November 16, 2008

Landry guides UW to opening day win

MADISON, Wis. - Marcus Landry saw Trevon Hughes drive the lane with under a minute to play so he established himself on the perimeter when his defender left to play help defense.

Hughes noticed his wide-open teammate on the left wing, kicked it out to the Wisconsin senior, and like he has done before, Landry drilled the three-pointer that essentially squashed any hopes of Long Beach State's upset bid.

The bucket gave the Badgers a four-point edge with 30 seconds to play and propelled them to a hard-fought 68-61 triumph in the season opener.

"Our guys hear it ten times a practice," head coach Bo Ryan said following the game. "The highest percentage threes are when you touch the paint and kick it to a shooter. That was a great example of that."

For Landry, the game clinching shot beyond the arc capped a great day. In total, he finished with a career high 23 points, hauled in four rebounds and swatted three LBSU shot attempts, including a critical lay-up attempt that would have cut the Badger lead to two with just over 20 seconds to play.

"It's a different story out there without Marcus playing the way he did today," fellow senior Joe Krabbenhoft, who chipped in seven points and six rebounds in the team effort, said. "I think everyone knows that. Getting the ball to the post is an easy job and then he did all the work."

The Badgers survived an early flurry of three point shots from a feisty and upset minded Long Beach State program coached by former Minnesota head coach Dan Monson. Of the 49ers first five field goals, four came from beyond the arc as LBSU jumped out to an early 14-8 lead.

But on its home floor, Wisconsin fought back to take a 36-33 lead into the locker room. For a young squad like the 49ers, playing so far from home against a tough opponent, it could have folded and been run out of the building in the second half, but never did back down.

Senior Donovan Morris, who finished with 12 points, went on a personal 10-0 run over a two and a half minute stretch to bring LBSU back to within two points after his team fell down by as many as nine in the second half.

"When he gets going, and he gets on a flow, he's as hard to guard as anyone in the country," Monson, who fell to 1-9 lifetime against Ryan, said following the game. "And Krabbenhoft, I think, is one of the best defenders in the country and so it wasn't just him against anybody.

"He's a big time player offensively when he gets into a flow."

The Badgers had two of its better defenders in Krabbenhoft and Tim Jarmusz guarding Morris the entirety of the game. A season ago, Morris was the 49ers leading scorer with an average of more than 20 points per game. So UW knew what they were getting with LBSU's quick and capable guard.

"He's a great player and we knew that coming in just looking at his stats from last year," Krabbenhoft said. "I knew he was going to be a tough opponent for me to guard and for the team to contain and when I was on him I just had to do my best."

But the afternoon really belonged to Landry as his presence down low was the only consistent semblance of a post game throughout the contest.

"We were struggling a little bit with some of our other guys inside and Marcus was the guy that delivered in the paint," Ryan said. "That didn't come easy because Long Beach definitely had a plan as to what they were going to do and where they wanted the ball to go and I just think that Marcus was the guy that from his experience figured some things out before anyone else did."

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