Back to Basics

After Marquette took Wisconsin out of its rhythm by winning the battle in the paint in last Saturday's defeat, the Badgers reclaimed their territory in the post, winning the battle for the paint in a decisive fashion.

MILWAUKEE – After playing 33 minutes and tallying only seven points in their home loss against rival Marquette, Marcus Landry knew that he left some points, and plenty of missed opportunities, out on the floor.

Against in-state foe Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Wisconsin offense helped the junior guard put forth his best effort.

Unlike Saturday's game where the Golden Eagles' defense took the Badgers out of their offensive balance, Wisconsin stuck to what UW does best – feed the ball inside to the big men, touch the post on every possession and shoot a high percentage.

The result of maintaining their offensive discipline was Wisconsin scoring 32 points (16 in each half) in the paint en route to a 61-39 road triumph.

Wisconsin (7-2) was at a loss for words after Marquette surprised the Badgers by being more tenacious and scrappy for the hussle points. Although Wisconsin held a drastic size advantage, MU out scored UW in the paint (44-30) and out rebounded the host Badgers 41-34 – the first time an opponent has done that all season.

If Wisconsin's discipline was in question after Saturday's setback, the second half results provided appropriate clarity, especially when you look at the work of Landry, that Wisconsin is tough to beat when they stick to what works.

After scoring only four points on three shots in the first half, Landry found his scoring touch in the second 20 minutes, making 5-of-8 shots, including two threes, for 12 second-half points that kept Wisconsin's momentum surging forward.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee (3-7), with its tallest player being only 6-foot-7, had no chance to win the battle of the boards.

"You watch what they do and their size and experience really came through during those times," UWM head coach Rob Jeter said. "They are big and are a tough matchup for us. They just kept pounding it inside and they wore us down."

Landry was chipping in offensively from more areas than just the post, making two three-point buckets and scoring two from the charity stripe. The result of those points, however, was because Landry took the ball strong to the basket and was wide open on kick outs – two things that all the Badgers failed to execute against Marquette.

"You have to know what is a good shot and what is a bad shot and after the few couple I took in the first half, they were kinda rushed," Landry said. "With the two threes I took in the first half, we didn't touch the post. The percentage is always higher touching the post and then kicking it out."

The Badgers were not shabby in the first half by any means either. Wisconsin shot over 63 percent in the first half, building a 10-point halftime lead, by pounding the ball into senior Brian Butch (10 first-half points and finishing the game with 14). In fact, Wisconsin was so determined to feed the ball down to the blocks that the majority of the Badgers' turnovers were a result of forced, or poor, passes into the paint.

For the third time in the past four games, the Badgers committed 18 turnovers.

"It's high risk and high reward, because when we catch it and have our angle, it's an easy bucket," Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. "A couple times we made passes in the post and it was bad timing. We've got to find the in between and get it down to 10 to 12 turnovers and I think we can do that."

Not only did Wisconsin continually pound the ball inside, the Badgers regained their edge on the boards. After being out hustled and out rebounded by Marquette, the Badgers, once again, used their height to their advantage, winning the rebound battle 37-16 Wednesday night.

More importantly, the Badgers stayed hungry throughout the game by sticking to their bread and butter.

"We just try to do what we work on in practice and that's touch the post and (rebound)," Landry said. "On any given night, anyone can score 16 on this team because that's how versatile this team is. Today was just my night."

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