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Byrd scores 22, Purdue upends No. 17 WisconsinSubmitted: 03/03/2013
Story By Associated Press

MADISON, WI - Purdue came to the Kohl Center and beat No. 17 Wisconsin at its own game.

D.J. Byrd scored nine of his 22 points during a decisive second-half run as the Boilermakers upset the Badgers 69-56 to all but eliminate Wisconsin from contention in the tightly contested Big Ten race.

Terone Johnson added 16 points for Purdue (14-15, 7-9 Big Ten), half of which came in the 21-3 surge that carried the visitors to their first win in Madison since January 2009.

And the Boilermakers did it the way the Badgers have won many games: Tough defense, rebounding and hustling for loose balls.

``I think the numbers show that they did a better job on some of those hustle plays,'' Wisconsin's Jared Berggren said. ``That's something we normally take pride in controlling and getting more than our fair share of rebounds, loose balls, things like that. We didn't do a good job coming away with those and that cost us.''

Purdue, which had lost three straight road games and four of five overall, outrebounded Wisconsin 39-27 _ including a 12-6 advantage on the offensive glass _ and limited the Badgers to 29.6 percent shooting (8-for-27) after halftime.

Wisconsin (20-9, 11-5) missed its final 18 3-pointers, including all 12 of its attempts in the second half. Berggren scored 13 points and Ryan Evans and Sam Dekker had 10 apiece for the Badgers, who had won six of their previous seven.

``I thought our guys did a good job taking them out of rhythm, and when they had a couple that were open, I thought they rushed them a little bit,'' Boilermakers coach Matt Painter said. ``Sometimes that happens when you fight to get an open one.''

Meanwhile, Wisconsin couldn't handle the combination of Johnson slicing through the lane and Byrd connecting from beyond the arc.

``We kept getting shots in the paint, and that opened things up for D.J. on the outside,'' said Johnson, who scored 10 points in the second half. ``It was a snowball effect. Guys started making shots, guys started rebounding harder.''

Byrd hit three 3-pointers and Johnson added four baskets in the big run for Purdue. Wisconsin, meanwhile, missed five of six shots from the field and committed four turnovers in the 7:31 stretch as it fell behind 54-45.

``I thought we really did a good job rebounding, offensively and defensively,'' said Byrd, who hit six of nine 3-pointers and matched his season high for points. ``It gave us extra opportunities to knock down shots and extra opportunities just to have the ball in our hands.''

The Badgers, who won their previous three games by at least 20 points, opened up a 13-point lead in the first half and led by nine early in the second half.

``We had them down, and we just didn't step on their throats like we needed to,'' Wisconsin's Mike Bruesewitz said.

Sandi Marcius complemented Byrd and Johnson, scoring eight of his 10 points in the second half to reach double figures for just the second time this season.

``We kept battling back,'' Painter said. ``For this team, it's only happened one time all year. It's a real tribute to our guys just staying with it this time of year.''

Wisconsin is still mathematically alive in the Big Ten chase, but it seems highly unlikely the Badgers will claim their first title since 2007-08. They'll need to win their final two games, Thursday at No. 9 Michigan State and next Sunday at Penn State, and get a lot of help to claim a share of the championship.

It also was the first time in Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan's 12-year tenure that the Badgers lost on Senior Day.

Evans, one of five seniors honored before and after the game, started and extended his streak to 132 consecutive games played despite suffering a right knee sprain in practice Thursday.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

FITCHBURG - Investigators will try to figure out why a house exploded in southern Wisconsin.

The blast critically injured a man and caused damage to at least two dozen other homes in the neighborhood.

The 57-year-old man has significant injuries as a result of the explosion just before 7:00 p.m. Thursday night in Fitchburg.

Fire fighters say three nearby houses have major structural damage and 23 others have moderate to minor damage.

Debris from the explosion landed about a-half mile from the scene.

While the cause has not yet been determined, witnesses say there was a strong smell of gas.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and state investigators are assisting Fitchburg police.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Within a few hours, a jury found a Fox Valley man guilty of stealing things from the house where Ashlee Martinson killed Thomas and Jennifer Ayers Thursday.

The two-day trial for Mark Spietz, 39, of Kaukauna, finished up Thursday afternoon, following a morning of the defense arguing it was all part of Spietz's job.

Spietz was a contract worker for a company called TruAssets, which secures abandoned or foreclosed homes throughout the country. The company is based in Arizona.

On Thursday, Spietz testified that in September and October, he took ATVs, bows, a John Deere tractor, a trailer and Jennifer Ayers' purse from the house to try and secure it for his employer.

