Turnovers Not A Problem

Although they won't go down as the best ball security team in Wisconsin history, the Badgers, for one night, proved that fundamental basketball can lead to easy victories.

MADISON — University of Wisconsin junior forward Joe Krabbenhoft may never forgive himself for what transpired midway through the first half Thursday night at the Kohl Center.

Off a missed jumper by center Greg Stiemsma, Krabbenhoft pulled down the offensive board, and dribbled once trying to move into better position for a putback. But the ball got lost in the sea of Michigan State legs, and Spartans guard Drew Neitzel came up with the ball.

With 11:32 remaining in the first half, that was the Badgers' first turnover of the game.

Remarkably, it was also their last.

Wisconsin set a school record for lowest turnover output in a game since its two-turnover effort against Penn State back on March 3, 1993. Obviously, UW's ball security played a big factor in running past MSU 57-42. But UW coach Bo Ryan demands perfection, and had one simple thing to say about committing one turnover.

"That's too many," Ryan said, to open his postgame conference. "We got on Joe in the locker room, his teammates did."

Even senior center Brian Butch didn't mind pouring it on a little bit.

"We definitely gave him a hard time after the win," Butch said. "But you can live with the one turnover, I guess."

So will Ryan, who was especially pleased that his guards – senior Michael Flowers and sophomores Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon – combined for eight assists without a giveaway.

"To have your three guards not commit a turnover, that's huge," Ryan said. "How many games do you see a team with one turnover, against a team that plays pretty good "D" and will get in your shorts?

"I don't know what else you can say, but our guys do value the ball."

Big Man Off the Bench

For the first time in several games, the Badgers got a big-time contribution from somebody off the bench and the player wasn't named Jason Bohannon.

In fact, Bohannon, who had averaged 14.8 points per game over his last five, didn't even score, missing both his field goal attempts from three-point land. The sophomore guard also failed to get to the free-throw line for the second straight game, once again putting on hold his quest to set the UW record for consecutive free throws made (Bohannon has hit 33 straight foul shots, two short of Wes Matthews' record set in 1980).

Instead, tonight was Greg Stiemsma's night to shine off the bench. The senior center has struggled for consistent minutes, but was an energy boost when he entered five minutes into the game.

Stiemsma first blocked a layup attempt by Travis Walton, then nailed a jumper from the right win, then blocked Durrell Summers' shot, and finished it off with a tip-in off a Krabbenhoft miss – all in his first 2:30 of play.

"That was very welcome, because it kind of gives us that lift and sets a tone," Ryan said. "Kind of sends a message at times, that's what Greg can do."

Stiemsma, who also threw down a massive dunk off a great feed from Flowers, finished with six points (3-of-5 shooting), three blocks to add to his team-high total of 33 rejections, and a defensive board.

"He's a guy that likes to play, and wants to play," Ryan said. "He just keeps trying to get as many minutes as he can, and that helps the other guys."

Game Notes

-The Badgers have now won five straight since losing to Purdue on Feb. 9 at the Kohl Center, while the Spartans have lost three of their last five contests

-Wisconsin was once again able to earn the victory despite being outrebounded, 37-31, thanks to MSU forward Goran Suton's 15 boards (five on the offensive end). Suton also led the Spartans with 14 points

-Michigan State also was much more successful in the paint, holding a 24-10 scoring advantage inside; but UW enjoyed a 9-2 edge on points off turnovers

-The Badgers get six days off before enjoying Senior Day at the Kohl Center on next Wednesday against Penn State (13-14, 5-10 Big Ten)

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