While the two struggled to stay on the floor in the first half, they both came alive after halftime to help Wisconsin earn the 70-64 win in front of a full house at the Kohl Center on Saturday. The first half was not friendly to Wisconsin's two post players with the duo combining to play 14 minutes after each being whistled for their second foul within six seconds of each other. Not willing to risk his two primary big men picking up a third foul in the waning minutes of the half, head coach Bo Ryan to dig deep into his bench to play crucial minutes.
While neither of them scored, the duo did their job defensively, allowing the Badgers to hold a three-point lead heading into the locker room.
"I thought Evan and Zach did a great job of not letting it slip away," Ryan said. "We were not in a hole when we were down to lost last three minutes. We were hanging tough."
Ryan said those minutes were important to keep the Badgers close, while providing some toughness off the bench.
"Defensively he was trying to do the right things," Ryan added about Anderson.
Although Wisconsin was outscored in the paint (34-24) and outrebounded (34-32) in the game, the Badgers turned 13 offensive rebounds into 13 second-chance points and limited Marquette to 36 percent shooting in the first half.
The toughness without the two forwards was led by Josh Gasser (10 points, four assists), Ryan said. "They're going to let you turn the ball around the three-point line as much as you want," Marquette head coach Buzz Williams said. "The only way you can break the shell is on the baseline rotation. You do have to have quick ball reversal to have a chance."
The defense held tight, keeping Marquette to just seven assists on 25 field goals, which Williams attributed to UW's defensive effort.
"I've always thought that coach Ryan's teams were tough," Williams said. "You can look at any rivalry and it's always going to be a possession game." The Badgers forced nine turnovers and had four blocks.
Kaminsky made his presence felt in the second half, scoring the first four out of the intermission and scoring five points in a 4 minute: 20 second span to respond to a Marquette run that cut the lead to three. Kaminsky finished with 11 points and four rebounds.
"I was ready to shoot it," Jackson said. "We were running a high ball-screen … I tell him all the time ‘be ready to catch and shoot it'. That's what he does. We've got the most faith in him taking that shot."
Jackson protects the ball
While he shot under 50 percent for the fifth straight game, Jackson scored 12 points (6-for-7 on free-throws), seven assists and no turnovers in 26 minutes, helping facilitate the offense and spread the ball around with quick passes.
"He did a pretty good job of making sure we got into position to get good looks," Ryan said. "We didn't always knock them down, but I thought his court awareness against pressure … I thought he did a good job of that."
After playing admittedly poorly last season against Marquette, where he shot 1-for-6 and had four turnovers, Jackson thought his effort was better. In his previous three games, Jackson had 11 assists and three rebounds, improving his season total to 48 assists to just 19 turnovers.
"I'm just happy we got the win," Jackson said. "I'm always happy when we win. Still there were opportunities I needed to make. It's definitely good to see no turnovers [on the stat sheet]."
"Congratulations to Coach Ryan for winning his 300th game at Virginia and 301st game today. I have great respect and admiration for who he is as a person and what he's meant to our state, specifically this institution." – Marquette coach Buzz Williams.
Free Throws: Wisconsin made its final eight free throws in the final 28 seconds, and finished the game 19-for-23 (.826) from the charity stripe … Bo Ryan improved to 7-6 against Marquette and 31-7 in the in-state round robin games … UW had five players score double-digit points for the fourth time this season … Wisconsin is 127-30 (.809) in nonconference games under Ryan.