Game Day Grades: Penn State

MADISON - Big Ten basketball isn't always pretty, a fact that Wisconsin hammered home in its conference-opening win over Penn State Thursday night. Badger Nation hands out the grades.

Offense: D+

Wisconsin's shot selection generally wasn't poor, but the Badgers struggled mightily to score by shooting 38.6 percent from the floor and finishing around the hoop.

Wisconsin had four of its starters in double figures: Ben Brust, Jared Berggren and Ryan Evans each had 13 points and Mike Bruesewitz had 12 points. The Badgers didn't receive great production from its bench only scoring seven points.

Wisconsin did a very good job of taking care of the basketball with only four turnovers and George Marshall having two of them. The Badgers had the most success in the paint with 32 points, as Berggren was able to help the Badgers get going by scoring four of the first six points. Penn State's big men didn't have much of an answer for Berggren.

Wisconsin struggled to knock down the three-point shot by going only 3-for-17 (17.6 percent) against Penn State.

Defense: B

Wisconsin played good aggressive smart defense only committing seven personal fouls. Bruesewitz was the only Badger to get into foul trouble picking up three fouls; two coming in the first half. Penn State only went to the free throw line once and missing its only attempt.

The Badgers forced the Nittany Lions into 15 turnovers in the game, four coming in the first four minutes. Seven of the 15 turnovers were steals; Traevon Jackson led the team with three steals. The Badgers were able to force the Nittany Lions into some bad passes by taking away the passing lane. The Badgers were able to create Penn State's turnovers into 17 points.

Penn State shot the basketball well - 24-52 (46.2 percent) - from the floor as guards Jermaine Marshall led Penn State with 19 points and D.J. Newbill had 12 points.

Wisconsin did a good job of limiting second chance opportunities for Penn State. The Nittany Lions only managed to grab six offensive rebounds and only could turn them into nine points.

Overall: C

The Badgers were able to get up by 14 points in the second half but the Nittany Lions were able to make a rally to make the game as close as 50-49 with 2:53 to go in the game. Still the Badgers made the plays they needed to in order to win the game.

Evans once again struggled at the free throw line (going 1-for-6), but it turned into a team issue with Wisconsin shooting 13-for-26. If Wisconsin can get to the free throw line that consistently, the team will have to start knocking down its free throws, as it already cost them the Marquette game.

Wisconsin was able to grab 13 offensive rebounds in the game, which resulted in 13-second chance points. Penn State out rebounded Wisconsin 38-32.

Even though Evans struggled at the free throw line, he did play a good game and finished one rebound away from recording a double-double. Evans was able to let the game come to him and went 6-for15 from the floor.

Coming into the game Berggren led the Big Ten in blocks with 25 and added three to his total. Berggren was active on the defensive side of the floor and made sure any shot that was put up was contested. The Badgers blocked six shots in the game.

Game MVP: Mike Bruesewitz. Bruesewitz was key in helping the Badgers maintain their lead in the second half by scoring 10 of his 12 points, including his final four free throws to seal the victory. Bruesewitz was able to pull down some critical rebounds and ended the game with eight rebounds.

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