Wisconsin's defense badgers Gophers

Humphries stuck in gear, on the way out?

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Wisconsin had two main defensive focuses Friday: keep Michael Bauer from getting comfortable and stop Kris Humphries from getting quality touches.

 

The Badgers succeeded in both regards, holding Minnesota's top offensive weapons to a mere 21 points total on 9 of 26 shooting.

 

In a 63-52 win over Purdue Thursday, Bauer scored 16 points, including 4 of 10 from 3-point range. Friday, though, the senior forward was held to nine points and made just 1 of 6 from beyond the arc.

 

"They pressured me on the 3s, so I had no good looks," said Bauer, who did lead all players with 11 rebounds. "That's the Wisconsin defense, they will make you look for your shot."

 

Minnesota had a hard time even getting shots against Wisconsin, which came up with 13 steals and forced 19 turnovers. 

 

"We had a lot of turnovers today and it is hard to whittle a lead without our making plays back to back," Bauer said.

 

Fresh off a 20-point, 15-rebound performance, Humphries had a respectable 12 points and nine rebounds, but struggled to be a consistent weapon.

 

"We were trying to keep him from getting the ball because (coach Bo Ryan) always says that if he can't get the ball, he can't score," Wisconsin junior forward Mike Wilkinson said. "But the guards did a great job playing the passers and that gave us time to move around. So, when he did get open, the couldn't get the ball to him. He hit a couple of tough shots and got a couple rebounds for put-backs, but most of his points were tough jump shots."

 

"I struggled to get in the flow offensively," Humphries said. "I was a little bit tired coming into this game. You have to give credit to the defense and the other guys on this team who were able to help me stay in the game and keep it close."

 

Interior presence almost makes difference

 

One player who stepped up for Minnesota was Jeff Hagen, who was Johnny on the spot with four easy layups, each following Badger defensive lapses and/or Gopher offensive rebounds.

 

Minnesota matched Wisconsin's 36 points in the paint Friday and outrebounded the Badgers 35-31. The Gophers hung around for most of the game, but could not maintain momentum long enough to really make a push.

 

"They are a terrific team and we were struggling offensively the whole time," Hagen said. "We rely way too much on defense. We play very good defense and we work our butts off but when we couldn't score they just were able to increase their lead. We'd battle back and we'd go back on another scoring drought. They'd increase the lead again. It was frustrating."

 

Will he stay or will he go?

 

Humphries was asked repeatedly following Friday's game whether he was now headed to the NBA and he consistently answered in a wait-and-see manner.

 

"I'm not sure. I have no idea," Humphries said. "All I know right now is that we've got the senior banquet on Monday and I'm going give to respect to the guys.

 

"To be able to have a conclusion for you I would have had to have been thinking about that throughout this time and I've been focusing on the team so I can't give you a time frame or anything yet," Humphries added. "I'm just focusing on seeing the seniors out to the banquet on Monday.

 

"I have no idea. I think it is fair for myself to assess all options but I'm not really worried about that right now. I'm just enjoying the time I have left with the guys that are leaving."

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Complete coverage

Wilkinson, Harris too much for Gophers - game story

Michigan State downs Wildcats - Spartans tip off with UW at 3:05 p.m. CST Saturday

Badger game notes

Wisconsin's defense badgers Gophers - Minnesota notes

Photo gallery 1 - Michael Conroy

Photo gallery 2 - Darron Cummings

Photo gallery 3 - Matthew Kutz

Wisconsin 66, Minnesota 52 - line score

Illinois, Michigan advance - Tip off at 12:40 p.m. CST Saturday

Big Ten Tournament bracket

 


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