Freshmen shine in 1st game of season

first_imgLUKAS KEAPPROTHThe freshmen got their first taste of University of Wisconsin basketball Saturday night as the Badgers routed the Augustana Vikings 81-51 at the Kohl Center.Augustana, a Division II school based in South Dakota, was physically overmatched. Its tallest player checked in at 6-foot-8, and the Badgers took advantage of their height bonus, dominating the paint all game. Augustana head coach Tom Billeter was not particularly surprised with the outcome of the match.“They’re bigger than we are, they’re stronger than we are, they shoot it better than we do, and they’re quicker,” Billeter said. “I think we played a team tonight of some men that are very good players.”The freshmen made a major impact in the game, combining for 18 points and seven assists. Most notably, freshman guard Jordan Taylor — who was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball last year — contributed with five assists, five points and two steals in 21 minutes of play.“[The freshmen] all contributed,” UW head coach Bo Ryan said. “There’s things that a coach sees that they have to correct and get better. … You have to start playing in college as if there’s nothing else around and stay focused all the time.”“I think they played really well,” Wisconsin forward Marcus Landry said. “Today they seemed a little more comfortable out there in the way they played. They played good defense, didn’t turn the ball over — for the most part, they were pretty good.”Right from the start, the Badgers attacked the rim, and it paid off quickly. With 15:18 left in the first half, Augustana went into the bonus, and Wisconsin gradually took control of the game.After the Vikings cut the Badgers’ lead to 15-12 with 11:24 remaining in the first half, Wisconsin went on a 24-12 run to close the half, ending the first period with a commanding 15 point lead.The Badgers came out firing again in the second half, hitting three consecutive three pointers by Marcus Landry and Jason Bohannon.“They were good shots to take,” Wisconsin forward Joe Krabbenhoft said. “They didn’t force anything. Guys were finding [Landry] open, and he did his job in knocking them down.”With the Badgers up by 18 points with 10:46 left in the game, freshman guard and forward Ryan Evans made a layup while getting fouled as the Badgers continued to roll over the Vikings.Landry led all scorers with 21 points, shooting 8-for-12 from the field. Sophomore forward Jon Leuer also contributed with 15 points and shooting 7-for-11. The Badgers shot nearly 49.1% as a team, and junior guard Trevon Hughes feels the team is heading in the right direction in terms of offensive flow.“We got into our offense kind of well,” Hughes said. “We don’t have much plays yet, so it’s a little slow just running the swing and some ball screens. … The swing helped us a lot, and we’ll introduce some plays in practice this week, and we’re slowly going to get into things.”Aside from playing its first competitive game since the 2008 NCAA Tournament, Wisconsin was able to get every freshman into the game and get them acclimated to Division I college basketball. Even though the game was a blowout, Krabbenhoft feels it was an important learning process for the freshmen to go through.“I think it was really beneficial just by looking at the [score] sheet,” Krabbenhoft said. “You see all the names under Wisconsin and see all those guys get in and get a chance to show what they’ve learned, what they’ve gotten better at in the summer and what the freshmen can bring to this team.”last_img

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *