Game Day Grades: Minnesota

MADISON - After an ugly first half, No.14 Wisconsin found its offense thanks to Jordan Taylor, who scored 17 of his game-high 22 points in the second half to lead the Badgers to a seven-point victory over Minnesota. Badger Nation hands out the grades.

Offense: C-

The Badgers' offense struggled mightily in the first half … what else would you call making four field goals in the first 20 minutes. Wisconsin knocked down its first three shots so it was surprising to see the Badgers go cold the rest of the half. The Badgers shot better in the second half though, getting their final shooting percentage up to 30.8 percent (12-for-39) from the floor.

Wisconsin was able to reach the bonus quickly in the second half by the 14:25 mark. You would think with the Badgers being in the bonus so early, the Badgers would attack the rim, try to get to the free throw line and get some easy points, especially considering the way Wisconsin was shooting the basketball. However the Badgers didn't look to be the aggressor they ended up with four points in the paint. The Badgers ended up going 22-for-29 (75.9 percent) from the charity stripe, including going 11-for-15 after the bonus.

Jared Berggren left right where he left off against Ohio State by knocking down a three to open up the scoring for the Badgers. Although Berggren did not play as well as he did against the Buckeyes, he did finish with five points and seven rebounds.

The Badgers ended up having two players score in double figures. Jordan Taylor led the way with 22 points going 4-for-9 from the floor. Taylor also was able to get to the free throw line 12 times and knock down 11 of his free throws. Ryan Evans was the other player to reach double digits in scoring with 12 points.

Wisconsin did a good job of taking care of the basketball against the Gophers by turning the ball over only eight times.

Defense: B

I don't know if it was that poor of shooting on Minnesota's part or good defense by the Badgers (probably a little bit of both), but the Gophers went 12-for-39 (30.8 percent) from the floor. Like the Badgers in the first half, the Gophers struggled to make a shot. The Gophers only managed to make five field goals in the first half.

The only player to catch fire in the first half was Andre Hollins. Hollins scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half and was able to get to the free throw line seven times - making all seven of his free throws. The Badgers did a much better of job of defending Hollins in the second half. The Badgers were able to limit Hollins touches and made him into a non-factor in the second half, as he shot 1-for-8 from the floor and got to the free throw line only four times.

Besides Hollins scoring in double figures, Rodney Williams chipped in with 11 points for the Gophers. The Badgers defense had a trouble of boxing out the Gophers, giving up 13 offensive rebounds and 12 second-chance points.

Despite struggling with getting defensive rebound, the Badgers also struggled with stopping the Gophers in the paint. The Gophers had 14 points in the lane compared to just four for Wisconsin.

Overall: C+

What an ugly game. Neither team played pretty considering how both teams shot the basketball, but a win is a win.

Evans once again struggled with his offensive game, but he still managed to score 12 points and contribute in other ways. Evans had eight offensive rebounds and found half of his points at the charity stripe by making all six of his free throws.

Mike Bruesewitz continued his struggles with his offensive game. Bruesewitz didn't score in the victory over Ohio State on Sunday and has been only averaging 3.6 points per game over his last five games. Against Minnesota, Bruesewitz managed to score just three points but it came off a nice aggressive drive to the hoop. Bruesewitz drove to the basket, was able to draw a foul on his layup attempt and knock down his one free throw. Although Bruesewitz hasn't been scoring of late, he has been doing the little things well for the Badgers. Bruesewitz had five rebounds and one blocked shot.

Minnesota out rebounded the Badgers 35-25. The Badgers weren't able to give their offense many second chances in the game with only five offensive rebounds and three points off second chances, but UW got seven points off 10 forced turnovers.

The Badgers were able to get eight points off of their bench. Ben Brust and Rob Wilson each had four points. Despite Wilson playing well the last two games, Wilson, like many of his teammates, had trouble finding his shot in the game.

Game MVP: Jordan Taylor. Somebody had to step up if the Badgers were going to win against the Gophers and that person was Taylor. Taylor led the Badgers with 22 points, was able to knock down some big shots to get the Badgers back in the game and assume control in the second half.

Taylor picked up two fouls in the first half and had to sit the final 6:23 in the first half. Once Taylor left the game with two fouls, the Badgers were only able to get three more points the rest of the half. Once the second half started, Taylor started to take the game over. He scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half.

Taylor was able to attack the basket and was able to get to the free throw line on a consistent basis. He went 11-12 from the charity stripe and only turned the ball over once in 32 minutes of work.


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