Wisconsin finds its mark

Badgers enjoy best shooting performance of season

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The Wisconsin men's basketball team returned home to take on Detroit Saturday and with found its offensive legs in a 68-42 win.

"We just got handled by a very good team tonight," Titans coach Perry Watson said.

Wisconsin shot 12-for-20 in the first half, leading to a season-best 48.9 percent shooting performance, the first time this season the Badgers connected on more than 38.3 percent of their shots.

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, though, was reluctant to extend too much praise to the resuscitated offense: "Well a lot of those same looks we had, they didn't quite go down like that," he said. "Maybe it was the way Detroit was playing, maybe they had a game plan of take this way, that way, we never know, we just probe. You can probe with the dribble, you can probe with the pass. I thought we did both tonight."

Four players scored in double figures, led by senior guard Freddie Owens and junior guard Devin Harris with 13 each. Center Andreas Helmigk, making his first career start, chipped in a career-high 12 points and reserve forward Zach Morley added 10. Harris ran the offense extremely well, consistently finding open teammates to the tune of nine assists. He also did not have a single turnover.

"I thought Devin did a great job drawing their defensive double team and drawing the help and finding the open guy," Ryan said. "He thinks like the head coach now when it comes to turnovers. He had one deflected and you talk about a street fight going after that loose ball, because he knew if they got that loose ball, that's a turnover. Devin was a big key in controlling the offensive tempo; pushed it when it was there, when it wasn't got the guys set."

Owens and Helmigk paced the scoring the first half; Owens hit 4-of-5 shots for a game-high nine first-half points, while Helmigk connected on all three of his shot attempts and both of his free throws.

"We know what Andreas can do, we see him every day in practice," Owens said. "It was just a matter of him showing everybody what he could do."

The Badgers did not rest on their offensive laurels, however, expanding a 30-20 halftime lead by outscoring the Titans by a 3-to-1 margin in the first seven minutes, 41 seconds of the second half to take a 51-27 lead.

Wisconsin also benefited from a strong game on the glass, converting 11 offensive rebounds to 13 second chance points.

"We tried to take advantage of every rebounding opportunity we could get," Ryan said.

Jonathan Linder contributed to this report.


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