Board battle carries day for UW

first_imgEVANSTON, Ill. — Looking to build on the momentum established from the upset-Purdue victory last Sunday, the Wisconsin basketball team took on Northwestern at the Welsh-Ryan Arena Wednesday and proceeded to shoot 38.5 percent from the field and 26.9 percent from beyond the arc.Not exactly a recipe for success when the Badgers were handicapped from the start with UW’s leading rebounder and second leading scorer sidelined indefinitely with a wrist injury.But like so many Bo Ryan coached teams do, Wisconsin found a way to win 60-50 with a combination of tough defense, and more importantly with Leuer’s 6.2 boards a game missing, dominant rebounding.For the game, UW pulled down 38 boards — 15 on the offensive glass — and outscored the Wildcats 17-9 on second chance points. Considering the game ended with a 10-point margin of victory, a +9 point differential on second opportunities may have made all the difference.“[Offensive rebounding] was the key,” Ryan said. “I was hoping nobody would notice so we could try to, like, use that as a weapon…both teams were hustling, bodies were flying into another, the ball got tipped a little bit. We seemed to win what were the little skirmishes a little bit more tonight.”The decisive stretch proved to be the last five minutes when senior guard Trevon Hughes — two for nine shooting at the time — nailed three 3-pointers in a row, with two of them coming from offensive rebounds grabbed by Jordan Taylor.The sophomore Taylor was one of three players who finished with at least three offensive boards, and six different players for UW finished with at least four rebounds.“Someone just told me they got the last 11 rebounds (actually 12) of the game,” NU head coach Bill Carmody said. “They’d miss a shot, rebound, miss a shot, rebound, you know two, three, four rebounds.”“We just had to go out there and rebound tonight, do what we have to do to win,” Taylor added. “Coach always stresses it doesn’t matter [what your size is], it’s not the size of the dog or whatever, I hear it all the time. Whatever it is, size doesn’t matter, you got to show heart.”Seniors shineAt the beginning of the season, much was made of Wisconsin starting its first senior backcourt in four years as a predictor of good things to come.Hughes and shooting guard Jason Bohannon showed why.With the duo on the floor for all 40 minutes, the starting pair combined for 36 points and 12 rebounds, while making the majority of the shots down the stretch. Hughes shot a measly 33 percent from the field, but nailed three shots from beyond the arc to bust the game open and Bohannon seemed to come through with a bucket whenever Wisconsin was in a lull, finishing with 7-of-12 shooting. More impressively for Bohannon, he managed to find soft spots in the zone and connected on six of his seven two-point attempts.“Me and Trevon have been through the ups and downs here,” Bohannon said. “Being that senior backcourt and having all that experience here, we need to motivate our team and not let them lose focus…tonight we did a great job staying focused for all 40.”Carmody did his best Matt Painter impression, praising the guards for their second outstanding game in a row.“I just thought their backcourt played very well,” Carmody said, almost echoing Painter after the Purdue loss. “Bohannon in the first half, we couldn’t keep tabs on him. And then Hughes came through in the last five minutes basically.”last_img

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