March 4, 2010

Notes: Hughes, Bohannon finish home career right

MADISON - Prior to Wednesday evening, the last time Trevon Hughes' mother saw the Wisconsin senior guard play in person things didn't go very well.

"The last time she was here was in high school during the state game," Hughes said. "We didn't win that game. It was a good thing we ended up on the left hand side. I did okay. I've got to crawl before I walk."

During his senior night farewell, Hughes scored 15 points on 5-of-14 shooting, dished four assists, swiped three steals, blocked two shots and collected four rebounds.

Hughes, who admittedly claimed he was nervous to play in front of his mother after the game, gave her a pretty hearty showcase of what he's capable of doing in UW's 67-40 beat down of Iowa.

With that type of excitement raining down on a player, albeit a senior or not, it gets difficult to push aside the effect emotions can play in a given game.

"That's the kind of energy we've got to come out and play with every game," Hughes said. "Every game has got to have that same emotion, just not too emotional."

At one point, during the final stages of Wednesday's game though, it would have been easy for both Hughes and fellow senior Jason Bohannon to become emotional. With just over two minutes to play in a game that had all but been completed, UW head coach Bo Ryan substituted both senior guards at the same time.

The duo, one of UW's best guard tandems, received a great ovation from the crowd. While the fervor from the Kohl Center faithful was tantamount and celebratory, it also signaled the beginning of the end for a couple of players that have had great careers in cardinal and white.

"I've enjoyed it a lot," Hughes said. "All of our teammates look forward to us playing each and every night. Just to have both of us out there playing through all four years, I've never had that my whole life. Coming from a military school, everybody leaves every one or two years. We created a bond where we knew each other on the floor and we knew each other's games. It's helped us out.

"Our teammates have fed off of that and we've kept it going throughout the season."

Good to have Leuer back:

For the second straight game with Leuer back in the starting lineup, the Wisconsin offense has functioned at a very high level. On Wednesday, UW scored 30 points in the paint, only shot 12 3-pointers and out performed the Hawkeyes by a wide margin (33-20) on the glass.

The Badgers also collectively swatted six Iowa shots and held the Hawkeyes to 37 percent shooting from the field and a ghastly 40-point scoring effort.

It is safe to say that with Leuer back in the fold, the UW offense is beginning to hit its stride. And what better timing to do so than with postseason play right around the corner.

"I think each game he's looked a little more comfortable in recognizing game speed and reactions and things like that," Ryan said. "Some people would say, 'Well, you didn't play a big team or you didn't do this or you didn't do that.' I know that's all part of it. We knew he would struggle a little bit early getting back on the court, but the game goes on.

"You can't halt the game at Minnesota and say wait a minute, give us another day or two before we play this or anything else. You just got to go with his abilities to the point where if he's comfortable or in a rhythm, he can be a pretty good player."

Since that dreadful showing at Minnesota in his first game back, a contest where Leuer finished with four points on 2-of-12 shooting, Leuer has been phenomenal.

In each of the past three games, Leuer is shooting better than 60 percent from the floor en route to averaging 14 points, better than five rebounds, over three blocks and two assists per game.

He adds another dimension to UW's offense and defense as his length creates trouble for opposing players on each side of the ball.

"I think with every game after you've been out for a while, you get more confidence with more experience," Leuer said. "Obviously that Minnesota game I didn't play how I wanted to. I think that was just the first game and working the rust off. Now it's just playing with the guys and it just feels more fluid. I feel like I'm in a rhythm right now with these guys and it feels like our whole offense is in a rhythm.

"It makes it easy to play when you have teammates that are unselfish and looking for you. That just makes it fun."

Team notes:

-With the win over Iowa, UW clinched at least fourth place in the Big Ten standings. Under Bo Ryan, the Badgers have never failed to finish that high.

-UW held Iowa to just 16 points in the first half. That is the lowest scoring half for a UW opponent since Florida A&M scored 14 in the first half of a game on Nov. 16, 2007.

-When UW went on an 18-0 run over a seven minute and 39 second span, it held Iowa scoreless longer than any other team it has played this season. The previous season long opponent drought came from IPFW who had a seven minute and 27 second drought.

Individual notes:

-Bohannon finished his final game in the Kohl Center with a career-high nine-rebound effort. That mark beat his previous career high of eight boards vs. Gonzaga earlier this season.

-With 11 points, Bohannon had his eight straight games with 10 or more points. It was the 21st time he has done that this year in 29 games.

-Hughes finished with double-digit scoring for the seventh straight game and the 24th time this season.

Up next:

Following an off day Thursday, Wisconsin will return to practice Friday afternoon before taking its show on the road for the Big Ten finale at Illinois. That game, originally set for an 11 a.m. (cst) start, has been moved back to 1 p.m. (cst) and can be seen live on ESPN.

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