Hughes guides Wisconsin past Oakland, Mich., 58-42

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Associated Press
Thursday, November 19, 2009
— Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan is taking his team to the Maui Invitational trying to figure out the same thing that's puzzling a lot of coaches: Just how good are we right now?

The Badgers were solid but unspectacular Wednesday night in beating Oakland, Mich., 58-42. But now the Badgers (2-0) head to Hawaii with a tougher slate that starts Monday with Arizona.

Wisconsin shot 42 percent and led comfortably for most of the game. But the Badgers also turned the ball over 15 times and were just 3 of 14 from behind the 3-point line.

"People are trying to find their rhythm right now," Ryan said. "Hopefully, we?re going to have some nights where somebody is going to have to pay for us having the open looks we have."

The Golden Grizzlies (0-2) were the preseason favorites to win the Summit League after going 23-13 last season and 13-5 in the league. But Oakland couldn't find its shooting touch in a season-opening loss to Eastern Michigan, and those struggles continued Wednesday.

That was largely because the Badgers kept in check preseason all-conference selections Johnathon Jones, Derick Nelson and Keith Benson.

Benson played just eight minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. When he sat down with two fouls less than six minutes in, the Grizzlies trailed 9-8. When he returned almost nine minutes later, they were down 22-14. He came back in just long enough to throw down a dunk and pick up his third foul after Wisconsin guard Trevon Hughes, almost a foot shorter than Benson, got him into the air on a pump fake.

"It was just a smart play at the time," Hughes said.

With Benson out and forward Will Hudson saddled with foul trouble, Oakland too often settled for 3-pointers or fadeaway jumpers with little success. The Grizzlies shot just 1-for-10 from the 3-point line in the first half and 30 percent for the half overall. Jones and Nelson combined to shoot just 4-for-12, and the Badgers led at half 34-23.

"We had both of those guys on the bench with two fouls, and the whole thing changed," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. "We had to go small. We couldn?t guard them."

Wisconsin kept the pressure on to open the second half, reeling off a 15-3 run over the first 10 minutes to push its lead to 49-26. Oakland spent the rest of the game trying to make it respectable but could draw no closer than 14 as Wisconsin got a little sloppy in the closing minutes.

Hughes finished with 15 points to lead the Badgers, while Keaton Nankivil scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Jon Leuer added 12 points.

The Grizzlies never really found their shooting touch. Despite a reputation as a 3-point-shooting team, including a streak of 632 games with a trey, Oakland is now 7-for-41 from long range to start the season after shooting 3 of 19 against the Badgers.

Jones and Benson recovered somewhat in the second half. Jones finished with 15 points, while Benson added 12 points and nine rebounds. Nelson finished with just four points.

Last updated: 2:05 pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

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