Badgers exterminate pesky Gophers

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoIt was business as usual Saturday for the Badgers, as a balanced attack and free-throw shooting once again propelled the team to a victory.Five players scored in double figures and UW made more free throws than its opponent as the University of Wisconsin men?s basketball team earned a 65-56 win at the Kohl Center.Though UW led by only one at the break, a strong second half spurred the Badgers (21-4, 11-2 Big Ten) to their second victory over the Gophers (15-9, 5-7) this season.?We stuck to what we were doing, we just had better results,? Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said.?You just have to keep grinding, and that?s what kind of game this was.?Minnesota took a five-point lead early in the second half, but on the strength of a late 21-7 run, Wisconsin was able to put away the visitors.?I think the key all season has been, the main thing is just to stay calm,? senior Brian Butch said. ?We believe in each other, we believe what we can do. ? We knew that people are going to make plays, and we just stay really calm and execute.?For UW, making plays meant getting to the free-throw line. Wisconsin shot 25-33 from the stripe with 17 of its makes coming in the second half. Minnesota, despite taking the game?s first 10 free throws, took only 20 for the game and just seven after halftime.?I guess we were fouling them every time because the whistle was blowing every time down the court,? Gophers head coach Tubby Smith said.For the Badgers, reactions like the one from Smith are typical when the team gets so many calls in its favor.?I think they get frustrated a little bit,? Butch said. ?I think a lot of it?s just coming from what we do and how we play.?It was a diverse group getting their points at the line for the Badgers, and that was a big reason five of them scored in double figures, led by Marcus Landry with 12 points.?We?ve got five players on the floor that can make a play,? Butch said. ?That?s a pretty unique thing to have.?Butch, Jason Bohannon, Trevon Hughes and Michael Flowers all scored 11 points apiece in the win.?Some guys getting in foul trouble, other guys picking them up, everybody contributing in one way or another,?Ryan said of what led to the balance in scoring. ?It?s kind of fun when you have a group of guys like that, fun to coach.?Bohannon ? whose effort was his third-straight double-digit scoring performance ? had hurt his ankle in practice Friday and his status heading into the game had been unsure.?I wanted to get in and play obviously,? Bohannon said. ?I wanted to come in and provide whatever I could for this team.?Though his first two 3-point attempts came up short, the sophomore eventually found his points at the line, where he made six free throws in addition to grabbing four rebounds, proving just how tough he could be.?It?s just kind of letting everything come to me,? Bohannon said. ?If there?s an opening there, I?ll take it.?Wisconsin didn?t come out playing its best basketball, and only a 3-pointer with the clock winding down from Butch kept the Badgers from trailing in a half when they shot just 36.4 percent from the field.?We were not happy with the way we played in the first half,? Butch said. ?We were concerned about that. ? We realized we let some things get away and didn?t do some things we should have done.?Limiting UW in the first half was the lack of playing time from Flowers and Landry. Each picked up their second foul early in the half, and the two combined for just 20 minutes in before halftime. Greg Stiemsma and Jon Leuer saw additional minutes in the first half in place of Flowers and Landry, but the two combined for just three points.In the teams? first meeting, the Badgers notched a relatively easy 63-47 victory, but the Gophers offered a challenge this time around.?It?s a Big Ten conference game. It?s a typical one,? Butch said ?You just keep on fighting. ? You just try to do all the little things and hopefully at the end you come out on the right side.?With the win, Wisconsin sits in second place in the Big Ten, but with two losses to current leader Purdue, it will require some help for the team to take over the top spot.last_img

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