December 13, 2009

Good, Bad and Ugly from Marquette win

MADISON - One day after all the dust settles from a hard fought nine-point Wisconsin win over in-state rival Marquette, BadgerBlitz.com takes a good look inside the good, bad and ugly of Saturday's slugfest.

The good:

1.) Anytime a team wins a game in college basketball there is probably plenty of good that can be discussed in regards to the game. Saturday was no different.

I'll start with Jon Leuer. From the moment he drilled his first shot, a three pointer from the top of the key, you got the sense he was feeling it. Then his next shot, and two more after that, tickled the twine and his aura was easily apparent. He has a sleek confidence about him that is tough to shake. He believes he can score on any possession, but doesn't seem to force anything.

His early start was the driving force in UW's 31-14 run to start the game. Even though Marquette would eventually tighten the game back up, it was the foundation Leuer started, as well as his effectiveness while rebounding that allowed UW to hang on.

"Jon works to get open," Bo Ryan said following the game. "If you get open you should get the ball. I don't want to be simplistic here, but he worked to get open in the post, he cut hard, he's stronger this year and he's getting positioned a little better. He gets rewarded because his teammates know he can do something with it when he gets it.

"But you've still got to make the shots, and he's been doing that."

In two games this week, Leuer has scored 50 points, ripped down 22 boards all while shooting 65 percent from the field. He has been nothing short of impressive.

2.) Ryan Evans played 17 minutes in Saturday's win over the Golden Eagles and yet again made his presence felt. Though he only connected on 2-of-6 shots and committed two turnovers, including a miscommunication with Jason Bohannon where the ball was thrown directly out of bounds, Evans still hauled in a couple of rebounds, a couple of steals and scored four points.

He may have also had the biggest play of the game. With his team clinging to a three-point lead, Hughes ripped down an offensive rebound off Jordan Taylor's missed jumper, fought through traffic and finished with a reverse lay-in. The bucket game UW a five-point lead, and a margin that Marquette could not overcome.

He also caught the eye of his head coach.

"In case I don't get asked, I want to make sure I said it," Ryan said. "After he had a little hiccup there and he got back into the game defensively and off the glass, I appreciate you asking about Jordan and Jon, but Ryan Evans was a big factor in those last five minutes.

"A huge factor."

The bad:

Over the past three games, Trevon Hughes has been nothing shy of spectacular. He has been scoring, dishing and rebounding in ways most guards only dream of doing. Against Green Bay, he went on a personal 15-point scoring spurt. Afterwards he was both visually and audibly frustrated. On Saturday, he didn't reach 20 points but he did chip in 13 points. The only downfall of that game, and as I'm sure he'd tell you, was his shooting percentage against Marquette.

In the game, Hughes hit only 3-of-11 shots and did not make either of his shots from downtown. At this point, that performance seems more of the exception and not the rule, but it is something he will definitely look to correct as Wednesday approaches.

The ugly:

Overall, UW has struggled throughout the season shooting approximately 33 percent from downtown. On Saturday, it was actually a little bit worse. For the game, the Badgers shot 3-of-10 from downtown. It was the lowest number of threes attempted for UW on the season and the three made were also the lowest made shots from beyond the arc on the season.

Even worse, Wisconsin only hit 1-of-6 shots from distance in the second half. The Badgers don't have to necessarily rely on the three-point shot to win games, but when they hit them it makes it all the harder to beat them.

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