But the Badgers 61-39 win over UW-Milwaukee wasn't exactly an offensive masterpiece. Wisconsin (7-2) prevailed despite committing 18 turnovers against just ten assists. But UWM (3-7) did little to help its own cause with 17 turnovers and only eight assists.
"Just each team feeling each other out early," UW head coach Bo Ryan said. "Then we kind of got some things going."
True, the Badgers started the game with three assists and nine giveaways. But things changed near the end of the first half, and kept going through the remainder of the game, as UW had a 7-to-8 ratio after that point.
"I like the way we finished the half, and I like the way we played for most of the second half," Ryan said.
The Badgers were trying to push the ball inside all game against a much smaller Panthers team, which Ryan mentioned leads to a higher amount of both assists and turnovers.
"With touching the post, sometimes, it's high-risk, high-reward," Ryan said. "When we caught it, and we had our angle, it's an easy basket. Couple times, we made passes into the post where it was bad timing, we floated it too much."
Trevon Hughes had a fairly balanced game, with 12 points, five rebounds, and team-high marks with three assists and three steals.
But in his first season as UW's point guard, Hughes has been notably tough on himself, and despite playing a much better game than he did against Marquette, he expressed discontent with his three turnovers.
"No, I'm not satisfied," Hughes said. "As a point guard, I'm supposed to control the team, and not turn the ball over. I'm careless with the ball, so I've got to keep working on that."
Wisconsin has shown a propensity to give the ball away against smaller, quicker teams. The Badgers' 18 turnovers Wednesday night match their season high – they made 18 each in losses against Marquette and Duke.
With games against UW-Green Bay, Valparaiso and Texas, Ryan spoke of an opportunity for the Badgers to become more sure-handed.
"I think our team (in the past) has valued the basketball," Ryan said. "I think this is a little unusual, we're going to have to correct it going into the Big Ten."
Hughes Bounces Back
Of course, while Hughes was upset with his turnovers, Ryan was simply pleased with how Hughes followed up his struggling effort against Marquette Saturday.
"I think it's more how, as a competitive guy, you're responding to wanting to be better and helping the team more," Ryan said. "It could have been anybody beating us."
Ryan hinted that Hughes may have grown wary of last week's hyped matchup between himself and Marquette guard Dominic James, who spearheaded Marquette's 81-76 win.
According to Ryan, Hughes wasn't as upset with his personal effort against James as he was disappointed in the team's overall defeat.
"He had the right idea," Ryan said. "He understands good versus bad. Tonight, he had a chance to show that, and I liked the way he bounced back."
Hughes' goal coming into the game was simple: to get better.
"(I wanted to) control the tempo of this game, and help my team come out with a win," Hughes said. "Try to get the ball into the post like we did today."
Game Notes: For the second consecutive game, guard Michael Flowers was in the starting lineup instead of center Greg Stiemsma, who started the Badgers' first seven games. The move appears to be permanent, as Flowers got 28 minutes to Stiemsma's 14
Though Kevin Gullikson hasn't seen much meaningful time on the court this season, the junior forward played three minutes in the middle of the second half, getting two points and a rebound
The Badgers next take on UW-Green Bay (6-3) at the Kohl Center Saturday