Men's basketball notes: Chambliss steps up again

Wilkinson's all-around play helps key 66-37 win over UW-Milwaukee

For the fifth-straight game, the shots were falling for senior Sharif Chambliss. In 33 minutes, the University of Wisconsin's starting point guard tallied a game- and season-high 21 points on 5 of 9 shooting. He connected on 3 of 4 from 3-point territory and hit all eight of his free throw attempts.

For a team struggling to find any consistency offensively to start the game, UW jumped on Chambliss' back as he scored 13 of team's first 18 points. Chambliss' output stemmed from his aggressiveness and ability to keep the defense guessing as to whether he was going to penetrate or step back for a deep jumper. The Badgers benefited from his ability to orchestrate the offense and set up good opportunities

"I felt pretty good tonight," Chambliss said. "I've been putting in the extra reps in practice. I guess the basket felt pretty big tonight. But I thought it was all sparked by our defense."

The senior's performance Wednesday continued a stretch of five games in which Chambliss has been a major contributor for head coach Bo Ryan's team. In the last five games, Chambliss is averaging 15.0 points per game and has made 16 of 28 3-point attempts.

Chambliss has now scored in double figures in five consecutive games and is averaging 15 points per contest during that stretch.

Wilkinson picks up all-around play

As much as senior Mike Wilkinson struggled versus Marquette Saturday, he was not going to let that stop him from coming out and stepping up his game Wednesday night at home.

Despite not shooting well from the field (4 of 13), Wilkinson elevated the rest of his game to compensate and proved to be a major contributor in Wisconsin's win. On top of scoring 10 points, Wilkinson grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds and blocked three shots in the Badgers' 29-point win. It was Wilkinson's second double-double of the season and the 11th of his career.

But more than that, his stability on the floor on both of ends of the court was what helped the Badgers the most in the win over UW-Milwaukee. After a lower leg injury obviously bothered him last weekend, Wilkinson came out and played 32 solid minutes.

Typical of Wilkinson, in his eyes, the credit goes to the entire team effort.

"We did a good job coming out tonight and getting rebounds, playing good defense, defending the open person. We did a good job with a lot of little things tonight and especially coming off a loss, that's really what you want to try and do."

Badgers' win board battle

After getting out-rebounded by 16 against the Golden Eagles last weekend, the Badger players felt things would have to change on the glass Wednesday night to get the team on the right track.

As a group, the Badgers grabbed nine more total rebounds than the Panthers and snagged 13 boards on the offensive end of the court. While maintaining the edge on the glass was imperative to dictating the tempo, the added aggressiveness in rebounding helped UW create its own opportunities for second shots and also limited second-chance opportunities for UWM.

"Coach stresses a lot in practice we need to rebound," sophomore Alando Tucker said. "That's where you learn from your mistakes. We didn't rebound well the game before so we wanted to come back and big impression on a team that we're going to get out and rebound, because that's what we need to do."

In addition to Wilkinson, the Badgers had four other players that grabbed at least four rebounds in the game, including Tucker's nine.

"We were getting our hands on more balls, we were keeping the ball alive on the offensive end," Ryan said. "On the defensive end, we maintained position a little bit better than we have in some other games."

Effort keys strong defensive performance

Four days removed from getting lit up by Marquette guard Travis Diener, the Badgers reestablished their physical play and dictated the game with their defense.

Sparked by the defensive pressure of Chambliss and senior guard Clayton Hanson, the Badgers denied UWM's guards from the start, which in turn prevented the Panthers from ever really getting going offensively.

"Wisconsin basketball—they play defense and they do things that clearly frustrate us, clearly," UW-Milwaukee head coach Bruce Pearl said. "We did not a play well and a lot of that had to do with how they guarded us."

As a team, the Panthers only mustered 14 field goals in the game and shot a season low 25.5 percent from the field. Much of Milwaukee's inept play on defense stemmed from the inabilities of their guards to contribute in any way.

After giving up 29 points to senior Travis Diener of Marquette last Saturday, the Badgers held UWM's top two scorers, Joah Tucker and Ed McCants, to a combined 5-of-24 shooting and 14 points. Even when the shots were wide open—as they were at times early in the game—the duo just could not connect and help carry their team.

"We don't have Travis Diener to score," Pearl said. "Marquette had a hard time scoring on Wisconsin too except Travis Diener could score on anybody and he's done that against just about everybody."

For the Badgers, they feel their success in stopping the Panthers' top two threats is because of fundamentals.

"We did a good job making them take tough shots and once they did take tough shots, not giving them second ones," Wilkinson said. "They had to work for everything they got and when you play defense, that's your goal."


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