"My experience with the work order is that it is our job to make sure the property is secured," Spietz said. "Obviously if I can open the doors and get into it, anybody can open the doors and get into it. So I ended up removing the ATVs with the trailer and them bringing them back to Kaukauna to lock up in my storage facility where they would be under lock and key for the future for whatever the bank decided they wanted to do with their property."

In the criminal complaint, however, Spietz told investigators he took the purse because he thought his wife would like it.

But the state argued Thursday he technically didn't have permission from the company to be at the house after the first visit. Oneida County District Attorney Mike Schiek presented Spietz with the original work order form TruAssets assigned him. The document specifically stated not to remove any personal property from the house, and that contract workers should submit a bid for the property if they do take it from the house.

Schiek then argued Spietz specifically targeted the empty house because he knew its owners were dead.

"Looking back, what did you think you saw?" Schiek asked Spietz during his cross examination.

"Couple spots on the floor, large, dark spots," Spietz responded.

"Knowing what you know now, do you know what that was?" Schiek asked.

"To the best of my knowledge that's where they were killed," Spietz replied.

Spietz's attorney Brian Bennett said since Spietz is not from the area, he wouldn't have known the homicides happened at the house. He argued there was no sign saying no trespassing, nor had he had any knowledge the house was in probate.

"He used his best judgment based on his experience," Bennett said during his closing argument. "Which makes him quite possibly, if he's a burglar, the worst burglar in the world."

Bennett added Spietz gets little supervision from TruAssets, as Spietz testified he has never met a person from the company.

"It seems like a burden to have to come up here, pick up the stuff, store it, mess around with it, hold onto the titles, make sure it doesn't get stolen," Bennett said during his closing argument. "That's not a jackpot, that's a burden." 

Spietz will be sentenced in October. 

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EAGLE RIVER - An old jail doesn't exactly make for great office space.  But some Vilas County departments have used those parts of the courthouse as offices for decades.  That makes construction that started this week a welcome distraction.

Work to tear down the Social Services wing of the courthouse started Wednesday.  Crews will build a two-story expansion on the east side of the courthouse.

That will allow Social Services, Veterans Services, the Commission on Aging, Tourism and Publicity, and other departments to move into the same building.  The expansion will also include new break rooms and conference rooms.

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MADISON - Five candidates for president other than Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have met qualifications to be on the ballot in Wisconsin.

The state Elections Commission is slated to approve the ballot on Tuesday.

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MADISON - Donald Trump's Wisconsin director is calling on Democratic Senate candidate Russ Feingold to say whether Hillary Clinton's actions as secretary of state were ethical.

Trump's state director Pete Meachum issued a statement Thursday injecting himself into Feingold's Senate race against Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.

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VILAS COUNTY - Soon snow will be falling. In fact, preparation for snowmobile season starts as soon as next month.
Cross Country Cruisers Snowmobile Club President David Assmann and his crew are just about ready to hit the trails, starting in September.

"We cut all the brush and everything that's low to the ground," said Assmann.

His crew spends a lot of volunteered time making sure 93 miles of trails near Arbor Vitae are ready and safe to use in the winter.

"We have at least five guys going out, sometimes twice a day. We do trails in the morning and then trails late at night," said Assmann.

Many people who live here use the Northwoods trails, but so do a lot of tourists during the winter months.
"We are able to go out, get these trails groomed so that the tourists that come up can go on our trails, can get to the different businesses in the area, and that helps the economy up here," said Assmann.

With so many miles of trails in Vilas County, one of the best parts is that there is equipment made to maintain those trails, right in St. Germain.

Arrowhead Groomers has been in Vilas County since 1976. The company builds equipment that levels out the trails.

"We manufacture the snow groomer drags primarily for snowmobile trails. Some of them end up getting used on cross country ski trails as well," said Walker Equipment owner Dave Walker.

Another local snowmobile club, Bo-Boen, uses the Arrowhead Groomers on their trails as well.

"I have 17 drivers on my staff that maintain 100 miles of trails here in St. Germain. We're very cognizant of the fact that we have to do a good job to bring those people here so they can spend their money and keep our economy going," said the trail boss for Bo-Boen snowmobile club Jim Wendt.

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RHINELANDER - New ownership will be taking over a major employer in Rhinelander and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Oldenburg Group announced today its Heavy Equipment Group has been sold.

That includes its Defense and Mining business units.

J.F. Lehman and Company will take over control of the operations.

The company was founded in 1992 by former Navy Secretary John Lehman.

The former Oldenburg operations will be renamed Lake Shore Systems, Inc.

The existing management team and employees will stay in place, and all plants will operate as normal.

The deal includes the plant in Rhinelander and several facilities in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Wayne Oldenbug said one of his conditions was that there would be no deal unless there was an agreement to hire everybody...and not close any facilities.


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