February 3, 2010

Notes: UW continues finding ways to score

MADISON - Wisconsin lost arguably its most dynamic player in Jon Leuer when he suffered a broken wrist more than three weeks ago. Since that time, the Badgers have done nothing but work its way to a 4-2 record, including Tuesday's win over No. 5 Michigan State.

But UW's most recent win proved yet another thing, that this team could win without the full services of Trevon Hughes who was riddled with foul trouble for most of the first half.

"I thought they ran their swing a lot more than they've been running it," MSU head coach Tom Izzo, who hasn't won inside the Kohl Center since Bo Ryan took over, said. "They've added a dimension into their game and they've run more ball screens now at the end of shot clocks and that.

"Again, I thought that was the best I've seen Wisconsin play."

With Hughes resting on the bench for nearly 17 minutes of the first half, the Badger guard duo of Jordan Taylor and Jason Bohannon combined to score 25 of UW's 38 first half points.

They combined to shoot 50 percent from the floor and 40 percent from downtown in the opening period. Fellow guard Rob Wilson added to the guards' dominance with a 3-for-3 effort in the first 20 minutes for six points as well.

In a game that UW lost earlier this season with Leuer and Hughes in the lineup, the turnaround on the home floor was nothing short of impressive.

"We've talked to you guys that last couple of weeks or whatever," Bohannon said. "You guys were saying how we were kind of struggling a little bit from behind the arc. We were saying there was going to be a game where it happened. Tonight we shot the ball a little better, not great from three, but a lot better than we had been. We got good post touches inside and a lot of points inside the paint.

"That was the big factor in the game."

By the end, UW had double up Michigan State with post points by a 24-12 margin. The Badgers hung in there with the league's leading rebounding squad and didn't allow many second chance points.

At the same time, UW dominated the points off turnovers 17-6. Obviously when you only commit five turnovers during the course of a game, chances are the other team won't win that battle.

Simply put, this Wisconsin team has done the necessary things to win games without the help of one of it's better players in Leuer and occasionally with another one of its better players sidelined due to foul trouble.

Glowing for Gard:

Following the game, ESPN's Erin Andrews interviewed Bo Ryan and the ninth year Badger head coach had nothing but glowing admiration for the scouting report his assistant coach Greg Gard put together in preparation for the meeting with Michigan State.

At the post game presser, he expanded on those comments.

"I've always wanted to say things like that for all the assistants," Ryan said. "I just thought after the way he had the scout team running the Michigan State stuff and thinking about how we've done against Michigan State. Small-minded people make a big thing about other things. Open minded people should think about this and the preparation that goes into playing a team as good as Michigan State, you've got to give credit to the coach who had been doing the scouting report for Michigan State from day one.

"Greg Gard and what he's done with the Michigan State preparation over the years has been outstanding."

Top 10 wins:

With the win over No. 5 Michigan State, the Badgers have now defeated three top 10 teams in the same season for the first time since 1988. Previously, UW defeated then No. 6 Duke at home in December and then No. 4 Purdue in January.

That has only been done four times in school history.

"It's nice to beat teams like that at home that have a lot of talent and are obviously highly touted all the way from one down to nine," Taylor said. "At the same time its just one game. We're going to have to go to Michigan on Saturday and it's a tough team. Michigan State barely won there. We just got to go to the next game and just try to keep getting better.

"You can't dwell on one game and one big win too much."

Bohannon the dunker?

Late in the contest and with the game already decided for the most part, Bohannon was sprung for an easy fast break opportunity. With nobody around him, Bohannon opted to go for the sure lay-up instead of trying something a bit more fancy, such as a dunk.

"I probably could have," Bohannon said. "I was just making the safe play. You guys saw what happened the last time I tried to dunk. I probably didn't want that to happen again."

Kalin Lucas update:

With a month left on the Big Ten schedule, MSU's title hopes may have taken a hit with the apparent ankle injury suffered by Lucas.

With just less than 11 minutes left in Tuesday's game, Lucas rose up for a shot and landed awkwardly on Nankivil's foot. Immediately, the junior guard fell to the ground and stayed there for a number of minutes before being carried off the floor.

Following the game, his coach had the following update.

"He showered and he's limping bad," Izzo said. "The TV guys just told me that he came down on somebody. I didn't see what happened to be honest. It's not a good sprain; it's not broke or at least doesn't seem to be. I think the issue is whether he is a fast healer or not. I can't say I know that because he hasn't really been hurt. It's not good, that's for sure. We just have to evaluate him when we get home.

"I really have no idea."

Team notes:

-UW held the Spartans to just 23 points in the first half of Tuesday's win. That is the second-lowest output for the Spartans in a half this season. In the first meeting, UW limited MSU to only 22 first half points.

-With another five-turnover game, UW has finished with five or fewer turnovers in four of its last six games, all wins.

-Wisconsin's 17 combined assists against MSU was its highest total in Big Ten play this season.

-The Spartans 49-point effort was the lowest scoring output for the Spartans this season. MSU's previous season low was the 54 points scored in its win over UW earlier this season.

-Durrell Summers finished with 11 points making him the only Spartans player to finish in double figures. That's the first time only one player from MSU has finished the game with double-digits this season.

Individual notes:

-Hughes matched his career-high with seven assists even though he only played 24 minutes.

-Bohannon's 19-point showing against MSU was his 50th career double-digit scoring effort.

-Keaton Nankivil's 11 points marked the fourth consecutive time the Badger big man has reached the double-digit scoring mark.


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