“I think if that was a dance, they would have called it off. You said rhythm; their was absolutely no rhythm. If it was the Gong Show, they would have hooked us all,” said Bo Ryan in regards to the fifty fouls called in Saturday’s game with Illinois.
Despite the foul-fest which was reminiscent of a 1970s TV-show, the #20 Badgers 76-66 win over the #16 Fighting Illini improved their home-record to 10-0 and marked their 13th straight win at the Kohl Center.
Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor combined to score 48 of Wisconsin’s (13-4, 3-2) 76 points and Demetri McCamey led Illinois (13-5, 3-2) with 23 points.
By: Nick Grays
What It Means: It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but it was a game the Badgers needed to win after melting down in East Lansing on Tuesday. Wisconsin continues to hold down their home-court and successfully avenged a 69-61 loss to the Illini a couple of weeks ago. While winning at home is all peachy, the Badgers still seek a quality road win as they’ve came up empty in trips to Las Vegas, Champaign and East Lansing this season.
Leuer led all scorers with 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds. The surprising part of his game was the 16 points he scored inside the three-point line. As soon as Big Ten play began, it was evident Leuer wanted to establish his self as more of a post-threat. Mission accomplished as Leuer was 9-of-16 from the floor with only three 3-point attempts.
Highlight of the Night: I guess the Badgers needed the half-time break to turn around their shooting woes. After shooting a dismal 1-12 from behind the arc, Keaton Nankivil hit two threes to lead a 10-0 run for the Badgers at the beginning of the second half. The run really opened it up for the Badgers who would not relinquish the lead for the rest of the game.
Stat of the Game: Wisconsin attempted 41 free throws, its highest single-game total since attempting 44 in an 89-75 win over Pittsburgh in 2006. The Badgers converted 82.9 percent of those free throws to only improve their #2-ranked free-throw percentage of 81.0 percent.
Quotables: For us young journalists, Bo Ryan made sure to elaborate on what the Gong Show was.
“Google it, they would hook the people who were bad to pull them off the stage. It was a contest like American Idol,” explained Ryan.
“(Jon) Leuer definitely was the guy that was special tonight. They went with the big lineup, allowed him to go inside a little bit. Whether it was maybe a little bit of a mismatch, we just didn’t do a good job fronting him in the post,” said Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber.
What’s Next: The Badgers have a much easier test on Thursday, January 20th when the Indiana Hoosiers (9-8, 0-4) visit the Kohl Center. Pending a match-up with Michigan, the Hoosiers will most likely be seeking their first conference win. Sophomore Christian Watford will be the player to watch as he leads the team with 16.4 points per game. Watford had 15 against Wisconsin in Madison last season.
What are your reactions to Wisconsin’s win over the Fighting Illini? Let me know by commenting below!
Rapid Reaction Archive:
Wisconsin 99 Prairie View A&M 55 (11-14-10)
Wisconsin 85 North Dakota 53 (11-16-10)
Wisconsin 87 NC State 48 (12-1-10)
Wisconsin 61 Milwaukee 40 (12-8-10)
Wisconsin 70 Green Bay 56 (12-13-10)
Wisconsin 80 Coppin State 55 (12-23-10)
Wisconsin 66 Michigan 50 (1-5-10)
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