It may have taken the offense a couple minutes to get going against Colgate but once Jordan Taylor made the first shot, the offense was off and running. Taylor ended up being more aggressive against Colgate in the first half than he was against Kennesaw State in the home opener. He was looking for his shot more, which is good to see because he was getting his teammates involved more in the past two games. He scored all of his nine points in the first half.
Ben Brust had another nice game, coming out red-hot making his first two three's. He ended up going 4-for-8 from distance and finished with a team-high and new career-high 17 points.
Jared Berggren is definitely not afraid to take the three if he's open. In the first half he went 1-4 and to start the second half his first two shots ended up being three's. I know Berggren has the ability to make the three but as a Badgers fan, do you really want your center to be attempting six threes? Berggren ended up having nine points and seven rebounds to go along with a block.
Unlike in the first half where they got off to a fast start, the second half was a different story with the offense only able to get two points in the first eight minutes. You can expect cold spells on offense but there's some question for concern. After the 12-minute media timeout, the offense started to pick up their game with a 13-4 run. Overall, the Badgers shot 44.3 percent from the field. They did a good job of using their size to their advantage getting 40 rebounds to Colgate's 26. One area that's concerning is the free throw line. The Badgers were able to get to the line 14 times against the Raiders, but only managed to make four attempts. When you get to the charity stripe, you have to convert and get the free points.
The defense made a couple of nice plays against Colgate and was able to force the Raiders in to a couple of early turnovers by picking their pockets. The Raiders had a total of 13 turnovers and held to 16-for-46 shooting (34.8 percent).
The Badgers did a good job of help defense and there's one play in particular, which occurred in the first half, that demonstrated good team defense. Freshman Frank Kaminsky got screened on the play and couldn't get through the screen, which ended up leaving his man open for an easy layup, but Mike Bruesewitz stepped in and took the charge.
There's another play that occurred in the first half that showed bad discipline on Ryan Evans part. He committed a foul on Sterling Melville while Melville was in the act of shooting a three. Evans is a good defender and he should know better not to foul a three-point shooter. Melville missed all three of his shots at the free throw line but a team can't make mistakes like that. The other thing was that it was Evans second foul of the game, which meant he had to finish out the half on the bench.
Foul aside, Evans did play a nice game defensively, able to get four steals, five defensive rebounds and one blocked shot.
There are definitely a lot of teaching points for Bo Ryan to go over with his team. They played well at times and other times weren't as crisp with the ball as they should be.
Kaminsky was the first freshman off the bench, receiving 10 minutes of action and scoring four points off of put backs. Kaminsky should end up being a good player for Wisconsin in time but at times looked lost on the offensive end. If he's going to be the back-up big man to Berggren, he has to know the offense and not be afraid to get physical.
Traevon Jackson again showed why he'll receive some minutes this coming year. He's much more comfortable in the offense and he knows where he needs to be. As the season goes along and the competition starts to improve, it will be interesting to see how Ryan uses Jackson. Jackson ended up playing eight minutes and connected on his only shot of the night, which was a three.
You also have to give credit to the Wisconsin bench tonight, as well. They were able to chip in 30 of the 68 points. Brust was able to score 17 of the 30 but Rob Wilson had a nice game by having six points. He may not have filled the stat sheet with points but it was the other things that made his performance tonight valuable. He was being aggressive on both sides of the floor but he was being smart about his decisions, as well, which must have made Ryan pleased to see.
Game MVP: Ben Brust. For the third game in a row Brust receives the MVP honors. He was able to eclipse his career high, which were 13 that he set against Kennesaw State and scored 17. One thing will be interesting to see is when people get enough game tape on Brust to see how he adjusts individually. In the game of basketball you can be great on the offensive side but you also have to be a good defender. It's hard to know where Brust has made strides from a year ago, considering the competition he has played against so far, but he did manage to steal the ball twice in the game.