How fitting that they both waited for the game all Wisconsin sports fans circle on their calendars.
Hughes and Landry made a huge impact on today's game in all aspects on the court and helped carry the Badgers to an impressive road victory against the Golden Eagles of Marquette.
In Wisconsin's nine previous games, Hughes' skills had hardly been utilized on the court. With his season high in minutes (16) and points (8) coming in a blowout victory over Southern, Hughes was relegated to garbage time and excluded from the starting rotation. In fact, Hughes wasn't even used in the Badgers overtime victory against Winthrop, which begged the question if the Badger coaches were displeased with Hughes' performance in practice or in games.
Leave it to Bo Ryan, however, to keep everyone guessing.
Hughes found himself on the court for 18 minutes against Marquette, matching the Golden Eagles' speed for speed. Constantly cutting and driving to the lane, Hughes was able to jump start Wisconsin's offense throughout the game and did it without scoring a single field goal.
"Trevon played a heck of a game today," Landry said. "Everything was on point for him and he came in, attacked and had some good passes. I am really proud of him, as a freshman, playing in a tough game like this and stepping it up."
"[Trevon] has so much potential and he doesn't even realize it yet," Tucker said. "Coach Ryan is starting to bring it out of him and you can see it. A lot of players can get discourage when they aren't getting a lot of minutes. We always stress that as seniors to push that effort out of him. He's going to a great player for the University of Wisconsin."
With Hughes making plays on the court, fellow freshman Jason Bohannon, much like Hughes against Winthrop, found himself delegated to the bench. Bohannon, who was averaging 17.8 minutes and 4.7 points coming off the bench, never took off his warm-ups on Saturday afternoon. The reason for playing Hughes, according to Bo Ryan, and not Bohannon was that Hughes simply matched up better against Marquette's speedy guards.
"In this type of game, call it a gut feeling, I thought Trevon, in this type of game with the type of players that James, McNeil and Matthews are, was the guy who can stick his nose in there and [make plays]," Ryan said. "Jason Bohannon can do some things better than Trevon, but Trevon's feet are better … For him to come in and take care of the ball and do some of the things he did, that was huge."
The same could be said about sophomore Marcus Landry, who has been quiet this season since regaining his eligibility. While Landry's 11 points were a season-high and an unexpected boost to Wisconsin's offense, it was his four monstrous blocks that energized the Wisconsin players.
"Marcus had some unbelievable blocks that saved our guards," Kammron Taylor said. "One play that stands out is when he chased the guy down the court. He swung with one hand, the guy reversed it and he knocked the ball with the other hand. It's good to have that energy from everybody."
Despite Landry wearing a smile on his face throughout the post-game press conference, he remained humble by his performance on the court.
"I'm just in the game to do what it takes to help my team," Landry said.
Live by the James, Die by the Three
One of the keys to tonight's game for Wisconsin was how well the Badgers could defend star sophomore Dominic James and if Wisconsin could shut down Marquette's perimeter shooting.
While the Badgers claim not to have done anything drastically different, Marquette was out-of-sorts offensively. James was limited to only two points in the first half and finished the game with 19, but shot poorly from the court, finishing 7-for-19. Marquette also couldn't connect from the perimeter, shooting an abysmal 16.7 percent (3-for-18) from beyond the arc.
"They made it tough for us to make shots and we didn't make it tough enough for them," Marquette head coach Tom Crean said.
While Ryan said that it was a team effort making Marquette work for their shots, he pointed the finger at Michael Flowers, who has been creating fits for opponent's all-season long.
"If you don't have that type of effort [from Flowers], you aren't going to stop a team like Marquette," Ryan said. "That's two pretty good teams and I had a pretty good seat."
Player of the Game
A lot of Badgers are deserving of the player of the game award for numerous reasons. Both Hughes and Landry had their best games for the season, Flowers continued to create havoc for opposing offenses and Kammron Taylor chipped in for a quiet 13 points and played solid the entire game.
But you would be a fool not to give it to Tucker, who ultimately crippled Marquette with his hot shooting touch throughout the evening.
"We just kept feeing the ball to Tucker because he had the hot hand," Taylor said. "Tucker was hot and he carried us."
It's tough to choose one turning point in the game. While Tucker's two big lay-ups in the final 90 seconds and the Badgers 17-5 in the first half that put Wisconsin up for good are worthy choices, the turning point of the game was Michael Flowers drawing an offensive foul on Ousmane Barro early in the second half.
Already playing with three fouls and having just secured a defensive rebound, Barro felt the pressure from Flowers and nicked him in the chin with his right elbow as he tried to create room for himself. Flowers was knocked to the floor and an offensive foul was whistled, forcing Crean to take out his center. Whether the foul was a cheap one or not, it sent Marquette's best big man to the bench at the 17:46 mark and allowed the Badgers to continue scoring in the paint.
Stat of the Game
The paid attendance for today's game was 19,020, which signified the largest crowd ever to see a college basketball game in the state of Wisconsin.
Wisconsin wraps up their in-state rivalry games when the Badgers host the UW-Milwaukee Panthers on Wednesday night at the Kohl Center. The Panthers (2-8) have struggled this season after losing their entire starting lineup to graduation. UWM is lead by Avery Smith (15.9 ppg) and Paige Paulsen (10.9 ppg). UWM plays Youngstown State at home on Sunday before traveling to Madison.
Wisconsin leads the all-time series against UWM 22-1, with their lone loss to the Panthers happening in Madison in December 1992.