December 5, 2009

Badgers cruise in win over Grambling State

MADISON - Trevon Hughes dove into press row with his team up nearly 30 points late in the second half. Even with the game already in hand, that grit and determination echoed the type of game it was for Wisconsin in its 79-46 rout of Grambling State.

"Do you want to know the best part about that game?," Ryan asked following the game. "We had to guard every possession (with) quicker guys in some spots. The key about that game, if you look at all the stats, it wasn't a rag tag game."

With a monumental win against Duke earlier in the week, the Badgers could have come out overconfident and somewhat sloppy against a Grambling State team that had endured plenty of off-the-court issues.

Instead, the Badgers simply pummeled the Tigers, particularly blowing it open with a quick 8-0 run to start the second half led by five Hughes points.

"It was like the first three minutes, the first four minutes (of the second half); we didn't come out to compete," Grambling State head coach Bobby Washington said. "I had to lay into my team; because that's one thing we're going to do. We're going to compete."

By the end of the game, UW had compiled a 1.2 point-per-possession average in comparison to GSU's .75 and forced the Tigers into committing 11 turnovers while only hitting 29.1 percent of their shots.

"We always coach the game of basketball and not the opposition or try to do anybody else's job or make comments about other teams or who else we're going to play," Ryan said. "For us, are we respecting the game of basketball and playing it the way it's supposed to be played.

"I would say 80 percent of the time today we did that."

Perhaps the 20 percent Ryan was displeased with were the 10 turnovers his team committed, including four from Hughes who also was the game's leading scorer with 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting.

"I turned the ball over a little bit today," Hughes said following the win. "I was probably a little nonchalant with it. I rebounded and we needed that. Our big guys were doing a good job on their big guys blocking out."

Grambling State, a team that played four guards for the majority of the game, were hounded inside by both the Badger guards and frontcourt players as evidenced by a 34-16 disparity in points in the paint.

Four Badger players scored in double figures by the end of the contest. Other than Hughes, Jon Leuer, Jason Bohannon and Jordan Taylor all finished with 11 points with a combined 66 percent shooting tally from the floor.

"I think we were a little bit bigger than them at the guard spot," Taylor who also had seven rebounds, five assists, one steal and zero turnovers said. "I think we could match their quickness so we just utilized our size and strength. Also, coach saw some voids in the lane in their defense and he made some adjustments in the huddle at timeouts and made it easier for us to get into the paint.

Wisconsin finished the game shooting 60 percent from the floor as a team, doubling the effort of GSU who only connected on 21.4 percent of its shots in the final 20 minutes.

"Just the fact that they're much better than we are," Washington said. "It's definitely obvious. They're just a good team and much more superior talent. One of our biggest things is making sure we played hard and competed.

"I think we didn't compete for those first three or four minutes of the second half."

Wisconsin surely did and by doing so, the Badgers put to rest any lingering after effects from one of the biggest wins in Kohl Center history.

"No matter who comes in or wherever we go, every team is capable of beating anyone," Bohannon said following the game. "They came in and played offense and they played a lot of defense and worked the shot clock for 30-plus seconds in each and every possession.

"When we are on defense for that long, we pick up a lot of different things and that helps us quite a bit."

Quotes from the post-game presser:

-Bo Ryan on the way his guards rebounded the ball. By the end, Hughes, Bohannon and Taylor had a combined 19 rebounds out of UW's 37.

"Well, when you shoot 29 percent, there are a lot of balls coming off the rim to where guards could get them. Our guys understand that everybody stays to rebound on the defensive end. We're not looking to leave anybody. Our guards stay in to rebound. That doesn't surprised me with the number of rebounds available in that game because maybe they weren't shooting it that well."

-Bobby Washington on UW:

"Wisconsin, what can you say? It is what it is. Coach Ryan does a great job. He's always done a great job and he'll continue to do a great job. They're big, they're strong, they're talented and they continue to run their system. He's going to be right where he needs to be in the Big Ten to be in contention to win it. I think that's something that you can definitely see."

-Hughes on the guards' ability to produce scoring opportunities:

"It's important to have confidence and everybody believing in one another and we're getting the open look this year. This year our shots are actually going down for us. We take repetitions and take a lot of shots in practice and we know each other's movements. I think this year we have a better team bond than we did last year."

-Bohannon on hitting three 3-pointers today:

"It feels good. You just have to have confidence in your shot. The shots were there against Duke and the shots were there again today and they happened to fall today. If my shots aren't falling, I'm trying to contribute in some other way and that's how any other person on the team is."

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