Junior forward Jon Leuer's combined 50 points and 24 rebounds in two straight starts is a good way to get noticed in college basketball. If anything, it may get the media and opposing teams to stop mispronouncing his last name.
After going for a career-high 26 points along with 10 rebounds on Wednesday against UW-Green Bay, Leuer added another impressive stat line against Marquette. His 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting and new career-high 12 rebounds helped push the Badgers past the Golden Eagles for the first time since their 70-66 win in 2006.
""I don't want to be simplistic, but [Leuer] worked hard to get open in the post, he cut hard, and he is stronger this year,"" head coach Bo Ryan said. ""He's getting in position a little better and he gets rewarded because his teammates know that he can do something with [the ball] when he gets it. But you still have to make the shots and he's been doing that.""
Marquette head coach Buzz Williams said after the loss it was difficult for them to stop Leuer and he thinks the Minnesota native is a pro. At 6'10"" and 225, Leuer definitely has the size and athleticism to take it to the next level. And when you add his speed and outside shot he has a pretty unique resume for a post player.
""[Leuer] was really good off the bench last year,"" Williams said. ""I told our guys, ‘I don't know if you remember him, but he is really, really good. His length, his skill set, his intelligence level is a really, really hard matchup.'""
In the first few minutes of the game it was easy to see how difficult of a matchup Leuer can be. He punished the Golden Eagles early by coming out on fire, connecting on his first six shots to help the Badgers build a double-digit lead. By half Leuer already had 16 points and six rebounds.
It was up to Marquette's go-to player, senior forward Lazar Hayward, to stop Leuer, and the clash between the two turned into a game within the game.
The first half battle belonged to Leuer. With his size, Leuer's fade away jumper proved to be impossible for the shorter Hayward to stop. And on the defensive side of the ball for Wisconsin, Leuer held Hayward in check conceding only six points on 3-of-10 shooting.
But after a slow start Hayward proved why he can dominate a game. He almost single handedly led the Golden Eagles back to within three points of the Badgers by scoring nine straight points to open up the second half.
Since he was unable to get around the long frame of Leuer, Hayward decided to try his luck from behind the arc. He connected on two consecutive 3s during the nine-point run, but finished only 2-of-8 from long range.
""Our team is different with [Hayward] not on the floor, not because we know he can get a basket potentially,"" Williams said. ""Our team is different when [Hayward] is not on the floor because of his presence. He has a calming effect to our team.
Hayward finished with 21 points on 8-of-21 shooting and 12 rebounds, but his calming effect was disrupted by Leuer all game especially when the Badgers fed the ball into the post.
""The game plan was to get [Leuer] to the post,"" senior guard Trevon Hughes said.
""Marquette's first losses were against Florida State and North Carolina State, and they were losing early on in the game because they were taking bad shots. [Leuer] was hitting some tough shots and at the same time he was getting them into decent foul trouble. We had the size advantage and we wanted to take advantage of that. That was our plan all week.""