March 3, 2010

Seniors leave Kohl Center on high note

MADISON - On a night where Wisconsin's two senior guards Jason Bohannon and Trevon Hughes were to be honored, it only made sense for them to give their team a boost out of the gates in UW's home finale against Iowa.

During Jon Leuer's second game back in the starting lineup, UW was happy to see him score 10 of his 18 points during an 18-0 run midway through the first half to establish a 20-point lead the Badgers would never come close to relinquishing.

In the end the combined efforts from the senior guard duo and Leuer were enough to fuel UW's second consecutive dominating performance with a 67-40 win over the Hawkeyes.

"If I were a director, I couldn't write a better script," Hughes, who scored 15 points in his final appearance inside the Kohl Center, said. "Our team came out firing with the two seniors to open up the game. Especially with J-Bo from the very first possession.

"Once he touched it I knew it was going to be a good night."

Bohannon drilled a deep two on Wisconsin's first possession of the game and Hughes scored five of his 15 on UW's next two possessions to open the scoring for the Badgers.

When a Matt Gatens jumper cut UW's 12-8 lead to two, it was Leuer's turn to take over.

Leuer hit two 3-point shots and slammed two vicious dunks during UW's decisive 18-0 run to break open what was a close game. By the time the nearly eight minute drought was over for Iowa, Wisconsin had established a 30-10 lead that ballooned to 36-16 at the break.

"We did a couple of ball screens and Jordan Taylor found me on one and J-Bo found me on the one," Leuer, who hit 8-of-9 shots, said. "I think with the three's I hit, Jordan found me. My teammates were just finding me when I was open. It makes it easy to score when you have guys that are doing that."

Wisconsin, a team that takes care of the ball better than any team in the country, committed only seven turnovers in the win. Defensively, the Badgers forced Iowa into 12 and only allowed the Hawkeyes six assists to compliment their turnovers.

The Badgers, on the other hand, dished 16 assists including four each from Hughes, Leuer and Taylor. Wisconsin also out performed Iowa on the glass by a 33-20 margin.

"It's obvious how good Wisconsin is," Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter, who has never beaten UW in the Kohl Center, said. "They've been ranked most of the year and they're just an excellent team. They're very well schooled. We haven't been at a level to come into a place like this and concentrate on the task at hand and be successful."

Though the Badgers played well as a team, Wednesday night was really more of a celebration regarding two players that have scored more than any other guard combo in UW history and have a chance to leave the program as the winningest senior class in school history.

With just over two minutes remaining in the game, head coach Bo Ryan substituted both Hughes and Bohannon. As they were walking off the court, the announced crowd of 17,230 fans showered the seniors with a rousing ovation.

"You just have to suck it up sometimes or sometimes let it go," Hughes replied when asked how he kept his emotions in check both during the game and during the final substitution. "There is nothing wrong with shedding a tear here or there.

"But the emotion did play a role in tonight's game."

Bohannon finished with 11 points, his 21st double-digit scoring effort of the season, on 5-of-8 shooting. The senior also ripped down a career high nine rebounds to help fuel the Badger rout.

Keaton Nankivil finished with six points, Taylor had five, Rob Wilson scored four and Brett Valentyn, Mike Bruesewitz and Tim Jarmusz each had two points.

The Badgers return to action Sunday afternoon at Illinois.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!