up so many rushing yards. I really don’t know why it’s happening,” linebacker Mark Zalewski said.
A woman sued a USC fraternity chapter and an event-planning company Tuesday, claiming she suffered severe head injuries when a drone that was being used to photograph attendees at the fraternity party fell last fall.The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit lists Pi Kappa Phi and Perfect Event Inc. as the defendants, according to the City News Service. Alina Pituch, the woman suing both parties for negligence and premises liability, is seeking unspecified damages. USC is not a defendant in the lawsuit.Pi Kappa Phi President Kyle Wiest said in an email to the Daily Trojan that the fraternity does not comment on pending litigation.The lawsuit alleges that Pituch arrived at Pi Kappa Phi’s “Glow Party” at around 11 p.m. on Oct. 3, 2015. The event was held in the backyard of Pi Kappa Phi’s house. According to the suit, the fraternity hired Perfect Event Inc. to organize the party and employ the operator of the drone that took pictures of those at the event.Pituch alleges that about 15 to 20 minutes after her arrival, a “heavy object fell on [her] head, causing her to stumble forward into a friend, who caught [her] before she fell down.” After the object struck her, Putich’s head began to bleed “vigorously” and she was taken by ambulance to a hospital, according to her court papers.In her complaint, Pituch alleges that the object was later identified as a drone and caused her to suffer injuries to the back of her head, forehead and left eye. Pituch also claims she felt dizzy and became disoriented due to the force of the blow.The lawsuit claims Pituch suffers from permanent scarring on her head and forehead and that her ability to focus on school work has been “compromised” due to the headaches she has been experiencing after the injury.
McNamara was close to finishing that project when he was murdered — one of five victims in the June 2018 mass shooting at the offices of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md.“I guess for the two months after he died I couldn’t bring myself to go into his den,” Chamblee told Sporting News. “I kept the door closed. I shuddered when I walked past it. He should have been in there working on this book. He was every night when we were home and he wasn’t at a game.“But after about two months I opened the door and tried to remember what it was like when he was there. And the boxes of the files were so conspicuous to see in the middle of the floor — just boxes and boxes of microfiche that he had printed out and telephone numbers he had called. And there was a list of people that he wanted to call back pasted above his desk.“And I decided to take a look to see how far along he had gotten.”McNamara was a staff writer at the Annapolis paper at the time of his death, but his enthusiasm for sports was addressed most nights by wrapping himself in the history of D.C.-area high school basketball. The region long has been extraordinarily rich in basketball talent: Dave Bing, Austin Carr, Adrian Dantley, Victor Oladipo, Danny Ferry, Adrian Branch, Sidney Lowe, Sherman Douglas and Len Bias all were products of its high school teams. There is a listing of all-area teams near the back of “The Capital of Basketball,” starting in the 1920s and carrying forward to 2000, that is loaded with eventual All-Americans, NBA All-Stars and Naismith Hall of Famers.He expressed in the introduction to this book how, already an enormous fan of the NBA and colleges, he came to fall in love with the high school game by attending with his father a matchup of Archbishop Carroll and the private school he had entered, St. John’s. He was “hooked” for life.“In terms of value for your entertainment dollar,” McNamara wrote, “I still believe you can’t beat a good high school basketball game.”McNamara wrote a couple of books about the athletic program at Maryland, his alma mater, one each about football and basketball. Like many writers, he had in his mind a project or two he wanted to address when he found the time. He wanted to write about the history of D.C. high school hoops, but when he learned about the death of legendary coach Bob Dwyer, who had led Archbishop Carroll to 55 consecutive victories in the 1950s, McNamara told his wife he’d missed his chance. She knew better.Chamblee reminded McNamara that Hall-of-Famer Morgan Wootten of DeMatha Catholic and Joe Gallagher of St. John’s were among the elite coaches still around then, with lifetimes of stories to tell. She urged McNamara to contact them and collect their memories and, when the time came, to put it all on paper.“He had been working on it, and I had helped him back up those files, so I knew where they were,” Chamblee said. “He didn’t like me to read his works in progress, but I had put them on a thumb drive and on the cloud and then a few places, so that if we lost one we’d have other backups. I decided to search them out and download them and open them up.“He was so close to finishing. I thought I had to be able to do this for him and finish it.”With help from D.C. area sportswriter David Elfin, who had collaborated with McNamara on “Cole Classics! Maryland Basketball’s Leading Men and Moments,” Chamblee was able to complete the book in time for it to be published as the 2019-20 basketball season commenced.The idea of the book was to cover the 20th century, ending with Wootten’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2000. He’d covered all but the final two years of the 1990s, and Chamblee said Elfin was an enormous help in addressing those seasons and proofreading the entire work. The opening chapter covering 1900-1950 was not yet done, but McNamara had so thoroughly outlined what he had planned, Chamblee said, “Really, all I had to do was turn his outline into complete sentences and write it the way he would want it to be written.”The completed work is a tribute to McNamara’s encyclopedic knowledge of the basketball scene in the D.C. metro area. It is published by Georgetown University Press. Academic houses often prefer the work they produce to have been peer-reviewed before publication. But no one could find a “peer” in this arena; McNamara was the authority.Chamblee is a former newspaper reporter who became an attorney and now works as senior regulatory counsel for the Food and Drug Administration. She was out of work, temporarily, during the government shutdown earlier this year, but that provided her time to finish her husband’s book project.“If the government hadn’t shut down for those six weeks, I don’t think we’d be talking about this book today,” she said. “I couldn’t take on another job — that’s not allowed — so I just worked 12-hour days finishing the book.”Some of what was required was identifying the subjects of photographs; McNamara didn’t always write them down because he’d have known them at a glance. Chamblee got some help from other writers and credited Wootten and Maryland basketball voice Johnny Holliday for being generous with their time in helping to assure accuracy. Hall of Fame coach Gary Williams, who coached at Maryland from 1989-2011, agreed to write the foreword, explaining he got to know McNamara on a professional level, “and then as a friend.” There is a special feeling for an author when the first copy of a book arrives, usually in the mail or by courier service. So many years of labor can go into such a project, and to hold it all in one’s hands is an extraordinary experience. Few, though, have felt anything like what Chamblee did when “The Capital of Basketball” was delivered to her.“I was so conflicted when I held that book in my hand,” Chamblee said. “Of course, these days you email off the files, so even just hitting the send button on the files felt like I was letting it go. Maybe it feels a little like a parent dropping their child off at college.“And when it came back, part of me wanted to keep it like this was my secret between John and I, and I didn’t want to share it. But certainly, I knew I needed to share it. John wanted people to know these stories, so I have to let it go.” For about two months, the last words John McNamara had to share with his readers — words that represented over a decade’s worth of research, conversation, investigation and, above all, passion — sat untouched in his office.In 2007, he began the project that would become “The Capital of Basketball” at the urging of his wife, Andrea Chamblee. She knew was no one was more qualified to write the history of the incredible high school basketball competition that has flourished for over a century in the Washington D.C. metro area.