A bad shooting performance and failure to execute their rules last weekend in Purdue made the Badgers hungry and eager to prove they can win on the road and make a statement in the process.
Thanks to another sound defensive performance and Trevon Hughes, the statement was made with a sound punctuation.
Setting the pace from Minnesota's opening possession, robbing a pass from Minnesota's Damien Johnson and taking it for an easy layup, Hughes scored 11 of his game-high 20 points in the first half, helping the Badgers build a 19-point lead and maintain it, leading UW to a 63-47 road victory.
Wisconsin's win keeps the Badgers (18-3, 8-1) in a three-way tie with Indiana and Purdue for first-place in the Big Ten.
Continuing to develop into the role as Wisconsin's point guard, Hughes' performance against Minnesota (13-7, 3-5) is showing fans that he's only scratching the surface of his potential.
While efficient shooting the ball from the floor (6-of-11 overall and 2-for-4 from the perimeter) and drawing contact driving to the basket (making 6-of-7 free throws), Hughes was vital in creating offense for his teammates, not just himself.
With Hughes at the point, the Badgers shoot 57.7 percent in the first half and making a season-high seven three-point buckets for the game.
"His decision making helps everything in a point guard offense," said senior Brian Butch, who added 11 points and three blocks. "This offense is a point guard offense. If you've got a good point guard, you're going to be a good team."
But what made the Badgers click against the Gophers was the 29-10 run to open the game, sparred by two big steals by Hughes, with the second one being punctuated with a thunderous dunk on the other end.
Hughes tied a season-high six steals and helped the Badgers convert 18 Minnesota turnovers into 20 Wisconsin points.
"The defense is what gets us started," Hughes said. "If the shots aren't falling, you can always go back and play good defense. Good defense always leads to something good."
Minnesota, whose 47 points was 27 points below its season average, could not get its two main offensive weapons off the elevated floor as seniors Lawrence McKenzie (11.3 ppg) Spencer Tollackson (10.7) and were held to a combined 11 points.
"I thought our guys stuck to the task well," head coach Bo Ryan said. "I've got to give my team credit for playing well together."
The Badgers have plenty of other players fill up the stat sheet, as well. Forward Joe Krabbenhoft registered five assists, senior Michael Flowers grabbed eight rebounds and junior Marcus Landry finished with 11 points.
"He finished stronger than he has," said Ryan of Landry. "He had some opportunities that he should have shot 50 percent or better and he knows that, too. We still have to keep working on that."
Although perfectionist Bo Ryan pointed out that Hughes finished the game with four turnovers, stating ‘those are things that we would like to discuss and will,' the Wisconsin head coach was proud to highlight that Hughes has begun to develop into the role he was brought to Madison to do and helping UW continue to remain on the top of the conference.
"In his steals he's been in better position, not taking himself out of position as much and he's not reaching, so he's not sitting on the bench for as many minutes," Ryan said. "For offense, (he has) better decisions and better control. He's much better now than he was earlier in the year. He's been tested by some teams and he has improved."