UW's height advantage crushes Savannah State
That’s a program with a 16-48 record in the last two years, and one that scored just 23 points at Oregon in 2005 and 34 at Illinois in 2006.
Still, the University of Wisconsin (2-0) showed just how smothering its defense can be as the Badgers rolled to a 79-32 victory over the Tigers in a nonconference men’s basketball game here Thursday night at the Kohl Center.
It was the fourth-lowest point total against the UW in modern times.
“We played well as a team defensively,” UW guard Trevon Hughes said. “We knew their tendencies and tried to make them do something out of the norm, and forced some bad shots.”
Savannah State (2-2) needed a pair of Rod Mitchell free throws with 3:07 remaining to avoid scoring the lowest total against the Badgers in modern history. Wisconsin has held teams to 29 points twice since 1951, most recently against Loyola of Chicago in 1998.
The Tigers were frustrated in shooting all night. They never got in rhythm, and it showed in their 12-for-49 performance.
“We wanted to eliminate any of their attempts to get to the rim,” UW coach Bo Ryan said. “Let’s face it. How many of those jumpers that they hit were tough, where they had to shoot through or over one of our defenders?
“If they’re going to score, I’d rather see those types of shots going in,” he said.
Wisconsin features several forwards who push the seven-foot boundary, including 6-foot-11 standouts Brian Butch and Greg Stiemsma and 6-10 Jon Leuer. Size again was a factor, with the Badgers holding a 51-27 rebounding advantage.
“We had a definite size advantage,” Stiemsma said. “They were pretty athletic. They were quick, but I think our size and overall length overtook their athleticism.’’
Wisconsin accounted for nine blocks, led by 6-7 forward Marcus Landry, who tied a career high with four blocks.
“He ended up being the help guy,” Ryan said. “The guard’s playing good defense, then the (Savannah State) guy tries to make a move and makes himself vulnerable, where (Marcus) is able to block the shot.”
Trevon Hughes scored 21 points to lead four Badgers in double figures. Krabbenhoft and Butch scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds apiece. Stiemsma added 10 points and eight boards.
Hughes, a sophomore point guard in his first year as a starter, scored 20-plus points for the second straight game.
Wisconsin stole the ball 11 times, with eight players getting a piece of the action, including bigger guys such as Stiemsma, Landry, forwards Joe Krabbenhoft and Kevin Gullikson.
“Coach has been saying to those bigs, ‘Play like you’re 6-foot-2,’” Krabbenhoft said. “‘In your mind, think light, think quick, when you’re guarding those smaller guys.’”
The Badgers know they can expect different, and likely more formidable, challenges in the neat future.
“There’s going to be teams that are a little bigger, stronger, and more experienced,” Ryan said. “Other teams are going to present other problems.
“We’ll have to get ready for that.”
Wisconsin’s victory was part of a Kohl Center doubleheader in the four-team America’s Youth Classic. Colorado defeated Florida A&M, 83-59, in the opener.
Action for Wisconsin in the three-day event resumes at 7 tonight against Florida A&M. Colorado plays Savannah State at 4:30.
Wisconsin matches up with Colorado at 7 p.m. Saturday. Florida A&M takes on Savannah State at 4:30.
All three Badger games are being televised by the Big Ten Network.
Jarmusz will play
The speculation over whether UW freshman Tim Jarmusz would redshirt this season came to an end Thursday when he entered the game against Savannah State.
NCAA rules dictate that once a player participates in a regular-season game, he must play out the season.
“What Tim showed the last few days in practice determined for him, his family, and coach Ryan that a redshirt isn’t needed for him,” forward Joe Krabbenhoft said. “He is ready to play. He proved that to us.”
Jarmusz played three minutes and committed one foul with no shots.