December 20, 2008
Leuer comes off bench to guide UW to victory
MADISON, Wis. - The Kohl Center was not an arena hosting a Big Ten conference game Saturday evening, but it sure felt like it. With Coppin State in town, a team from the MEAC conference, the Wisconsin men's basketball team found itself in the middle of a physical chess match.
The Eagles, who have played all of its games on the road to this point, and Badgers combined for 21 fouls, a relatively modest number for how physical the game was, and only shot a combined four free throws throughout the entirety of the game as UW went on for a grinding 57-46 win.
"We had prepared our guys for the fact that it was going to be a physical game," Coppin State head coach Ron "Fang" Mitchell said following the game. "A lot of things that they might think are fouls, aren't fouls in Big Ten country. So we just have to recognize that factor and just go out there and play."
With the Eagles physicality and throwing as many as six different zone looks at the Badgers, it was UW's, particularly Marcus Landry's, ability to find the open man that allowed Wisconsin to get early separation on the scoreboard.
With the score deadlocked at seven early in the game, the Badgers utilized a quick 18-4 run that featured six of UW's 15 total assists, including two from Landry. From that point on, the Eagles never got any closer than eight points down for the remainder of the game.
"Marcus was like Meadowlark Lemon when they used to feed the post and he'd hit guys going backdoor," UW head coach Bo Ryan said after his team won its ninth consecutive game at the Kohl Center. "And I'm not saying that to be comical. Marcus did a great job of finding guys. I thought we did a good job of that."
Against the zone, the Badgers were forced to fire 21 shots from behind the arc but only managed to connect on five. Still, none were forced and all came within the rhythm of the offense. UW flourished with great court vision and smart cuts, particularly from Jon Leuer who led UW with 16 points off the bench, and the Badger offense did enough to get the win.
"It made it easy with these guys finding me," Leuer, who helped UW's bench outscore Coppin States 20-17, said. "I was open in some spots and my teammates found me. I thought we executed really well. We adjusted to the zone and we got good shots. Our three's weren't going as well as we would have liked. We didn't shoot that great of a percentage so we had to establish ourselves down low a little bit more."
UW only mustered a 23.8 percent mark from distance, but because it dominated the rebounding category 36-19, the Badgers blanked Coppin State 17-0 in second chance points.
"The stats show that we were hungry on the boards, just out rebounding them and things like that" Landry, who also added in 11 points, three rebounds and four assists, said. "That's what we try to do to every team regardless of the size advantage."
Coppin State's leading scorer Tywain McKee finished the contest with 16 points, but never seemed to find his rhythm within the flow of the game. For Wisconsin, Bohannon finished with 11 points and fellow junior Trevon Hughes had nine.
The Badgers welcome Texas into the Kohl Center for its final non-conference game of the regular season Tuesday night.
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