Badgers' road show dominates Illinois
That is, a team only capable of being successful on its home court.
Coach Bo Ryan’s Badgers have been known for being near impenetrable at the Kohl Center. But for whatever reason, Wisconsin continues to look like a team quite comfortable this season with playing—and winning—on opposing courts.
The No. 11-ranked Badgers (22-4, 12-2) improved their Big Ten-best road record to 8-2 and moved into a tie with Purdue for the conference on the strength of a solid 71-57 win over Illinois at Assembly Hall here Wednesday night.
“We’re just trying to bring our best game every night, whether it’s at home or on the road,” UW guard Jason Bohannon said. “Illinois is always a tough place to play, and for us to get a lead down the stretch and not have to play a close game, that was a big step for us.”
Wisconsin’s duo of sophomore guards was terrific. Trevon Hughes hit some tough shots in the second half to break out of his mini scoring slump with 18 points, his highest total since Feb. 3.
And Bohannon was spectacular off the bench again, scoring 15 points and going 5-for-5 from the free-throw line. He now has hit 33 consecutive free throws, dating to Jan. 19—two short of the school record set by Wes Matthews in 1980.
“I’m just out there shooting them like I’m in the backyard,” Bohannon said.
Wisconsin has had its share of hot starts on the road this season, but took a little more time to heat up at Illinois. After the Badgers scored only seven points in the first eight minutes, Bohannon was fouled on a three-point attempt and hit all three free throws. Michael Flowers and Hughes followed with three-pointers to spark a 9-0 run and six-point lead.
The Badgers then came out hot in the second half, reeling off an 11-5 run for a 45-30 lead.
Freshman guard Demetri McCamey scored all of the Illini’s points during a 7-2 run to cut the lead to nine, but a Marcus Landry three-pointer with 4:27 left quieted the crowd of 16,618. The Illini never got within single digits after that.
“I think in the second half we really forced them into a lot of turnovers and kept them out of the post,” said Landry, who scored 17 points. “We made some adjustments that worked out in our favor.”
Bohannon, Landry and Flowers each nailed two three-pointers, and Hughes added another as the Badgers shot 50 percent from beyond the arc (7-for-14). Wisconsin also was 18-of-24 from the line (75 percent).
“It was a really big deal for us, being able to hit those shots,” Bohannon said. “Our team is really moving the ball around well right now, which is going to help us down the stretch.”
Wisconsin had 11 assists and just eight turnovers, while the Illini didn’t take care of the ball (six assists and 20 giveaways).
The Badgers featured a new face to their playing rotation. Freshman Tim Jarmusz played 13 minutes, a career high, grabbing his fifth rebound of the year off a missed Illinois free throw immediately after entering the game. He finished with two rebounds and a steal.
“Tim has developed more than anybody else in the past two or three weeks,” said Ryan, who informed Jarmusz in practice he would be playing. “What he’s doing defensively, his decisions with the ball … I just thought he could do the job.”
Meanwhile, the Badgers get set to take their show on the road again for a Big Ten game against Ohio State at 3 p.m. Sunday.