Leuer Makes It Look Easy

Wisconsin forward Jon Leuer had his way with Minnesota State Wednesday night, pouring in 25 points as the Badgers routed the Mavericks 93-59 to cap off the exhibition season.

MADISON — The most impressive aspect of the Wisconsin basketball team's 93-59 exhibition win over Minnesota State wasn't the lopsided final score. That is to be expected when your opponent comes from Mankato, Minn.

No, the most impressive part was how easy it looked.

While Wisconsin has never really struggled in exhibition games, head coach Bo Ryan's clubs do have the occasional tendency fight themselves on offense at the beginning of the season. Points sometimes come through superior athleticism in the early season practice-games rather than through the flow of the offense.

On Wednesday, however, the Badgers worked through their offense like a well-oiled machine.

"The way everybody on the team can shoot the ball it makes it easier for guys like [Wquinton Smith] and myself to get in the lane and find other guys," UW point guard Jordan Taylor said. "When you are getting good quality looks you are going to knock down shots>"

At the helm of the 58.5 percent shooting was pre-season All-Big Ten forward Jon Leuer.

A complete mismatch for anyone Mankato had to throw at him, Leuer flashed his total skill set Wednesday night. He finished the game with 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting, grabbed 11 rebounds and did it all in just 25 minutes of playing time.

As the Mavericks found out quickly, it doesn't matter where he is on the floor, Leuer will be a threat to score. Jump hooks, mid-range jumpers, a three pointer and several dunks — including the highlight of the night on a fast break alley-oop — and Leuer looked like he was putting on a skills clinic for the Mankato big men to study and learn from.

"He is the real deal," Minnesota State head coach Matt Margenthaler said. "He is unbelievable the things he can do.

"You hate to say it as an opposing coach but man he is fun to watch."

In typically understated fashion, Ryan gave credit to Leuer's performance before throwing in a little criticism.

"He needs to get to the free throw line a bit more," Ryan said after Leuer made 2-of-4 freebie in the game.

Another important lesson was revealed Wednesday besides how fun it is to watch Jon Leuer:

If Wisconsin loses either Leuer or point guard Jordan Taylor to injury, the season is going to get rough in a hurry. Taylor was the only other Badger to score in double-digits, finishing the game with 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including five-of-five from the free throw line.

With fellow junior guard Rob Wilson currently sidelined by a hamstring injury, and senior walk-on Smith and freshmen Josh Gasser and Ben Brust as the only other options in the backcourt, Taylor is going to have to handle the majority of the playmaking from the guard position.

He was in fine form Wednesday, dishing out five assists to zero turnovers.

"With Jordan, he has to be a constant for us," Ryan said. "The experience that he gained last year, that is a valuable commodity to have a guy with the kind of experience that he gained. And he plans on using that to help the team."


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