March 21, 2009

Good, bad and ugly from FSU win

The first half of Friday's opening round game against Florida State was anything but good for Wisconsin. After controlling the tempo early on, the Badgers started playing at FSU's pace and eventually worked themselves into a 12-point halftime hole.

However, UW came out in the second frame a totally different team and immediately went on a 13-0 run to get itself back in the game and in position to win in exciting fashion.

Before Wisconsin continues its run tomorrow against Xavier, takes a look back at the good, bad and ugly from Friday night.


Intensity out of the locker room:

Toney Douglas was finding ways to score and the length in the interior was clearly bothering the Badgers during the first 20 minutes. After limping into the locker room following a 14-2 FSU run to close the half, the Badgers could have come out and just gone through the motions.

Instead, it forced the Seminoles into a turnover (one of nine in the second half) on its very first possession of the period leading to a Joe Krabbenhoft three-point shot. From there on, the Badgers were able to storm back into the game in large part due to its much better shooting from downtown.

The defense was also stellar in the second half for the Badgers as it held FSU to only 21 points in the final 20 minutes before overtime. The Seminoles were visibly relying on Toney Douglas to be the main offensive threat and it showed throughout as no one else was willing to take the big shot. Credit the Badger defense for making it tough on Douglas as well, because he showed once again how explosive and talented he is.

Keaton Nankivil

When the Badgers shot only 28 percent in the first half, it was obvious that somebody needed to step up and hit shots in the second half for UW to have any chance. Not many, though, thought that player would be Keaton Nankivil.

The sophomore hit 4-of-6 shots from the field including two critical threes en route to 10 huge second half points. His 14 points finished behind only Jason Bohannon, who's three-point shooting was stellar, on the team for the game and defended the lane exceptionally well.

Trevon Hughes

Not much needs to be said in regards to Hughes. After struggling offensively for most of the game, Hughes hit critical free throws, a critical shot from downtown and obviously the final and-one to seal the game for UW. Do not forget about the tremendous defense he played on Douglas throughout the game as well.


FSU's run to end the first half

After the Seminoles only fired five shots through the opening nine minutes of the game, FSU started to push the tempo. By doing so, it generated some open looks around the perimeter as the Badger defense was slow to set up.

At one point Chris Singleton hit back-to-back three's to break open a 20-19 FSU lead. A couple baskets later and the Badgers found themselves down 12 and in the midst of another four minute scoring drought.

However, after what must have been a rousing halftime speech, the Badgers were able to correct their mistakes and make a run immediately out of the second half gates.


I am going to use ugly in a different sense this time around. With just under a minute to play and his team down one, Krabbenhoft had the ball on the perimeter with the shot clock running down. He drove to the free throw line and looked to be falling off balance, but before he traveled, he kicked it out to Bohannon at the top of the key.

When Bohannon got the ball at least five feet behind the three-point line, the ugly possession looked doomed for a shot clock violation that would have left UW down with less than 60 seconds to play. Instead, Bohannon drilled the shot with no time left on the shot clock to give UW a two-point lead, capping off one of its ugliest possessions of the day with a moment of glory.

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