Men's Basketball: Badgers win ugly against rival Marquette

Three days after falling to Duke in an offensive shootout, Wisconsin (8-1) went back to its roots and grinded out a 49-38 win at their in-state rival Marquette (4-4).

The Badgers’ defense shone as bright as it had all season, holding the Golden Eagles to 38 points (15 in the first half) on 13-of-45 shooting, forcing three shooting droughts of five minutes or more. The Golden Eagles’ previous season low in points was 63 against Ohio State.

On the other side of the court, Badger players struggled to create their own shots and relied on inefficient 3-point shooting (8-of-30). 14 of Wisconsin’s 17 field goals were assisted, which sounds like a good thing, but the low amount of shots made means it was more like the only way the Badgers could get points was through passing.

Senior center Frank Kaminsky was on the floor for the entire game save two minutes and led all scorers with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting. However, Kaminsky wasn’t what you would call the most impactful player for the Badgers this afternoon, as redshirt senior guard Josh Gasser (12 points) delivered four backbreaking 3-pointers that kept Marquette’s second half rallies from materializing into something real. Those four 3-pointers came when the Badger lead was at 4, 7, 3 and 2 points.

What saved Wisconsin from a rough day at the office with the ball was a dominant offensive rebounding game. The Badgers pulled down 14 of their 37 misses, repeatedly extending possessions by 30 seconds as they deliberated on their shot selection.

High volume 3-point shooting, quick passing and suffocating defense made this game a throwback to the stereotypical Bo Ryan teams of old, before the team transformed into the offensive juggernaut it has become.

Long term, the most significant takeaway from today’s game was junior forward Sam Dekker continuing to struggle with his preseason ankle injury. While he had five rebounds, Dekker’s only two points came off a tip-in and continued to look less than 100 percent. With a lean stretch in Wisconsin’s schedule coming up (Milwaukee Wednesday, Nicholls State Saturday, then a nine-game break for exams), getting Dekker some rest will be pivotal if Bo Ryan wants arguably his most talented player to be ready for Big Ten play.

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