The Badgers (6-1) breezed through a cool-down game at the Kohl Center Saturday, beating Grambling State 79-46 behind 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting from senior guard Trevon Hughes.
It was just the type of game Wisconsin needed after the euphoria of the Duke win.
Grambling State (1-4) hung with Wisconsin for the first few minutes, but an alley-oop from sophomore guard Jordan Taylor to freshman Ryan Evans propelled the Badgers, and they wouldn't look back. By halftime, Wisconsin held a 14-point advantage over the Tigers and the lead would climb as high as 37 before the final whistle.
""[The Badgers] do a great job,"" Grambling State coach Bobby Washington said. ""It always seems to happen with the talent level Wisconsin has [compared] to what we have. After a while, you can hang for a little bit, but then the superior talent and skill starts to show.""
The lop-sided game gave head coach Bo Ryan and the Badgers the opportunity to fine-tune their game. Fourteen Badgers saw game action and four scored in double figures, including junior Jon Leuer who had 11 on 3-of-6 shooting and Taylor who had 11 on 5-of-6 shooting.
Wisconsin completely dominated the Tigers down low. The Badgers' biggest players held Grambling State's leading scorer, senior Ariece Perkins, to just four points on 1-of-5 shooting and outscored the Tigers 34-16 in the paint. They also pulled down 37 rebounds while holding Grambling State to 29 percent shooting for the game.
""The key was we stayed disciplined in our lanes, in our positions defensively, limiting them to very few at-the-rim type shots,"" Ryan said about the Badgers' performance.
Wisconsin saw senior guard Jason Bohannon re-emerge as a 3-point threat after going 0-of-6 against Duke on Wednesday. He was 3-of-4 from behind the arc and had 11 points.
And although Bohannon said he'd still like to get more consistency behind his shot, he was satisfied with some other aspects of the game, including the Badgers' team defense.
""[Grambling State] came in and ran good offense,"" Bohannon said. ""They made us play a lot of defense. They worked the shot clock 30-plus seconds each and every possession. When we're on defense that long we pick up a lot of different things, and I think that helped us quite a bit.""
The Badgers put on a defensive clinic for Grambling State in the second half. The Tigers tallied just one free throw in a 10-minute stretch and totaled only 19 points on 21 percent shooting. A lot of the ability to control the Tigers in the second half came from great guard play. Grambling State's undersized guards couldn't compete with Hughes, Taylor and Bohannon.
""Those guards are very strong,"" Washington said. ""They are the strongest guards physically and even mentally, I think they're mentally tough, that we've faced all year.""
The win over Duke and not stumbling against Grambling State should lead the Badgers into a top-25 ranking this week, but don't expect to get a rise out of any of the players. They're already looking ahead to two in-state rivals next week in Green Bay and Marquette.
""It's a good accomplishment but it really doesn't mean a lot to us as a team,"" Bohannon said. ""We'd like to keep focusing on one game at a time and get to where we want to be in March.""