March 2, 2009

Good, bad and ugly from Michigan win

MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin men's basketball team let leads of nine slip away on three different occasions during the coarse of its win over Michigan Sunday afternoon. During the six-game losing streak, it was exactly this characteristic that led to losses. But against the Wolverines, that was not the case.

Before the Badgers head north for a tilt with the Minnesota Gophers later this week, takes a look back at the good, bad and ugly of Sunday's win over Michigan.

The good

Defensive intensity in second half:

Before Michigan's Laval Lucas-Perry hit a three-point shot following a Stu Douglass steal, the Wolverines had only mustered two points through the first 10 minutes of the second half.

During that span, the Badgers utilized an 11-2 run to take control of the game. While Michigan did recover and make a run at UW down the stretch, it was the Badger defense that sealed the win.

Clinging to a two-point lead with just less than three minutes to play, the Badgers suffocated Michigan and did not allow them to get off a shot worthy of resetting the shot clock.

"That was a huge possession defensively for us," UW senior [db]Joe Krabbenhoft said following the win. "They were coming down and being patient. They didn't want to rush anything, they knew they were down two. With a bucket anything could happen. When it got down there towards the end, our guards did a great job of switching off and keeping a hand in the face.

"When it got to the shooter, Marcus Landry was on him and just got big. The guy had to think about it. You can't just shoot it over a guy with stretched out arms. It was just a team effort. All five guys that were out there did a tremendous job."

In the first half, the Wolverines hit 56.5 percent of their shots, but in the second half, that number dropped to 30.8 percent. The Badger perimeter defense also held Michigan to only one shot from distance in the second half after it had nailed five in the first 20 minutes.

"Wisconsin's defense was terrific to start," Michigan head coach John Beilein said after the game. "We missed some shots, but we only scored two points in the first eight minutes of the second half and they scored only 13. We were doing what we needed to do defensively, but offensively we couldn't buy a basket and their defense is great.

"It's too bad we didn't get off to a better start, but Wisconsin is synonymous with great defense."

UW passing:

On the game, the Badgers finished with 13 assists in comparison to 11 turnovers. While that is not a spectacular ration, the good still outnumbered the bad. Particularly efficient for the cardinal and white was Landry. The senior, not necessarily regarded for his passing abilities, dished five assists without turning the ball over.

"He moved the ball well and made some good decisions," UW head coach Bo Ryan said following the win. "Especially the wrap-around to Trevon Hughes for the three."

On that play, Landry caught the ball on the low block and made a move towards the baseline. However, as he was turning around he ran into a Michigan double-team but was still able to find Hughes on the perimeter and got the bounce pass to him for the open look.

"I think that was the second time I realized that they were double-teaming me," Landry said. "I tried to make a quick move baseline before help actually got there, but he was right there. I actually saw him (Hughes) out of the corner of my eye. I just tossed the ball over that way. I'm glad he was on today so I can get my assist.

"But, it's all about reading the defense. If they're going to double team me, I'm going to find the open man. I'm not a selfish player so I'm going to pass the ball."

The bad

Free throw shooting down the stretch:

Sure the Badgers were able to log at least one point per possession during their trips to the line down the stretch, but at the same time, the misses in the bonus situation kept Michigan right in the game.

During the final 90 seconds, Hughes, Krabbenhoft and Tim Jarmusz combined on only 4-of-8 shots from the line before Jason Bohannon drilled two with five seconds left. On the game, UW shot only 66.7 percent from the line.

"It was four trips meaning eight free throws and we got one-point per possession," Ryan said. "There's worse things. Of course you need to knock them down. You need to shoot 75-80 percent, but if they don't what am I going to say now. I can't put them in now.

"You need to get at least a point on that possession to at least continue to force the other team to have to get two scores rather than one."

The ugly

Michigan's run at the end of the first half:

Wisconsin jumped out to an early 8-0 lead just over two minutes into the game and dominate most of the first half. However, after leading 24-15 with less than nine minutes left in the opening frame, Michigan outscored UW 19-7 to take a 34-32 lead at the break.

"(We were) a little slower on some close outs, but we tried to take some stuff inside," Ryan said in regards to the run. "They made some good skip passes or kick outs after penetration and catch and shoot and they knocked it down. That's what they can do and they are streaky doing it."

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