Rebounds, role players carry Badgers over rival Eagles

Rebounds, role players carry Badgers over rival Eagles

September 17, 2020 wpimufqwmftm 0

first_imgMILWAUKEE – Just as Wisconsin’s football program has secured a Rose Bowl berth by playing its prototypical style on the gridiron, the men’s basketball team (8-2) took down the Marquette Golden Eagles (7-3) Saturday afternoon by sticking to the formula patented by head coach Bo Ryan in his nine-plus seasons at UW.The Badgers went on the road to the Bradley Center and defeated the Golden Eagles 69-64 behind a strong rebounding performance, a careful and efficient offensive approach and clutch defense. Wisconsin out-rebounded Marquette 32-28, but the most notable aspect of the performance was offensive rebounding. UW won that battle 15-10, which paved the way for a 21-9 advantage in second-chance points. Forward Mike Bruesewitz led all players with eight rebounds, while Leuer contributed six and forward Keaton Nankivil pulled down five.“That was huge for us, getting those second chances and then we were able to bring it back out and run the clock,” said forward Jon Leuer. “When you have a lead like that, they have no time to score. After we got the rebounds, we’d bring it out, run some cuts and just grind them out.”Wisconsin’s largest lead of 12 points came with 9:07 remaining in the second half, but the Badgers were indeed forced to grind out the victory. With 4:09 left, UW was still up 61-50, but MU started a 12-2 run that brought the Golden Eagles within two with 21 seconds to play. With seven seconds to go, Marquette was down three and had a chance to tie the game, but as MU guard Dwight Buycks brought the ball upcourt, guard Josh Gasser knocked the ball out of his hands and off Buycks’ foot, giving the Badgers the win.“He’s great,” Leuer said of Gasser. “He just does so many things for us, a lot of things that you wouldn’t even notice. As a freshman, to make the kind of plays he does, that gives us a huge lift. He’s helped us out a lot, and he’s going to continue to help us out a lot.”Nankivil, others step upIn his three-plus years as a Badger, Nankivil has been defined by a sense of inconsistency that, at times, has proved almost maddening for Wisconsin fans. The 6-8, 240 lb. senior holds excellent skills on both ends of the floor, but his tendency to disappear in big games has somewhat marked his tenure at UW.Saturday afternoon, though, was one of his bigger games. Nankivil finished with 12 points on 5-7 shooting (2-3 from 3-point range), five rebounds (two offensive), two assists and one block.“We know Keaton’s capable of that,” guard Jordan Taylor said. “He can do that every game, and he did it tonight and that was huge for us. When Keaton does that, that’s a big kind of energizer to our team, too, because Keaton’s so athletic and he’s so skilled. There’s a lot of things he can do, and tonight was kind of just a sample of, hopefully, a sign of things to come for him.”When Leuer was forced to the bench after his fourth foul with 1:09 left in the game, Nankivil stepped up to lock down the rebounds and prevent the Golden Eagles from taking the lead.Bruesewitz was also critical for the Badgers with his eight rebounds – a testament to the fact that his mere two points on 1-5 shooting went largely unnoticed. Similarly, Gasser’s huge play more than made up for his four-point, two-assist performance.Perhaps most remarkable was Taylor’s performance, though. The junior point guard is Wisconsin’s second-leading scorer (15.0 points per game entering Saturday), but against Marquette, Taylor led all scorers with 21 points, three assists and three rebounds. For the Badgers, though, the best part of Taylor’s game was something that’s never been in doubt – his composure.Taylor turned the ball over only once despite consistent on-ball pressure from the Golden Eagles’ guards. He shot 5-8 from the field, 2-5 from behind the arc, but most importantly, the Badgers’ point man was 9-11 from the free throw line. Taylor found himself on the line often late, and after missing his first attempt, sunk the rest to put MU out of reach.“We’re all players, whether it’s Josh as a freshman, Ben [Brust] as a freshman or anybody all the way up to our seniors, John going down with that fourth foul was pretty tough early,” Nankivil said. “But we have probably one of the most composed guards in the country running the show for us, and I think that’s really what helped push us through that stretch.”last_img

 

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