There were the underdog - as Grambling State started their season 1-3 and were beat earlier this year by Marquette 87-41 - and there was the triumphant - as the Badgers had all the momentum after knocking off the sixth ranked Duke Blue Devils on Wednesday night at the Kohl Center.
Needless to say, UW needed to avoid a letdown against the inferior Tigers.
"I think it's always hard to come back and practice the next day after a win like that, but we have a coach who puts a lot of emphasis on what's next. So that's what we are used to doing at this point," said Jordan Taylor when asked about a possible hangover after the Duke win.
The Badgers took control of the game early and remained in command for the rest of the contest, cruising to a 79–46 victory. Wisconsin was able to utilize superior strength, size, speed and skill to have their way with the Tigers throughout the entire contest. The Badgers seemed to have a mismatch at every position and it was simply a matter of what player was going to shoot.
Wisconsin jumped out to 41-27 halftime lead behind the strong play of senior guards Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon. Bohannon was able to hit two threes near the start of the game and continued to shoot well throughout the contest in route to 11 points on 4-6 shooting. Meanwhile, Hughes started a bit slow but quickly picked it up and ended up leading the Badgers with 20 points on 6–11 from the field and 6–7 from the line. Jon Leuer added 11 points from the post and Jordan Taylor contributed 11 points off the bench to round out a balanced Badger attack this afternoon.
"Pop (Trevon Hughes) with that spark in the second half really helped him," said UW Head Coach Bo Ryan after watching the excellent play of his guards. "He didn't seem quite as in sync in the first half as he can be. (GSU) was getting into him a little bit. They were using some quicker guys on him. You have to remember his match-up in the last game. He was guarding a bigger guard. And Rob Wilson, he did a nice job at guard. Guard play was pretty solid. They didn't get beat very much off the dribble, they helped each other and for the most part, other than some lapses there by Trevon, they took care of the ball."
On defense, the Badgers were able to suffocate the smaller Tigers with excellent on ball defense and a strong presence in the paint from the Badger big men. Wisconsin held the Tigers to 29% shooting, forced 11 turnovers and allowed only 13 assists for the game. Donald Qualls ended up with 15 points for the Tigers and was the only player from Grambling State in double figures.
Quick Game Grades:
Offense – A-
Was a bit unfocused and out of sync at times but this most likely due to the lack of intensity overall throughout the game. Regardless, shot the ball fairly well and really could have scored nearly at will.
Defense – A
Did not allow the smaller Tiger guards to get penetration and when they were able to, the big men stepped up and clogged the lane. Tigers really struggled throughout the contest to get open looks and did not have much flow and rhythm to their offense.
Coaching – A
By default. Nothing really to it, one of the easier opponents Bo Ryan will ever have to prepare for. Grambling State simply did not have one impact player.
Co-Game MVP's: Jason Bohannon and Trevon Hughes, set the tone early and fed off each other well en route to superb shooting nights for the senior backcourt mates.