Posts Tagged ‘Jordan Taylor’

Wisconsin too strong for Marquette

December 11, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — They’re not sexy, and they aren’t going to wow you. They’ve never been known as one of the more athletic teams in the nation either.

But the Badgers are big, strong and aggressive, and that made the difference as Wisconsin held off Marquette, 69-64, in a hard-fought battle Saturday at the Bradley Center.

Just minutes into the second half, senior forward Jon Leuer picked up two quick fouls, giving him three for the game and sending him to the bench. After Darius Johnson-Odom connected on two free throws, Wisconsin led by a slim 36-34 margin with its leading scorer watching from the sideline.

While the situation did not look promising for UW, not only did the Badgers not struggle without their star, they actually extended the lead to as much as 48-39 over the next six minutes.

“That was big,” Leuer said. “It’s frustrating when you get in foul trouble because you want to be out there helping the team, but … they all stepped up, and that was fun. I was a cheerleader there on the sideline for a little bit. It was fun to see those guys step up and produce for us.”

Playing without Leuer is nothing new for the Badgers, of course. Last year, the 6-foot-10 forward missed a significant portion of the Big Ten schedule due to injury, and Wisconsin stayed afloat without him.

Leuer’s fellow senior forward, Madison native Keaton Nankivil was particularly impressive as Leuer sat on the bench. Nankivil scored Wisconsin’s first six points following Leuer’s third foul, while grabbing a pair of rebounds over the same stretch.

Nankivil saw the opportunity presented by Leuer’s absence, and took full advantage when his team needed it most.

“That’s something we work on all the time is taking advantage of opportunities,” Nankivil said. “I think when Jon went out, they might have focused on putting that pressure on a little bit harder. A couple of the possessions, we were in shot clock situations, they were looking to pressure our guards and maybe run and jump.

“Two of the plays were off hand offs that I decided to keep when they might’ve been looking to pressure our guards and we’ve just got to step on them.”

Squaring off with their in-state rivals Saturday, the Badgers used their superior size and strength and translated it into dominance on the boards, especially on the offensive end.

Wisconsin outrebounded Marquette 32-28 overall, including a 15-10 edge in offensive rebounds. While MU did post an 18-17 advantage on the defensive boards, the home team only grabbed three more rebounds on UW misses than the Badgers did themselves.

As a result, Wisconsin dominated in second-chance points with a 21-9 margin.

“The idea is either you can put it right back after a pump fake or you get it out and we make them work again,” UW head coach Bo Ryan said. “Plus, we know what it does mentally to the other team.”

Sophomore Mike Bruesewitz was particularly impressive on both the offensive and defensive glass, grabbing four rebounds on each end for a total of eight for the game. Nankivil also pulled down five rebounds (two offensive), while Leuer had six, four of which came on the offensive end.

The best example of the Badgers’ dominance on the boards came during a stretch in the final seven minutes of the game. Following a missed jumper by Marquette, Leuer grabbed the defensive board with 6:34 to go in the second half.

On the other end, Rob Wilson missed a jumper 24 seconds later before grabbing his own offensive rebound. Twenty-three seconds later, Leuer missed a jumper and Ryan Evans cleaned up the offensive glass.

After another 23 seconds ran off the clock, Jimmy Butler was called for two fouls in six seconds. Leuer finally ended the possession with 5:12 remaining, hitting a jumper on an assist from Bruesewitz.

Down the stretch, however, Marquette cut the lead and made things interesting. While the Badgers continued to rebound well, one of their usual strengths — free throw shooting — betrayed them.

With 44 seconds remaining, Wilson missed one of two free throws, leaving it at a seven-point game. Following two points on the other end, Jordan Taylor missed a free throw of his own, giving Marquette the ball back down six with 32 seconds to go.

Taylor would shoot six more free throws over the final 20 seconds, though, hitting five of them to seal the road victory.

“I was disappointed I missed the first one,” Taylor said. “So I just wanted to kind of get up there and knock the next two down really put it away.”

Leading by one point with 1:13 to go at UNLV, the Badgers failed to score again before ultimately losing by a three-point margin. In Orlando against Notre Dame, the game was tied with 2:01 remaining before Wisconsin lost by seven points.

