November 11, 2009

Badgers cruise in exhibition finale

MADISON - Trevon Hughes is just like his coach. Neither one knows any other way to approach the game of basketball besides working hard.

During Wednesday night's exhibition finale, it was that work ethic from Hughes on the floor that guided UW's 80-47 blowout win over in-state UW-Superior. His line, from 28 minutes of action, is a thing of beauty.

Nine points, nine assists, 10 steals, zero turnovers.

"I think we've got more depth so I'm not worried about getting tired," Hughes said following his stat-filling performance. "I'm going to go out there and give it my all. I know Jordan Taylor will pick up the slack when he comes out there. There's nothing for me to worry about. (I can) just go out there and lay my body on the line for the team.

"That's what I didn't do last year and it hurt."

Though it's a relatively small sample size that is taken with a larger grain of salt, Hughes has been phenomenal in UW's two exhibition games. Combined, he has 16 assists to two turnovers, and it's that very reason UW has coasted to two blowout wins during the past week.

"People are being more consistent this year, I believe," Hughes said. "We had an off night tonight, but just having shooters on the floor with me can open up the court. When I can get to the lane it makes it a whole lot easier."

In a game that was never really in doubt, it was Hughes' tireless defensive effort and bang-up jobs from UW's frontcourt duo of Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil that led to victory.

Nankivil finished the contest with a game-high 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting. He was joined by both Leuer, who dominated the paint, and Jason Bohannon who both finished with 14 points on a combined 12-for-23 shooting night.

"Shot selection was good," UW head coach Bo Ryan said following the game. "We just need to finish better around the basket. We had three or four opportunities there, especially in the second half, where we could have finished the play."

Overall, Wisconsin held a major size advantage as the Badgers had six players taller than 6-foot-7, while UW-Superior only had two. Thus, UW crushed the Yellow Jackets in the lane to the tune of 50-14.

The Badgers also forced 24 turnovers while only coughing up the ball six times. UW also logged 15 steals on the game and utilized the fast break well to jump out to a lead that eventually reached 37 points.

"I liked our effort defensively for this reason," Ryan explained. "You're chasing smaller guys who are reading each other very well. Look at the execution on their pick and pops, on their quick exchanges on pick and rolls, staggered stuff and everything else that they were doing.

"Hopefully tonight's action will help us for Sunday."

For Superior, the night was about having a chance to play in a large arena in front of a large crowd. They started the game off well and hung with the Badgers through the first eight minutes of the game, but in the end, UW was just too big, too quick and too defensively sound for them to hang with.

"They are such a fundamentally sound team," UW-Superior head coach Logan Flora said. "They are always in position and they're working extremely hard. That's one of the things I talked about with our guys after the game, how we can learn from the tape watching them.

"They're always in position, they're talking and they're getting after you."

Game notes:

-Only one player from Superior managed to score in double figures. Marcus Helland finished with 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting. He also recorded eight rebounds for a Yellow Jacket team that only lost the rebound battle by five boards.

-Other than the three top Badger scorers, eight other players managed to score. Hughes finished with nine, Ryan Evans had eight, Tim Jarmusz tallied five, Rob Wilson logged four, Mike Bruesewitz and Jordan Taylor had three and Dan Fahey and Brett Valentyn had two.

-UW had 24 assists to only six turnovers. To put it into perspective, the Yellow Jackets finished the game with eight assists to 24 turnovers.

-Hughes had 10 steals before he was taken out with less than five minutes to play. He also had nine assists and nine points. Needless to say, he was very close to logging a triple double.

-To put Hughes' steals in perspective, his 10 were enough to double up what UW-S was able to swipe.

Quotable:

-Jon Leuer on this team's post presence this season:

"I think this year we've just come so far from where we were at last year just as far as me, Keaton, Ryan and even Jared Berggren stepping in as a big guy. We just have more of a post presence I think. Last year, Marcus (Landry) and Joe (Krabbenhoft) were great all-around players. They did tremendous things for this program but we lacked that inside presence, (someone) that can dominate inside when they get the ball.

"We're not there yet obviously, even tonight we struggled finishing around the basket, but we're getting there. I think that's the biggest difference from last year to this year."

-Keaton Nankivil on being ready to start the regular season on Sunday:

"I think that the way our team has played these last two games is a big difference from how we played in the exhibition last year. Just as far as confidence and playing as a team goes. I think you can see that we're a little more ready to attack the season than we were last year."

-Logan Flora on Hughes' defensive performance:

"He proved why he's one of the better point guards in the nation. He was very good. He locked up our point guard who I feel has held his own against division one players in the past…But Trevon was really good tonight. He ran the show and did a lot of good things for Wisconsin.

More signing day coverage:

Bo Ryan was asked to talk about each of the three players Evan Anderson, Josh Gasser and Duje Dukan following the game. The following are his responses.

-On Anderson:

"A big who can move his feet so much better now than two years ago. He was hedging screens this summer in Vegas; I was so happy he got healthy.

-On Gasser:

"The improvement and overall skills with Josh. Josh can see the floor, he can shoot it, he can put it on the floor and he can defend. He's just one of those guys that just plays. He wasn't looking and trying to find out where he was ranked in the country. He never asked me, like some guys I know, 'Coach, where do you think I'm ranked in the recruiting class.' I've never had a guy that ever asked me that.

"He's another one. 'I just want to be a Badger.' Okay, Josh, let's go.

-On Dukan:

"The sky could be the limit for him. He plays basketball against some of the best players around every summer and during the season and weekends. HE can get into the gym anytime he wants, his coach being a NBA player and an international scout for the Bulls. He's been exposed to a lot of things basketball-wise. He's a great student, and boy, does he want to be a player. He is one of the hungriest guys we've ever been around in a short period of time.

"We're excited about all three of them. They're coming here for the right reasons."


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