Badgers Take Hot Streak To Vegas

The Badgers defeated North Dakota 85-53 Tuesday while Wisconsin guard Jordan Taylor and the Badgers have been humming along on offense, averaging over 90 points a game in their first two contests.

Madison – There's nothing like riding a hot streak into Vegas.

Wisconsin shot 62 percent from the field for the game, assisted on 20 of 31 made field goals and easily did away with visiting North Dakota 85-53.

Senior forward Jon Leuer led the way for the Badgers, scoring 22 and adding six rebounds and seven assists. Frontcourt partner Keaton Nankivil added 17 points on seven of eight shooting and sophomore Ryan Evans led four other Badgers in double figures with 11 points.

Now, the Badgers can only hope their heater carries over to Sin City and their game against UNLV Saturday.

"You get on the road, you get to Vegas … now we'll see what we can take from these exhibition games and two non-conference games," UW head coach Bo Ryan said.

The Badgers could've faltered when Taylor went to the bench with two fouls with 8:37 left in the first half. With limited experience in the ranks of his guard depth, Ryan put the keys to the offense in the hands of freshman Josh Gasser and walk-on senior Wquinton Smith, and with great success.

Wisconsin scored six of the next eight points to push their lead from 11 to 15 points and later finished the half on a 9-2 run. Wisconsin's lead was never less than 13 points for the final 23 minutes of the game.

Encouraging for Wisconsin was the way Gasser and Smith controlled the offense in Taylor's absence. Neither committed a turnover during the first half, and Gasser, given the starting nod in just his second collegiate game, had four assists.

"I thought they did a good job of keeping us within what we try to do offensively, get good shots, which we obviously did," Ryan said. "Any time you take care of the ball and you're getting in the right places, that's always welcome."

Ryan faced another decision when Taylor picked up his third foul just two minutes into the second half. This time Ryan showed faith in his floor leader, and Taylor didn't commit a foul the rest of the game and finished with four assists and no turnovers.

Much like the second half of their season opener against Prairie View A&M, the Wisconsin defense was airtight Tuesday. The Badgers held the Sioux to just 38 percent shooting for the game, and took North Dakota out of the game early by forcing nine first-half turnovers. North Dakota finished the game with just .85 points per possession.

The Badgers made things difficult for the Sioux inside by relying heavily on a big line up. Five UW players 6-foot-6 or taller played 18 or more minutes, helping UW outrebound the Sioux 31-20 and hold UND to 22 points in the paint. In contrast, Wisconsin scored 40 in the lane.

"They really dominated within the paint," North Dakota head coach Brian Jones said. "With us, with our lack of size and strength, I thought they did a tremendous job getting the ball in the paint regardless of the position and were very efficient on the offensive end."

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