Apparently the third time is the charm for Wisconsin in tight road games, as the Badgers managed to hold off a late rally by their in-state rivals.

“They weren’t frazzled,” Ryan said. “The great advantage is we played in Vegas, in a possession-per-possession game. That’s how we walk away with this win today.”

Not only did the Badgers get a road win, they added what certainly should be a resume win down the line. Come tournament time, a win on the road against a Big East opponent like Marquette should carry plenty of weight.

Count MU head coach Buzz Williams among those impressed by Wisconsin.

“It’s the best team they’ve had since I’ve been here,” Williams said. “I don’t think the world knows it now, but they will.”

Notebook: Taylor one assist shy of triple-double

December 4, 2010 Comments off

MADISON — One rebound, one assist.

That’s how close Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor were on Saturday to posting a double-double, and a triple-double against South Dakota. Instead, they settled for a combined triple-double with 49 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists.

“Their two pretty good players certainly stepped up in this game,” Coyotes head coach Dave Boots said. “We could not contain Taylor’s penetration, he got to the basket whenever he wanted to, and Leuer is, he’s a lights out offensive player.”

Leuer led the way offensively, putting up a career-high 29 points on the undersized and overmatched Coyotes. He came up one rebound shy of the double-double, however, finishing with nine.

Of those 29 points, 20 came in the first half as Leuer carried the team to a 42-37 lead at the break. Leuer hit 6-of-11 attempts from beyond the arc, while shooting 11-for-21 overall.

“I definitely worked on that in the off-season, just trying to improve my shot and make it more consistent,” Leuer said. “But basically, just taking the looks that the defense gives me and trying to make the right reads.

“It’s mainly just spotting up, getting my feet set and getting down and ready to shoot it. I think that’s the biggest difference.”

For Taylor’s part, he had a game-high 11 rebounds, while finishing second behind Leuer with 20 points. With nine assists, though, he came up one shy of what would have been the first triple-double in school history.

As for the blame on not getting to 10 assists? There are two easy explanations: the one most people see, and the one offered by head coach Bo Ryan.

“The reason he came up short was because he had one turnover in the first half,” Ryan said. “If he’d have taken care of the ball and made the correct pass, he’d have had a triple-double.

“But as a result of that one turnover, because somebody mentioned Mike Bruesewitz missed that last jumper, and I didn’t want poor Mike to feel that it was him that cost him the triple-double. There were other opportunities guys could’ve hit shots.”

What did Taylor think of that explanation?

“Yeah, I’ll buy that, it probably was,” Taylor said. “I think I missed Mike under the basket one or two times, too. So I probably could’ve got it there, but… I think I actually yelled at Mike for taking that shot too, so early in the shot clock when we were up.”

As Ryan alluded to, the reason most observers would offer for Taylor coming up one short is a missed jumper by Mike Bruesewitz, off a dish from the junior point guard with just 1:17 remaining in the game.

Taylor had picked up assist No. 9, a new career-high, on the Badgers’ previous possession, and looked to be headed for the triple-double clinching dish on the play. Instead, he settled for his first career double-double, while hitting a three-pointer with 28 seconds to go to reach 20 points.

With the performance, Taylor is now averaging 15.1 points per game, with a solid 3.6 assist-to-turnover ratio that has made for a seamless transition into the Badgers’ starting point guard role.

“He showed tonight just how he runs the show,” Leuer said. “He’s just able to get into the lane and just cause so many different problems for the defense that they have to help on him and he just makes great decisions with the ball too. He finds the open guy, and he’s just a fun point guard to play with.”

Wilson sees limited action

Despite his apparent full recovery from a hamstring injury that kept him out of Wisconsin’s first two regular season games, junior Rob Wilson continues to see limited playing time.

Against the Coyotes on Saturday, Wilson saw the floor for just seven minutes, all of which came in the first half. While he played more minutes off the bench than anyone other than Tim Jarmusz, his effectiveness on the offensive end made the lack of playing time seem like an odd decision.

In those seven minutes, Wilson went 3-for-3 from the floor, with one rebound and two assists. According to his head coach, though, it was his defense that earned him an extended stay on the bench.

