February 18, 2009

Bohannon's defense key during winning streak

MADISON, Wis. - Jason Bohannon has always been considered a deadly shooter, especially from beyond the three-point line. Over his three years on campus, he has shown his ability from downtown on multiple occasions, and has seen his scoring average reach double-digit status.

While his shooting has always been there, although streaky at times, the UW junior has not always been considered a lock-down defender. However, since Wisconsin has found its winning ways over the past four games, it is his defense in particular that has improved vastly.

"He's just working hard and he's just trying to do his best to help the team on both ends of the floor," UW senior Joe Krabbenhoft said following a recent practice. "He can't fill Michael Flowers' shoes, I don't think anybody can, but he's just trying to do his best on both ends of the floor to help the team win and that's all you can ask for a teammate."

When the current winning streak started against Illinois, Bohannon tied a career high with 20 points and six three-pointers, but he also held Illini guard Trent Meacham to only eight points.

In the teams next win at Penn State, he held Stanley Pringle to 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the field. Remembering Pringle's 26-point outburst in the first meeting makes the second performance more impressive.

Finally, against Iowa and Ohio State, Devan Bawinkel and Jon Diebler only managed to score seven combined points on 3-for-9 shooting against Bohannon.

"J-Bo really stuck to the rules and he did a great job for us on defense," UW senior Marcus Landry said in regards to Bohannon's job against OSU's Diebler. "Of course he didn't shoot like he did that one game, but his defensive presence really helped us out."

In that critical win over the Buckeyes, Bohannon did not allow Diebler, one of the Big Ten's best three-point shooters, to even attempt a shot until seven minutes had past in the second half.

Both Bohannon and Hughes held the OSU one and two guards to a combined 13 points on only 6-of-15 shooting from the field and an even better 1-of-5 from downtown. By securing the perimeter as well as they did, they made it easier for UW's big men to defend the low block.

"It's hard for other teams to try to get the ball in the post when you have good guard pressure outside," Landry, who helped hold OSU's post players Dallas Lauderdale and B.J. Mullens to nine combined points, said. "It just makes it tougher and it gives me more time to get around my opponent.

"With them playing defense the way they've been, it's been taking a lot of pressure off me and giving me time to get around my man."

Following the Ohio State game, UW head coach Bo Ryan explained how Bohannon's chasing of Diebler was reminiscent of recent Badger greats Michael Flowers and Clayton Hanson.

While comparing Bohannon to some of the Badgers best defenders may be a little far-fetched, it is still a compliment to the effort the junior guard has put into making his defense better.

"I just learned all the little things from the past couple of years," Bohannon said. "Mike Flowers has been here and he's a tremendous defender. Anytime you have a guy like that you've got to pick up a couple of things. I tried to pick some of those up and then play some one-on-one with the guys on the team that are maybe a little quicker and try to stay in front of them.

"I try to get better each and every game no matter who I'm guarding."

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