The Wisconsin Badgers began their basketball season with a strong 87-44 win over UW-Stevens Point.
A.J. Storr had a team-high 14 points, followed by Conner Essegian and Steven Crowl with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Defensively, the Badgers had 10 steals, with four coming from Chucky Hepburn, absolutely turning the game around with their tough, rough defense and the full court press.
The story of the first half had to be AJ Storr, tallying 12 points in the first half with two threes and an electrifying dunk.
The Badgers found their success inside, getting the ball to their big men, Steven Crowl and Tyler Wahl, letting them use their post ability and size to beat the smaller Stevens Point team. Wahl was 100% from the field in the first half with nine points and Crowl had six.
Chucky Hepburn and Connor Essegian went a combined 0-4 from deep and scored 0 points in the first half, but the former was active as a facilitator, distributing five assists.
Overall, the outside shooting for the Badgers in that first half was basically non-existent, beginning the game 1/8 from deep before finishing the half 3/12.
While the shooting looked a little rusty, execution of the offensive game plan was quite good, disregarding the initial opening game jitters and a few early turnovers.
On the other side of the court, the Badgers were very active, getting their hands in passing lanes, forcing turnovers and harassing the ballhandlers.
The leading scorer for Stevens point was Josiah Butler, who scored a team-high 10 points, going 5-8 from the field. Hepburn led the team with 3 steals, two of them coming off the full court inbound pressure that the Badgers ran.
The half ended with the Badgers up in front 42 -22, with a last second shot from Butler to cut the lead to 20 just before half.
Josiah Butler came out of the locker room ready to go, scoring 5 straight points for UW-Stevens Point, trying to give them a fighting chance, but the Badgers offensive skill far outmatched their opponents.
The Badgers went on a 21-0 run, with big contributions from Connor Essegian a.k.a CE3, Chucky Hepburn, and Markus Illver.
The passing vision of Hepburrn was on full display today, as he tallied a total of 6 assists, plus making up for his first half offensive performance with seven points on perfect shooting in the second.
Illver was a surprise contributor today, scoring seven points with two absolutely electrifying dunks and a big three. After going scoreless in the first, Essegian came back in the second with multiple threes and a beautiful turnaround jumper, finishing the night with 11 points.
Another key player in the second was freshman John Blackwell, scoring eight points in his collegiate debut with a three and a difficult and-1 in the paint.
With the influx of young talent and offensive firepower on this Badgers squad, this Badgers offense has multiple options and weapons to attack and take over games.
On the defensive end, the Badgers continued to control the game to their own tempo, forcing UW-Stevens Points to play their game and not their own. The Pointers totaled 18 turnovers, with 11 coming in the second half.
Tough on-ball defense led to multiple steals, including an athletic breakaway dunk by Markus Illver.
At the end, the Badgers won in a lopsided fashion, the ending scoring being 87-44.