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Wisconsin basketball: Green Bay recap

The Badgers beat the Phoenix by 40 points on Tuesday afternoon.

NCAA Basketball: Green Bay at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

In their final true tune-up game of non-conference play, the Wisconsin Badgers were back on the court Tuesday afternoon for a matchup with UW-Green Bay.

The Phoenix and first-year head coach Will Ryan (Bo Ryan’s son) didn’t stand much of a chance against the Badgers however, as Wisconsin took care of business to improve to 3-0 overall on the season with a 40-point victory.

In the opening moments of the game, the Badgers started off slow, not scoring in the first four minutes of action. Not much would change leading into the second media timeout however, as Wisconsin was only up 9-4 with 11 minutes left in the first half as they shot only 30% from the field and had four turnovers.

Wisconsin was able to slightly extend there advantage over UW-Green Bay as the Phoenix missed 12-straight buckets following the timeout, but the Badgers really began to pull away later in the half with a nice 9-0 run to push the lead to 14 with five minutes to play.

In the final moments of the first half though it was all Wisconsin, as the offense came alive. Wisconsin was able to get out in transition, and finally saw some threes fall, pushing the score to 34-12 at halftime thanks to a 21-4 run to close the half.

After the intermission, Wisconsin had a much better start. In fact, the Badgers were nearly perfect, making 10 shots in a row early in the second half to push ahead 60-24 with 12:20 left to play.

The Badgers did a tremendous job of distributing the ball, and the triple was falling as the team worked inside-out offensively.

After the second media timeout, Greg Gard turned to his young bench to get some extra minutes, and they didn’t slow down the movement, as Ben Carlson and Steven Crowl kept the scoring barrage going before the starters came back in.

In the final handful of minutes Wisconsin was able to finish the game off with the reserves, as the Badgers ultimately won 82 to 42, with five players finishing in double figures.

Notable stat lines:

  • Brad Davison —> 10 points (3-of-6 shooting), three rebounds, one assists
  • Micah Potter —> 14 points (6-of-8 shooting), eight rebounds, two assists
  • Nate Reuvers —> 13 points (5-of-9 shooting), four rebounds, two blocks
  • Aleem Ford —> 13 points (5-of-9 shooting), three rebounds, one block

Three things that stood out

No. 1: Slow and sloppy start

Remember when the Badgers were up 25-0 on Arkansas-Pine Bluff? Well, against UW-Green Bay the start was far less memorable.

Early in the game, nothing would fall for the Badgers offensively. In addition to the shooting struggles, uncharacteristic turnovers and empty possessions plagued the team. The energy level was just not there, and if it wasn’t for an even worse offensive showing by Green Bay to begin the game, Wisconsin could have been in trouble.

With much stiffer competition upcoming, as early as this week, Greg Gard’s bunch can’t afford to make slow starts a habit.

No. 2: Tyler Wahl

The star of the evening for the Badgers was Tyler Wahl. The sophomore forward had the best performance of his young career, posting his first collegiate double-double.

After two early travelling calls, Wahl was able to settle in and he gave the team a much needed spark off the bench. For the game, Wahl finished with an astounding +35 plus/minus for the game, with a 11 points (5-of-7 shooting), 15 rebound, four assist, two blocks, and two steals statline.

On a senior heavy team that will undoubtedly rely on upperclassmen, the 6-foot-9 sophomore should continue to give the team another bonafide weapon to turn to on both ends of the court. With performances such as this, the versatile forward will only see his playing time improve.

No. 3: Rebounding

In the first two games of the season, the Badgers looked fairly crisp in many key areas. One specific category that the team could definitely improve upon though was the rebounding department.

In the opener Eastern Illinois outrebounded the Badgers 40-37, with a lineup that didn’t have nearly comparable size and while missing far more shots. The difficulties for Wisconsin to grab defensive rebounds led to 16 second chance points for the Panthers, which resulted in the game finishing with a much closer score than the way it felt for the majority of the game.

Against Arkansas-Pine Bluff the results were fairly even, as Wisconsin thoroughly outclassed the Golden Hurricanes overall and shot 53.6% from the field, but only managed a +5 advantage in rebounding against a Pine Bluff squad that shot under 37% for the entire game.

While UW-Green Bay is not a super long team, the Badgers did a much better job on the boards Tuesday afternoon. Wisconsin was able to dominate the rebounding department 45 to 25, in a team effort that had seven different players record at least three rebounds.

With so many tough teams in the Big Ten still to come on the schedule, Wisconsin will need to continue to crash for rebounds as a team in order to hold their own against some of the longer teams in the conference. Regardless, Tuesday’s performance on the boards was a drastic improvement, and hopefully is a sign of what is to come for the team.

Up next: The competition level takes a step up from here out for the Badgers, as they head to Milwaukee to take on Marquette Friday evening in the I-94 rivalry game. Tip time is set for 6 p.m. CST, and it can be seen on FS1.