MADISON, Wis. - After a slow start that saw the Badgers shoot just 36.4% from the floor in the first half, Wisconsin defeated the UW-Green Bay Phoenix 70-42 at the Kohl Center Wednesday night. The Badgers were propelled by a well-balanced offense, lead by point guard Jordan Taylor. Taylor's 15 points and a career-high 10 assists helped the Badgers pull away in the second half, after heading into halftime up just 12 points.
As for adjustments that the Badgers made at halftime, head coach Bo Ryan said he didn't make any specific changes.
"We didn't change what we were trying to do, we just did it a little bit better," Ryan said. "We took advantage of things in the second half, shot it better, got better looks, we didn't change any philosophy."
The Badgers shot 57.7% in the second half, while holding the Phoenix to just 34.5%. Green Bay head coach Brian Wardle said the Badgers looked like they were on a mission after losing two close games in a row.
"We played a good team on a mission tonight," Phoenix head coach Brian Wardle said. "(I) tried to address that with my team for the last two days that they lost their last home game and we're going to see their ‘A' game tonight."
The win puts the Badgers back on the right track after a 61-54 loss to Marquette ended Wisconsin's long-standing home win streak.
"I think we were a little bit more focused coming into this Green Bay team," junior forward Ryan Evans said. "We've kind of put (the losing streak) past us, and UNLV is next."
Statistically, for the most part the Badgers were able to get back to what they do best. The Badgers were able to take advantage of Green Bay's 16 turnovers, turning them into 21 points, and keeping the Phoenix from taking advantage of their six turnovers. Taylor was as efficient as ever, with zero turnovers on the night to go with his 10 assists.
"Ten assists to zero turnovers. There's not many guys in the country that have that," Ryan said of Taylor. "He found the open guy, and he could have had a couple more. Guys missed the shots ... but he saw the floor well (and) got some opportunities."
However, rebounding was an issue for most of the game for the Badgers. Green Bay out-rebounded the Badgers 37-36 on the night, but the Badgers rallied in the second half, pulling down 17 rebounds to Green Bay's 15. Mike Bruesewitz had eight boards on the night for the Badgers, with Evans pulling down six of his own. The Phoenix were able to get 17 second-chance points to Wisconsin's 13.
The Badgers were also able to get their bench involved in the game. Ben Brust and Rob Wilson helped the Badgers get going offensively after a slow start from the regular starters, and they finished with six and five points, respectively.
"It's always good to see when you have guys come off the bench, and we know we have plenty of guys who can step in and give us some good minutes," junior forward Jared Berggren said. "Rob gave us some good minutes, (Traevon Jackson) came in and did some good things ... Frank (Kaminsky) played solid too, and when we get guys going like that we'll be tough to stop, so it's good to see."
Up next, the Badgers will host the UNLV Rebels at the Kohl Center on Dec. 10. Taylor mentioned after the game that his team would have to shift their focus quickly to a tough UNLV team, who already did something the Badgers couldn't: knock off the North Carolina Tar Heels.
"UNLV is a team that's similar to Marquette in the way they pressure, so it was a good learning experience, and we'll try to go forward and get better from there," Taylor said.
Join the Badger conversation on Facebook! Go to our Facebook page and "like" us!
For more Badger Football and Basketball news, notes and discussion, follow John on Twitter (@JohnVeldhuis).