Sloppy Start, Powerful Finish

With eight Badgers scoring seven or more points and Joe Krabbenhoft earning a double-double, the Badgers shake off a sloppy start to down the Phoenix.

MADISON - Wisconsin's 70-52 victory over Green Bay Saturday night could be viewed as a rather sloppy affair, but the Badgers would prefer not to look at it that way.

"I don't think it's a case of sloppy basketball or anything like that," forward Marcus Landry said. "It's just we impose our will on the team to get them out of what they're doing, and like (Saturday) it worked in our favor."

But in imposing their will, the Badgers won't deny that things were initially a little bit sloppy.

About five minutes into the game, the Phoenix flew out to an 11-0 run, gaining an early 15-7 lead.

"Our first four possessions didn't go the way we wanted them to," said forward Joe Krabbenhoft, who scored a game-high 12 points and 10 rebounds.

While it may not have started as planned and certainly wasn't pretty, Wisconsin eventually did impose its will on Green Bay, and the Badgers did so by using their size.

After giving up the early lead, Wisconsin answered right back with a run of its own. Sparked by an 'And-1' play by guard Michael Flowers, the Badgers regained the lead and added on to it with a 17-0 run.

The key for the Badgers was establishing their size inside.

"I just thought we made an emphasis of getting the ball in the post," Krabbenhoft said. "We did a pretty good job of that during that run."

For Green Bay head coach Tod Kowalczykz, the Badgers' answer to the Phoenix's run was what ultimately decided the outcome of the game.

"I think clearly the story of the game is where we got caught on 15 (points) forever," he said of the run in which Green Bay went scoreless for over nine minutes. "During that stretch, I thought the pace of the game got to Wisconsin's pace where they want to play.

"And let's be honest … they're bigger and better than we are at that style."

Although the rebounding margin was close (Wisconsin out rebounded Green Bay 34-30), the Badgers took more advantage of their offensive rebounds, scoring 26 second chance points compared to the Phoenix's 11. Also, Wisconsin outscored Green Bay 34 to eight in the paint

Still, the Badgers' run only put them up by nine points late in the first half so they still had to work to gain a comfortable lead.

"With every team, you want to get them out of what they like to do," Landry said. "It's just what we focus on—to get teams out of what they like to do."

By halftime, Wisconsin had done just that. The Badgers upped the score to 37-24 and the Phoenix were out of their game.

Already hurting from Wisconsin's run, Green Bay's point guards didn't help the Phoenix get back into the flow.

Freshmen guards Rahmon Fletcher and Uriel Segura have split time in running the offense this season as the Phoenix try to replace Ryan Evanochko, who averaged 15 points and 5.2 assists per game as a senior last year.

While Fletcher started and had eight points and Segura was a perfect 2-for-2 off the bench, Wisconsin had clearly thrown the two rookie point guards off their game.

"I thought our point guards were really slow in getting us into offense, slow in transition, slow getting into offenses and secondary offenses," Kowalcyzk said. "During that stretch we just played too slow and that was when we got beat on the glass."

The second half wasn't much prettier, but the Badgers were able in the end to hold for an 18-point victory. However, UW head coach Bo Ryan wasn't expecting much of a clean game anyway with his players having to deal with an upcoming week full of exams.

"This is the time of the year where some strange things go on on the basketball court it seems," Ryan said.

"(But) to get the type of play that we did and the hustle and the way we played—we didn't execute that well, but man the desire was there and the guys played hard," he added. "I'm pleased with that part of it."

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