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Wisconsin Basketball: Strong defense, streaky shooting headlines scrimmage with UW-Eau Claire

Center Steven Crowl led the Badgers with 14 points on the day.

Rutgers v Wisconsin Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

Wisconsin basketball season is right around the corner with the regular season tipping off a week from today. Before the season gets going Wisconsin had the opportunity to work on some things in a scrimmage with UW-Eau Claire.

This scrimmage was the first glimpse we got of the Badgers playing against another opponent in quite some time. In turn, we got to see what the starting lineup might look like in the Badgers opener against South Dakota. To start the scrimmage Wisconsin went with Chucky Hepburn, Max Klesmit, Jordan Davis, Tyler Wahl, and Steven Crowl.

Wisconsin got out of the gates fast, starting with an 8-3 run but things quickly slowed down for the Badgers as they hit a short scoring drought halfway through the first half. Later in the half, Wisconsin went cold again, missing multiple shots on the offensive end, but the defense showed some promise in limiting Eau Claire’s opportunities. At the end of the half, Wisconsin would take a 38-22 lead to the locker room.

In the second half, Wisconsin was once again a bit streaky at times but overall the talent won out. Conner Essegian hit a critical three-pointer halfway through the first half to light a spark, and from there the offense started to gain some momentum as they settled into the half. Later in the second half, Marcus Illver and Isaac Lindsey connected for back-to-back threes to really put things on ice for Wisconsin en route to a 76-45 victory.

Leading the way offensively was Center Steven Crowl who scored 14 points on 4 of 7 shooting in the contest. Behind him, Tyler Wahl put in 10 points as did reserve guard Conner Essegian.

Wisconsin worked in 13 players (I believe) in this exhibition. Guard Jacobi Neath was the first off the bench but many other players got some time. Guard Kamari Mcgee seems to be the reserve point guard with Chucky Hepburn, while Conner Essegian seems to be the hot hand that will come off the bench as a guard/small forward hybrid. Beyond them, Isaac Lindsey and walk-on Luke Haertle also got some time in the contest. In the frontcourt, Chris Hodges seemed to be the go-to player to get Crowl and Wahl some rest. In addition to him, Marcus Illver and Carter Gilmore will help give Wisconsin some depth down low.

Overall, you can’t take a ton from a scrimmage but there were certainly some positives and negatives. On a positive note, Wisconsin did a solid job on the defensive end working UW-Eau Claire into some turnovers and bad shots late in the shot clock. Offensively, things were a little streaky for Wisconsin, especially beyond the arc, but that really isn’t all that shocking as Wisconsin is known to go cold from time to time on the offensive end.

Hopefully, the Badgers are able to find their rhythm and work out their issues over the next week before their season tips off next Monday, November 7th against South Dakota. That contest will air on the Big Ten Network with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 CT.