Notebook: Frosh contain Vukusic

Krabbenhoft and Landry hold down Big Ten's leading scorer; Chappell battling foul trouble

MADISON—With the Big Ten's leading scorer in town, who would you call on to defend him? If you were the Wisconsin Badgers Saturday, you turned to a pair of true freshman—Joe Krabbenhoft and Marcus Landry—to contain Northwestern star Vedran Vukusic.

Vukusic entered the Saturday's matchup averaging 21.8 points and shooting 55 percent from the field. But Krabbenhoft, a 6-foot-6 forward, and Landry, a 6-7 forward, helped hold Vukusic to 15 points on 6 of 15 shooting.

"On VV I thought they did an excellent job because they made him work," UW coach Bo Ryan said, following his team's 68-52 win over the visiting Wildcats. "You have to make him work. He's such a good player… We just tried to make him work for what he gets."

The Badgers opened the game with 6-foot-10 starting center Jason Chappell checking Vukusic. But Chappell played less than seven minutes due to foul trouble. He sat the final 16:45 of the first half after picking up two quick personals, and he sat the final 16:57 of the game after being whistled for his third foul.

As a result, primary responsibility for Vukusic fell to Landry and Krabbenhoft, who combined to play 36 minutes off the bench. They more than held their own, tailing Vukusic all over the floor, through Northwestern's myriad screens and cuts. Vukusic had few open looks.

"They rotated guys in on him. That's how I saw it. They played him hard," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. "Still, I thought he missed some shots that he normally makes. He had some pretty good looks on some 3s and missed them. I didn't think he was really missing that badly. It's just that he was forced to take a few shots that normally I don't think he would."

Krabbenhoft earning more time

Through 14 games, Krabbenhoft was averaging 10.5 minutes. In UW's last two games, however, the Badgers' have relied heavily on him off the bench. After playing 24 minutes at Minnesota Tuesday, Krabbenhoft was on the floor for 22 minutes Saturday.

Asked why Krabbenhoft is receiving more minutes as of late, Ryan turned rhetorical.

"You really think I've got to answer that?" Ryan said. "He just works. He's aggressive, but intelligent aggression. He stuck with our rules—all except for two situations….

"The energy, the basketball IQ that he comes with. It's so refreshing in life to have people who are just so happy to play, but never take it for granted, and will always work to get better. Joe's one of those guys that has questions. He does not have all the answers. They're easy to coach."

Krabbenhoft snagged six rebounds Saturday, giving him 14 over the past two games.

Streak of foul trouble for Chappell

Chappell typically draws the defensive assignment on the opponent's best frontcourt player. In the past five games, however, Chappell has struggled with foul trouble. In that stretch, he has been called for four personals three times, and three personals twice.

Saturday's seven official minutes played was Chappell's least amount of playing time this season. After playing at least 21 minutes in nine straight games, Chappell's minutes have read 13, 20, 15, 7 in UW's past four outings.

"The way people bang in the post, there are times everything could be a foul and times where they let them play," Ryan said. "I think Jason's one of those guys that's still working on realizing…. I know at times he feels, ‘Well, wait a minute, at the other end the guy just did the same thing to me, and here—' It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. They were called and he's got to keep working at it. So he just needs to keep working on his feet, which puts you in better position, which makes it easier for you to get stops."

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