November 15, 2009

UW enjoys block party in win over IPFW

MADISON - Jon Leuer scored 19 points during Wisconsin's season opening win over IPFW, but that was far from the most surprising occurrence during the contest.

That award is reserved for senior shooting guard Jason Bohannon and his three blocks, a career high.

"Sometimes a player is going to get caught in an offensive position where he's got to try to get the shot off," UW head coach Bo Ryan said following the game. "Jason just happened to be in the right spot and he played it well. He didn't over-commit.

"I don't think he's going to have three maybe for the rest of the year to be honest with you."

By the end, four other Badger players, Leuer (four), Keaton Nankivil (2), Ryan Evans (1) and Jared Berggren (1), all swatted shots in addition to Bohannon, who also chipped in 12 points.

UW's 11 total blocks in the game are the most under Ryan and the highest block total since redirecting 12 shots at Northwestern in March of 2000.

"Obviously when you look at our team you don't see too much size," IPFW head coach Dane Fife said following the game. "We're really not used to going against those types of players. We've got to be smarter and try to draw the foul and try to beat them off the dribble rather than trying to post them up and shoot over a guy like Leuer or Nankivil or any of those other horses they brought in.

"It droves us nuts all night."

Obviously blocked shots are a byproduct of stingy defense and it was that very ideal that helped the Badgers cruise to the 29-point victory.

After Trevon Hughes finished a drive with a left-handed lay-up to give the Badgers an 18-8 edge, Wisconsin forced three turnovers and held the Mastodons to only 29 percent shooting during its 21-4 run to end the half.

Then, with momentum completely on its side, the Badgers didn't allow an IPFW in the second half until nearly six minutes had ticked off the clock. By the end of the run, UW had outscored IPFW 31-4.

"I thought we handled the screens fairly well," Ryan said. "Good edge, good help, good use of what we call the fly trap and we chased well. Other than the two three's they hit at the very end, I thought we did a pretty good job on the outside shooting.

"They've got guys that can shoot."

Strong defensive performances usually translate to strong offensive output and that was the case Sunday evening. The Badgers utilized their size and was able to connect on 57 percent of the looks they created. At the same time, UW limited IPFW to only 34 percent shooting for the game and an even worse 29.6 percent clip in the first half.

"We just took care of the ball," Leuer said. "We knew if we take care of the ball and every guy that's out there is unselfish and willing to move the ball around, we know we are going to get good shots. As long as we're making hard cuts and doing that offensively, that will take care of itself."

For Wisconsin, it is the second season-opening win that has come at the expense of the Mastodons. UW was simply too big and lengthy for IPFW to compete with and it showed from the start.

"I thanked them at the end because they were trying to fine tune some things that they were working on at the end," Fife said. "The way they were going there, they could have scored 150 points on us. With that said, we were very much short-handed tonight with three new post players.

"Three new interior guys that I thought played hard tonight and at least tried to do what we've been working on. Wisconsin is just a formidable force and they just continue to do great things."

Notes from the game:

-The 46 points scored by IPFW were the fewest by an opponent since the Badgers held Penn State to 44 on Feb. 8, 2009. In addition, IPFW's field-goal percentage (34.0) was the lowest for a UW opponent since Illinois only mustered a 32.8 percent rate last February.

-Leuer had a career high with four blocks and matched his season high from last year with 19 points.

-Tim Jarmusz set a career high with a team-high seven rebounds Sunday evening.

-Junior guard Wquinton Smith recorded a career-high six minutes of action and furthered his contribution with two steals.

-Rob Wilson and Jarmusz each chipped in nine points on a combined 6-of-10 shooting.

-Hughes finished with eight points, but also had three turnovers. Ryan Evans finished with six points, three rebounds and an assists. Jordan Taylor and Nankivil each had five points and freshman center Jared Berggren rounded out the scoring with two points.

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