December 9, 2008

UW pulls out ugly two-point win

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin men's basketball senior forward Marcus Landry rated his team's performance in Tuesday night's win a zero out of 10. Even with that bold statement, the Badgers held on to beat a relentless Idaho State squad bent on upsetting UW on its home floor 60-58.

"I mean we stuck it out, we ended up on the left hand side, but we got to get a lot better," Landry, who finished with 14 points on 7-for-13 shooting, said. "We got to focus on the things that we can get better at. I'm not satisfied with our performance. I don't think our team is as a whole."

UW once again jumped out to an early 10-point lead after Jason Bohannon, who finished with a game high 18 points, hit two open threes in the opening two minutes. At that point UW looked to be in position to break the will of the Bengals right out of the chute as it had built a 12-2 lead.

Instead, it limped its way to a poor 37.7 percent shooting night and allowed Idaho State to stay in the game up until the very end before the Bengals last-ditch effort came up short.

"There's a lot of swings in a game, you know, five-to-ten points," UW head coach Bo Ryan said following the win. "If we make our free-throws, we're not talking about a close game, we maintain that cushion. But we didn't so that ends up being the margin. But you want to put yourself in the position to be able to handle people hitting close shots at the end."

With UW up by four points after two made Jason Bohannon free throws, Idaho State's Matt Stucki hit a three-pointer with 2.9 seconds left to cut UW's lead to one. With no timeouts left, Joe Krabbenhoft in bounded to Trevon Hughes who was immediately fouled.

However, in a trend opposite of what Badger fans had seen to this point in 2008, Hughes, who was held scoreless until for three-fourths of the game, made only one-of-two attempts and was whistled for a lane violation.

With 2.1 seconds remaining, the Bengals threw the hail Mary pass down court, but came up well short of the miracle come from behind win as a clean shot was unable to be released.

"We've talked about when there's two seconds left or three seconds left and we're probably going to have to throw the long pas and we put it in Devidias Busma's hands, but I think it was tipped a couple of times," Idaho State head coach Joe O' Brien said. "It wasn't a very well executed play, but we could've caught it clean and maybe have gotten a shot."

But really, the game was determined on the offensive glass. The Badgers, led by sophomore Jon Leuer's five offensive boards and 11 points off the bench, out rebounded the Bengals 15-5 in the category and 33-26 overall.

"That was huge," Krabbenhoft, who chipped in seven points, nine rebounds and three assists said. "I thought we did a great job. Marcus really set the tone and then Jon came out and got some nice offensive rebounds in the first half. Against the zone, that's what you have to do."

That same zone forced UW into settling for perimeter shots more than they would normally like. On the night, the Badgers went 5-for-22 from distance, a miserable 22.7 percent display. Not including Bohannon's four long range bombs, the only other three UW was able to connect on was a banked in shot from Hughes, his first bucket of the night.

"Pop hits a banked three, good thing he hit that," Ryan said. "But we just needed to touch the post and we did and that's when we made some good things happen because we got some stuff going to rim. We should have finished on more of those."

For Idaho State, chalk this one up as another heartbreaking loss. In its six losses, three have come in overtime and one (tonight's) came by two points. Junior Demetrius Monroe's 14-point led his team.

"Overall I'm pretty pleased with our kids; to come in to this Big Ten atmosphere and play a great coach's team on their floor and to put ourselves in this position where we had a chance," O' Brien said. "But these close losses are getting old."

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