UW ‘superior’ to in-state foe

first_imgJon Leuer scored 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting against UW-Superior.[/media-credit]In spite of misleading nomenclature, the Wisconsin basketball team proved to be the superior program Wednesday night in a final exhibition tune up against the UW-Superior Yellow Jackets.The Badgers held UW-Superior to 31 percent shooting from the field, nearly got a triple-double from Trevon Hughes (nine points, nine assists and 10 steals) and had all 15 players see the floor in an 80-47 blowout.With the starting five receiving more playing time than in the previous exhibition match against Bemidji State, UW head coach Bo Ryan was most pleased with his team’s defensive effort.“I liked our effort defensively for this reason. You are chasing smaller guys who are reading each other very well,” he said. “If you look at the execution on their pick-and-pop, on their quick exchanges, on pick-and-rolls … when we played Fort Wayne for example two years ago, they were a little smaller than us and they did a lot of things that gave us some problems, so hopefully tonight’s action will help us for Sunday.”UW-Superior head coach Logan Flora came away more than impressed.By the time the final horn had sounded, Wisconsin had forced 24 turnovers and blocked five Yellow Jacket shots while pressuring Superior every time they touched the ball.“They are such a fundamentally sound team,” Flora said. “They are always in position and they work extremely hard. That’s one of the things I told our guys after the game, how we can learn from the tape, watching them.”The Yellow Jackets provided a glimmer of hope for a competitive contest, matching the Badgers basket-for-basket in the first two minutes, and showing deft ball movement to keep the score close at 6-5. Wisconsin eventually exerted their will, however, pushing the lead to 25-10 with 8:49 left in the half, before entering halftime leading 42-24.UW took advantage of their size inside, feeding it to juniors Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil early in the shot clock. The starting forward duo combined for 14-of-22 shooting and 30 points against the 6-foot-6-inch starting forwards for the Yellow Jackets. As if to set the tone, Leuer fed Nankivil for a jumper from the perimeter on a nice look from the post to open up the game.“We just have more of a post presence I think,” Leuer said of the differences from this season and last year. “Last year, Marcus [Landry] and Joe [Krabbenhoft] were great all-around players, they did tremendous things for this program, but we lacked that inside presence.”Although Leuer and Nankivil were able assert their will on the inside, Wisconsin missed numerous open 3-point attempts.As a team, the Badgers only connected on 3-of-19 attempts from the perimeter with normal sharp shooter Jason Bohannon misfiring on 6-of-8 looks.Ryan stressed that though the shooting must improve, he was glad to see his team get it done in the paint.“We are going to need to shoot it better from the outside, but when you’re not, at least, you still got to get to the free throw line and you have to touch the post,” Ryan said. “And we did that. We didn’t get away from sound basketball.”“I look at it as shooting is one of the easiest things to improve,” Nankivil added. “Just because it is time and repetition. Whereas some of the other stuff that we are also doing well is all the preseason work with defense. It is probably better at this point to be shooting a lower percentage and being better at the other stuff than hitting all our shots and not be good at that stuff.”While the game got a bit sloppy in the last five minutes, UW kept the pressure on UW-Superior both offensively and defensively despite having the game in hand for all of the second half.Logan was impressed the Badgers never took a play off, but Ryan responded incredulously when asked about his team’s effort.“I don’t know why you would ever play a game and not play it hard all the time,” Ryan said. “I don’t even know how to answer those kinds of questions. … If you are playing a pick-up game you want to kick the other guy’s rear end. Why would you do anything different?”last_img

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