After Wisconsin barely squeaked out a victory in its first regular season game, the Badgers were looking to make a statement. They succeeded with a commanding 88-58 victory over Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
The Badgers jumped out to a quick start, led by seven early points from junior guard Jason Bohannon. With seven minutes left to play in the first half, the Badgers led the Cougars 25-17. Then the Badgers scored ten unanswered points, capped by back-to-back three pointers by sophomore forwards Jon Leuer and Tim Jarmusz. The Badgers took a 40-21 lead into halftime. Wisconsin extended its lead to 34 points midway through the second half, and the Badgers never looked back.
Ryan was pleased with his team's ability to stay disciplined from the game's start until the final buzzer.
Once the game got away from them, we just tried to make sure that we were running our stuff,"" Ryan said. ""We didn't care who was scoring and we never have. I like the fact that we moved the ball, we made hard cuts, we touched the post and we didn't get screwy with our decision-making. That's what you look for in games like this. I'm just glad our guys stayed to the task.""
Wisconsin took advantage of a fatigued Cougar team that had just finished three games in three days at the Charleston Classic Tournament. The Cougars were also without their leading scorer and rebounder, freshman forward Mark Yelovich. Junior guard Barry Wellington led the Cougars with 15 points.
Leuer sparked the Badgers off the bench with a team-high 19 points and shot eight for ten from the field. Leuer was glad that both himself and the team were able to find their groove offensively.
""I was open in some spots and I was able to get some easy ones right away, which kind of got my rhythm going, and that's a big part of it - getting your rhythm,"" Leuer said. ""It was just a fun game to be out there and have everybody being unselfish and I thought we executed really well tonight. Offensively, we were all moving, and any play we called, it seemed like it was working. It was good to see that progression as a team.""
Senior forward Marcus Landry followed his career-high 23-point performance against Long Beach State with 15 points and five rebounds against the Cougars. Landry also stepped it up on defense Tuesday night, registering a career-high five blocked shots. Landry said he enjoys being able to contribute in whatever way the team needs most.
""I guess it's just about getting back in the groove,"" Landry said. ""Not really focusing on one thing but trying to establish a couple of things that you know you're good at. You have nights to score, you have nights to do whatever, but you have to find ways to get the job done defensively and to help your team out. I think I played okay defensively and I look forward to having more blocks, it's a fun part of the game.