Notes: Balance Without Its Best

Wisconsin uses a balance scoring output to advance to the semifinals and make up for its scoring leader being stymied all afternoon.

INDIANAPOLIS – This year's edition of the Wisconsin basketball team will never be confused for an offensive juggernaut.

Boasting only one player among the top 15 scoring leaders in the conference, the Badgers boast the fifth best scoring offense in the conference, averaging 68.2 points per game.

Using that unselfish M.O since the beginning of October, No.8 Wisconsin does not care who scores the points as long as the production comes from somewhere. On Friday, the productive came from everywhere.

Five players scored seven points or more in what turned out to be an offensively challenge game for Wisconsin. But like they have done so many times this season, the Badgers found a way to win, a 51-34 victory Michigan, this time without any contributions from their leading scorer.

Averaging 12.7 points per game and fresh off being named a consensus first team All-Big Ten, senior Brian Butch has a tournament game he would like to forget, finishing 0-for-7 from the floor and a season-low one point.

Michigan keyed in on Butch from the opening tip, playing him physical down on the blocks and making every shot difficult for the Appleton native. Even when Butch seemed to have a look at the bucket, a Michigan player would be closing in quick and force Butch to rush his shot, resulting in him not finishing the bucket.

To make matters worse, Butch was stricken with foul trouble the entire game, picking up two fouls in the first half and his third just 11 seconds into the second. Playing only 16 minutes Friday, his teammates picked him up, making his ineffectiveness obsolete.

"We've got enough talent on this team that guys are unselfish enough to just get it done," said senior Greg Stiemsma. "If we don't have open shots or somebody's struggling, we've got other guys to pick them up."

Done Streaking

With 20 seconds remaining in the first half, Jason Bohannon drove to the hoop and was fouled, sending him to the line for two shots. What happened next was something UW fans had not seen since January 19, as Bohannon missed his first free throw off the front iron.

The miss ends Bohannon's school-record for consecutive free throws made at 39 straight, four better than Wes Matthews record set in 1980.

Bohannon, who is shooting 89 percent from the line this year, still found ways to contribute, nailing two first-half three-pointers that were big boost to Wisconsin's scoring streaks.

Send it In Marcus

With the Badgers up 33-23 early in the second half, Marcus Landry found it time to make his Sportcenter highlight. Off a missed Michigan layup, Bohannon got the rebound and led the 2-on-1 break. Driving toward the right block, Bohannon drew sophomore DeShawn Sims towards the ball, delivered a behind the back pass to Landry, who skied for a high-flying, one-handed slam that brought the entire arena to its feet.

"I think JBo owed me one from a couple games ago when he threw a bad lob to me," Landry said. "He rewarded me this time for running the floor and I just went up and showed how athletic I can be sometimes."

Next Up

Behind 28 points from Drew Neitzel, No.19 Michigan State bested Ohio State 67-60, avenging a nine-point loss in Columbus six days ago. In Wisconsin's only meeting against the Spartans, the Badgers got 16 points from Butch in a 57-42 victory in Madison on February 28.

Notes

Wisconsin is the first No. 1 seed to defeat a No. 9 seed in Big Ten Tournament history. It is also Wisconsin's first win as a No. 1 seed as the team was 0-2 before today as the top seed.

Michael Flowers played in his 128th career game today, tying him for fourth all-time at UW with Mike Kelley, Andy Kowske and Mark Vershaw who all played from 1998-2001.

Wisconsin held its opponent under 20 points in the first half four times this season, including Michigan's 18 points in the first half today. It was the second time this season the Badgers held the Wolverines to just 18 points in the first half.

Greg Stiemsma finished with two blocks today and needs one more to move into a tie for sixth all-time on Wisconsin's career blocked shots list.


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