Omaha Sharp Shooter

With the hype around Michael Beasley, few people paid attention to Wisconsin's Trevon Hughes. Tying his career-high with 25 points, Hughes gave people a reason to generate some buzz around him.

OMAHA, Neb.— The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team may not have a future lottery pick, like Kansas State has Michael Beasley. The Badgers may not have a powerful swingman who can score at will, like the Wildcats have Bill Walker.

But what UW does have is a young, confident point guard who has spent all season learning how to run a basketball team. Trevon Hughes had his ups and his downs this season, but when Wisconsin needed him most on Saturday, he was there.

The sophomore point guard tied his career high with 25 points – a mark he last hit against IUPUI in Wisconsin's first game of the year – on 4-of-9 three-point shooting, and added three assists and a steal in UW's 72-55 victory.

"I definitely know I can score," said Hughes, who hadn't scored 20 or more points since Feb. 3. "Everybody on the team can score. But the opportunity was there for me and I took it, I didn't want to pass it up."

Hughes was especially important at the beginning of each half. Against a tough, talented Kansas State squad, Hughes made sure that UW stayed in control of the game.

Hughes led off the game with eight points and a pair of assists to get UW a 23-16 lead. Then right out of the break, Hughes sparked a 10-2 run with a three-point play, a long jumper and a three-pointer to give Wisconsin a 49-35 advantage.

"It started with Trevon getting us fired up," forward Joe Krabbenhoft said. "He likes stepping up in the spotlight, and he enjoys that and does a great job with it."

It wasn't even the 25 points for Hughes – which bested Beasley's 23-point, 13-rebound performance and Walker's 18 points – that made this Hughes' best game of the year. He only had one turnover as well, and just seemed to set the perfect tempo for Wisconsin in a game that easily could have been much tougher for the Badgers.

Rather than make careless mistakes and let pressure set in, Hughes played like a seasoned veteran and got UW to the Sweet 16.

"The beginning of the year, you go back and look at a Duke game, where I think he did maybe struggle," center Brian Butch said. "You saw the maturity, you saw the development. And Coach (Bo Ryan) has done a great job of developing Trevon and really making him mature."

Hughes came into this season with a ton of talent but not a lot of experience. Kammron Taylor ran things last year for the 30-win Badgers, but Hughes has stepped in and made sure that this year's Wisconsin team – which set the school's single-season record Saturday with its 31st win, beating last year's mark – was even better.

"Last year, with Kamm and those guys playing the point, the opportunity wasn't there," Krabbenhoft said. "He learned, he sat patiently, didn't mouth off or say anything like he should be playing. He waited his turn, and he proved tonight that he belongs."

Krabbenhoft credited Ryan for how Hughes has evolved into a top point guard, but Ryan tossed the praise right over to the Badger wearing No. 3.

"He's had games like this, but you don't want a guy playing tentative, afraid of turning the ball over," Ryan said. (Trevon) was very strong with the ball, he made good decisions with the ball."

One thing Hughes has become notorious for this season is being a perfectionist, never being satisfied with his play.

When asked if this was his smartest, cleanest game of the year, Hughes responded: "I had a turnover. That one turnover was not that clean. I played about two games this season without a turnover, so I believe those two are my cleanest games."

Hughes knows he can play even better, and that's how he's made a serious impression on his teammates, even as a sophomore.

"He proved that Coach Ryan chose him for a reason as the point guard," Krabbenhoft said, "to take the reins for this team."

Added Butch: "He played a great game today, you can't say enough about how much the kid's really grown up."

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