Wisconsin turned in another solid defensive effort Monday night en route to beating UW- Green Bay 70-56 to finish off a sweep of its three in-state rivals.
Green Bay shot just 40 percent for the game, including just 28.6 percent in the first half when Wisconsin put a comfortable lead the Phoenix were never able to overcome. Green Bay made just three field goals and scored eight points during the final 10 minutes, 53 seconds of the first half.
"Especially the second part of the first half, we stepped up our energy on defense and you could kind of feel we were getting them to take tough shots," UW forward Jon Leuer said. "A lot of times they were in late shot clock situations, so they had to force up some shots."
The Badgers held senior Byrquis Perine to just six points, nearly seven off of his season average. Perine didn't make a field goal until just 5:35 left in the second half.
Supporting cast does it again
It's no secret Wisconsin's success this season will largely hinge on how much help Leuer and Jordan Taylor get at the offensive end.
Monday night, Leuer and Taylor got plenty of it.
Senior forward Keaton Nankivil turned in his third consecutive game in double digits, scoring 16 points on five of six shooting and going two for two from the free throw line.
After scoring just two points in Saturday's game against Marquette, Mike Bruesewitz set a career high with 18 points. Bruesewitz made six of eight field goals, including four of five from behind the arc. He also appeared confident attacking the rim off the dribble, an element of his game he hasn't shown much of to this point.
"I said before the game when we were watching film, he's the X-factor to this game, he really is," Green Bay head coach Brian Wardle said. "I told them, I'd like to see him beat us, and see if he could beat us. … He proved tonight he could beat people."
Big game from big freshman
It was no surprise that Rahmon Fletcher led Green Bay in scoring with 18. After all, he's averaged 17 per game this season.
What was somewhat surprising was Alec Brown scored 18 as well for the Phoenix.
Brown, a 7-foot-1 freshman, showed command of a variety of post moves and was highly efficient, making eight of 11 shots from the field and two of two from the free throw line. Add to that the eight rebounds he grabbed, and it's the type of performance that hints at more down the line
"We knew he had good touch from the midrange, but he definitely proved that he could score a little bit down low," Nankivil said. "He hit a couple turnaround jumpers over guards when we had to switch off because of different screens, but he played hard."
Wisconsin now has 10 days off before its next game against Coppin State Dec. 23. Off the court, the Badgers will study for and take finals. On the court, they'll be working on what head coach Bo Ryan called the three Ls: lifting, lungs and legs. In other words, conditioning.
Nankivil was holding out some hope that his showing tonight might put him in the good graces of one of his professors.
"I noticed actually on of my teachers for this semester was introduced during a timeout," Nankivil said. "I wasn't aware he was going to be introduced, but I'll have to see since we were both at the game if that has any bearing on when the finals taking place."