Men's hoops notes: free throw by subtraction

Badgers benefit at the line; Williams provides energy off the bench; Flowers' tale of two halves

The referees and official scorekeepers at the Kohl Center Thursday night managed a tricky feat: they turned back time.

The official scorebook from Wisconsin's win over UW-Milwaukee shows Badger guard Michael Flowers making 1 of 2 free throws with 1:22 left to play, giving Wisconsin a 66-60 lead.

In reality, though, Flowers' free throws were shot with 21 fewer ticks on the game clock, and put UW up 66-63.

With 1:22 left to play a foul was called and the referees sent Kammron Taylor to the free-throw line. The UW-Milwaukee bench was beside itself in its displeasure, asserting that Flowers was the player who should be at the line.

Taylor made both charity shots, temporarily giving Wisconsin a 67-60 lead. Chris Hill then made a 3-pointer with 1:01 left, soliciting an immediate timeout from UW-Milwaukee.

During the timeout, the referees conferred and, after a several minute delay, determined that, indeed, Flowers was the player who should have taken the free throws. As a result of what is considered a correctable error, Taylor's two points were removed from the board and Flowers stepped to the line—without other players around the lane.

"What happened was they put the wrong guy on the free-throw line," UW-Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter said. "So at that point what they have to do is, once they find and it's a correctible error, they have to take the points off of the board, put the right person on the free-throw line to shoot it, and then pick up the play from where it is."

"They went back and they checked it and they said the foul on the baseline was first, and that (Flowers) was the shooter," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "So the points come off, you shoot them with nobody around the free-throw line. And it's not a very good rule in basketball. But it's the rule. They got it right, I guess."

No explanation was broadcast over the public address system, creating the impression that Flowers was shooting technical foul shots. Flowers made 1 of 2, increasing the Badgers suddenly more narrow lead from 65-63 to 66-63, after which the crowd began to bellow that the score was incorrect, believing that it should be 68-63. Eventually, the public address announcer did offer an explanation.

Badgers' charity stripe benefit

Wisconsin nearly always wins the free-throw battle, but that advantage has been particularly pronounced during the current homestand. In the past four games, the Badgers have been called for 58 fouls, while their opponents have been whistled for 100. As a result, UW has outscored its opponents 66-34 at the charity stripe.

Thursday, UW made 20 of 30 free throws, while the Panthers were 10 of 12. The Badgers did a good job of aggressively attacking the paint and helped create serious foul trouble for UWM. Joah Tucker and Avery Smith fouled out, while Adrian Tigert and Chris Hill were each called for four fouls.

Wisconsin struggled to make field goals early in the second half but was in the bonus with 13:17 left to play and began to march to the free-throw line. The Badgers made 16 of 22 in the second half.

Flowers steps up in second half

UW reserve guard Michael Flowers picked up two quick fouls and only played one minute in the first half Thursday.

With Flowers, who entered the game third on the team in minutes, relegated to the bench, the Badgers' backcourt flexibility was severely constrained. Facing UW-Milwaukee's full-court pressure, starting point guard Kammron Taylor was forced to play 39 of 40 minutes.

"Mike getting in foul trouble obviously had us use Kam Taylor maybe a little more," Ryan said. "We could have subbed him maybe for four or five minutes. But we don't always get what we want, so we have to work around it."

Flowers was a significant factor in the second half, playing 16 of 20 minutes and contributing six points, two assists and two turnovers. His 3-pointer as the shot clock expired capped a 10-0 run to give UW a 61-52 lead with 5:56 left to play.

Mr. Energy

Among the 10 Badgers who played Thursday, redshirt freshman forward DeAaron Williams' seven minutes was tied for the fewest. However, in that time on the floor Williams made his presence felt, scoring three points and grabbing a pair of key offensive rebounds.

With less than nine minutes left in the first half, Williams hustled after a long rebound and helped work the ball to Taylor, who found forward Alando Tucker for a layup to make it 28-12 UW.

With 8:57 left in the game, Williams grabbed his second offensive rebound, then drew a foul and made 1 of 2 to tie it at 52-52. Wisconsin would rattle off the next nine points.

Good beginning

After winning four home games in eight days, Wisconsin is 9-1, its best start since opening the 2000-01 season 10-1.

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