"They were patient offensively, disciplined offensively, the way they exploit you defensively—they are very sound," UC-Santa Barbara (1-1) head coach Bob Williams said. "They are a very well-coached team, they execute and I was very impressed with Coach [Bo] Ryan's ball club."
Hanson scored a team-high 18 points on 7 of 9 shooting, including a 4-for-6 from beyond the arc. Morley scored 14 points on 4 of 7 shooting, 4 of 6 from three-point range. Sophomore forward Alando Tucker added 16 points and seven rebounds.
The two senior roommates, Morley and Hanson, stood out in the game and were able to make their impacts in different spurts—Morley in the first half off the bench and Hanson to start the second stanza—but both at critical junctures in the contest.
With UW struggling to find any consistency on the offensive end, Ryan went to his bench early looking for a spark and got one in the senior forward Morley. Following a near four-minute drought early in the game, Morley stepped in and connected on his first three-point shot to give UW a 5-2 edge.
After UC-Santa Barbara forced a turnover and connected on a bucket in return to cut UW's lead to 10-9, Morley stepped up again and knocked down back-to-back trifectas in a one-minute span to maintain the Badgers' slim lead. Later in the half he connected on his fourth attempt and finished the first 20 minutes with 12 points on four of five shooting from downtown. He also snagged five of the Badgers' 11 first-half rebounds.
His effort in the first half was much of the reason for UW's 34-26 lead entering halftime.
"I love how feisty he is, the way he played the game. He's scrappy, balanced," Williams said. "In terms of his game, he can take you off the dribble, he can score inside a little bit, and he'll hit the open shot…I just wonder at halftime if they had a raffle to see who got to come out in the second half and knock down four threes. Morley won the first, they gave it to Hanson in the second half."
Right away to start the second half, Hanson started doing what he does best: hitting the open shot. Barely more than a minute into the second period, with the help of solid passes from the Badgers' big men, Hanson connected on his first two attempts of the half and in the process helped build UW's lead to double-digits for the first time all game.
Within the first four minutes of the second period, the senior guard connected on three of four shots and clearly generated the momentum UW needed to separate itself from the squad from California. Wisconsin led by as many as 17 points in the second half but needed Hanson's three with 4:04 left to silence a UC-Santa Barbara run, giving the Badgers a 66-56 lead.
"He got open and in basketball, you don't get open that often," Ryan said. "But that was when the older guys used the ball fakes, turned the ball either through the post or through the top and moving it before the defender could get to him. So the credit goes to the other four jerseys that worked the ball and got it to him when he was wide open. That was the key."
Morley's and Hanson's shooting success, and the Badgers' ability to get the ball inside to their forwards, forced the Gauchos to switch between man defense and zone.
"We had to go to zone so much because you saw how badly they exploited our man at the start of the second half," Williams said. "You can't guard them one-on-one inside. Tucker's too good inside… They're too much for us to handle, so we were running the doubles at them… Wisconsin did a great job of just facing up and picking us apart on the weak side, and that's where, they come out at the start of the second half and (Hanson) hits the four threes on us."
Both Morley's and Hanson's shooting opened up the lanes and created shots down low in the inside-outside game.
"Zach started us off early and that really helped to get them out of their zone, so they had to stretch it out and Clayton [hit shots] in the second half, so it opened it up, opened the lanes up," forward Alando Tucker said.
After not practicing for two days, Tucker hit 7 of 11 field goal attempts and played a team-high 36 minutes.
For the contest, the Badgers shot 56.3 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from downtown. As a team the Badgers hoisted 18 three-point attempts, but all eight makes came from Hanson and Morley, who were each 4 of 6.
With a strong performance from UC-Santa Barbara big man Casey Cook and his game-high 21 points, the Gauchos proved to be a formidable foe for the Badgers prior to their first road game. UW will take a lot from Tuesday night's game as they head west to visit Pepperdine Saturday.
"Defensively, [the Gauchos] were pretty tough to guard," Hanson said. "They were pretty efficient with their offense, especially the perimeter guys and their handoffs—they ran that as well as anybody we'll probably see. Their posts played a great game too. So, all those things will be something we'll see in the future."