March 3, 2010

Senior day revisisted

MADISON - Over the past half decade, Wisconsin has seen senior day end on a high note. Whether it was a late bucket that put the team over the edge or a blowout win to secure a Big Ten championship, it's all happened recently for the Badgers.

With the final home game set to take place for Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon tonight, takes a look back at the past five senior day games where the Badgers have a perfect record.

The 2004-2005 Season:

The opponent and outcome: UW beat Purdue 64-52
Outgoing seniors: Andreas Helmigk, Mike Wilkinson, Zach Morley, Sharif Chambliss and Clayton Hanson
Season result: 88-82 loss to North Carolina in regional final.

The game: With Gene Keady's farewell tour winding down, Wisconsin jumped all over the Boilermakers with a 40-19 first half run that eventually resulted in a 64-52 win. Mike Wilkinson finished tied with Alando Tucker with 14 points in the game. Morley, Hanson and Chambliss only combined for 13 points, but it wasn't needed as the Badgers coasted to an easy victory.

The 2005-2006 Season:

The opponent and outcome: 80-74 win over Minnesota
Outgoing senior: Ray Nixon
Season result: 94-75 loss to Arizona in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

The game: In a game where Alando Tucker dropped 22 points after suffering a sprained ankle in the week leading into the game, the Badgers were able to outlast a feisty Minnesota squad that kept hanging around with the Badgers.

True freshmen Kevin Gullkson and Joe Krabbenhoft scored 12 and 10 points respectively to aid in Tuckers dominance and the Badgers entered the final week of the season with a chance at claiming a share of the Big Ten title. Ray Nixon, the lone senior, scored seven points in 29 minutes of action.

The 2006-2007 Season:

The opponent and outcome: 52-50 win over Michigan State
Outgoing seniors: Alando Tucker, Kammron Taylor and Jason Chappell
Season result: 74-68 loss to UNLV in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The game: Wisconsin had earned its way to the top of the national polls for the first time ever with a stellar and consistent performance throughout the regular season. But when it went to Michigan State the week before senior day, the Spartans upset the Badgers. The loss set up a critical meeting with No. 1 Ohio State for the conference championship. Unfortunately, UW lost to the Buckeyes and lost out on the Big Ten title.

However, even after that loss, and even after playing MSU two games before, UW played the Spartans for the second time in three games on senior day. And in one of the more exciting games of the season, Kammron Taylor hit a 3-pointer to give UW a two-point lead with just four seconds to play.

After Drew Neitzel's shot rimmed out at the buzzer, the Kohl Center erupted into pandemonium and the three instrumental seniors were sent out in style.

The 2007-2008 Season:

The opponent and outcome: 77-41 win over Penn State
Outgoing seniors: Brian Butch, Michael Flowers, Greg Stiemsma and Tanner Bronson
Season result: 73-56 loss to Davidson in the Sweet 16

The game: With a win, the Badgers would clinch at least a share of the Big Ten title. So, needless to say, when the final buzzer sounded after the Badgers whipped the Nittany Lions the student section rushed the Kohl Center floor in wild celebratory fashion.

Landry, Butch and Stiemsma reached double-digit scoring in the win and Bohannon, Krabbenhoft and Hughes combined for 25 points in the blowout win. Flowers, though he only scored five points, dished nine assists and collected eight rebounds in the win.

The 2008-2009 Season:

The opponent and outcome: 85-61 win over Indiana
Outgoing seniors: Marcus Landry, Joe Krabbenhoft, Morris Cain and Kevin Gullikson
Season result: 60-49 loss to Xavier in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The game: After a disappointing six-game losing streak haunted the Badgers early in league play, the Badgers spent the final month of the regular season fighting to position itself for a tournament bid in March. UW's win over Indiana capped a 7-2 stretch for the Badgers following the six-game skid.

In the game against the Hoosiers, Krabbenhoft scored a career high 19 points and Bohannon chipped in 15 of his own as the Badgers opened a 17-point halftime lead before expanding it in the final frame.

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