In an exhibition game where Bo Ryan is trying to solidify his team, it's hard to show off any chemistry between rotations. But whichever rotation lined up, coach Bo Ryan had some sort of success against the Pointers of UW-Stevens Point.
Senior Jordan Taylor had a good game offensively and seemed more concerned about getting his teammates involved than trying to find his own shot. Taylor played 30 minutes and ended up with eight points along with seven assists and only one turnover.
Forward Ryan Evans had an impressive game. At times last year, Evans would take shots that left fans scratching their head. Against the Pointers, Evans took shots that were high-percentage shots. Evans led the Badgers in scoring with 16 points on 70 percent shooting. He ended his night with an impressive alley-oop from Taylor.
Sophomore guard Ben Brust, who had an impressive scrimmage on Sunday, had another impressive game for the Badgers. Brust was the first one off the bench to start each half. Brust showed his willingness to attack the rim a couple of times throughout the game. I know it's early but what we've seen from Brust so far has to be encouraging. Brust ended the game with 14 points in 25 minutes of work.
It's important to mention freshman Traevon Jackson, as well. He was the first freshman off the bench for Ryan and played 17 minutes, which was the most amongst the freshman. Every minute he got he earned, as Jackson didn't have any mental errors on either side. At one point in the game, he was running a fast break and he was able to find a nice passing lane to get the ball to Jared Berggren (12 points) for an easy dunk. Jackson was later rewarded by knocking down a three in the first half, finishing with five points and two assists.
Overall the Badgers shot 49 percent (29-of-60) , but only went 50 percent (6-of-12) from the free throw line.
I thought the defense had a good game overall. The Badgers' defense was able to force the Pointers in to 18 turnovers and held the Pointers to 46.5 percent field goal percentage in the game, much better results considering the Pointers shot 61.9 percent in the first half. One of the main reasons for the high percentage in the first half was because the defense wasn't closing in on shooters and weren't doing a good job of hedging screens. But the Badgers defense was able to lock down in the second half holding the Pointers to 7-22 shooting from the floor.
One player who had a good game defensively was Berggren, who managed three steals in the game. In two of his three steals, he was able to manage to step in front of his matchup and make the steal. One of the concerns with Berggren coming into this year was his footwork, but neither time drew a foul with his aggressive defense.
Evans was also active on the defensive side of the floor with three steals to go along with three defensive rebounds. A dominating defense might seem to be the theme again for Ryan's group.
It's not a great measuring stick for the Badgers but it's good to see the team play again and look good. If the Badgers didn't dominate the Pointers, then it would be a little bit concerning.
At times in the second half the Badgers got a little sloppy taking care of the basketball and there shot selection was questionable at times, but the Badgers did some nice things overall. There's enough teaching moments for Ryan to prepare for the season opener next Saturday against Kennesaw State.
It's hard to know which freshmen are going to play and which ones are going to redshirt. Although it's up to the players whether or not they redshirt, it seems like Traevon Jackson and Jarrod Uthoff will see the floor in some capacity this coming season. Uthoff was the second freshmen off the bench and he finished up with five points and four rebounds in seven minutes of work.
Game MVP: Ben Brust. Evans is definitely a candidate for game MVP but Ben Brust had an impressive game. Brust finished the game with 14 points and showed he wasn't afraid to attack the rim. It seems like Brust is playing with much more confidence this year. Not only did he attack the rim, Brust was active on the defensive side of the floor in grabbing four of his six rebounds on the defensive side of the floor, but the one stat Ryan will appreciate is zero turnovers. As of right now it looks like Brust will be Wisconsin's sixth man for the year.