“It’s certain things that we do that we say and when you don’t do it, then you need to watch,” Ryan said. “It’s pretty simple. But that’s for us to deal with. I have rules on defense and if guys aren’t playing as much against certain teams, it might be because defensively they don’t handle certain things real well.”


Leuer dishes 7 assists in victory

November 17, 2010 Comments off

MADISON – Knowing that Jon Leuer could put big numbers against its smaller lineup Tuesday night, North Dakota frequently double teamed the Wisconsin big man.

Leuer countered by showing off his equally impressive passing skills.

“Our goal with that was trying to make him work,” UND head coach Brian Jones said. “He’s obviously extremely talented. Him and [Jordan] Taylor, we wanted to limit. We knew we weren’t going to shut them out, but limit their looks at the basket.”

The Fighting Sioux were more effective in limiting Jordan Taylor, as the junior guard added just 10 points on the night for the Badgers, on 4-of-7 shooting. Leuer still managed to put up his points, leading all scorers with 22 on 6-of-10 from the floor.

Most impressive, though, were Leuer’s career-high seven assists.

“He could’ve had 10 assists,” UW head coach Bo Ryan said. “I thought he did a great job of seeing the floor and not forcing things. He’ll need that against some other opponents that we play. He’ll see some of the same things, but we know he can pass.”

While he led the way with seven assists, Leuer was certainly not the only unselfish player on the night for the Badgers.

Wisconsin finished with 20 assists on 31 made baskets, while shooting 62 percent (31-for-50) from the floor on the night.

After Leuer, guards Josh Gasser and Taylor each contributed four assists, while Jared Berggren had two. Nankivil, Tim Jarmusz and Ryan Evans each added one assist apiece.

“They’re such a good passing team, whether you play them zone or man, their bigs do a tremendous job of seeing over the top of people,” Jones said. “We don’t have traditional Big Ten size, so those passes were probably a little bit easier for them tonight.”

It’s been well documented early in the season how much Leuer has improved from last year, thanks in large part to his participation with the USA Select Team.

Most of the time, however, the focus with Leuer is on his scoring ability — both inside and out — and his ability to crash the boards. Little attention is given to the 6-foot-10 forward’s ability to find open teammates.

“It’s kind of hard to work on your passing, I feel like that’s just like the more you play in open gym games, the more repetitions you get, you see things a little better,” Leuer said. “That’s what I was able to do tonight was just read the defense and make the play. Make the right play, hopefully.

“That’s just basically it. Reading the defense and making plays.”

When Leuer read the North Dakota defense, he found fellow senior forward Keaton Nankivil open more often than any other player.

As a result, Nankivil converted three times on Leuer assists, twice for dunks and once from beyond the arc. On the night, Nankivil finished with 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting.

“A lot of it had to do with how well Jon was reading that double team right out of the gates,” Leuer said. “I think they decided that they were going to double the post, and Jon did a great job of finding everybody.”

Notebook: Gasser has historic debut

November 15, 2010 Comments off

MADISON – When asked about the kind of impact Josh Gasser could have, assistant coach Greg Gard said Wisconsin did not recruit him to sit on the bench.

Gasser didn’t wait too long to show why.

In his collegiate debut, the point guard from Port Washington scored 21 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out three assists. Gasser also grabbed one steal against one turnover.

“He took care of the ball, he made great decisions,” head coach Bo Ryan said. “People will remember the points, but he did some other things pretty well.”

In just one game at Wisconsin, the 6-foot-3 guard has put his name in the record books, just behind Rashard Griffith.

With his 21-point debut, Gasser ranks second behind Griffith, who scored 27 on Nov. 27, 1993, in his first career collegiate game.

“Obviously that’s going to help his confidence level and that’s going to be great for us down the road,” Jordan Taylor said. “We knew what Josh could do, and we’ve been talking about that since the season started about guys having to prove themselves. He took a step toward doing that tonight.

“He almost had a double-double and the second-most points for a debut in Badger history. Maybe he’s the next like Devin Harris or something like that.”

What could make Gasser an essential piece to the Badgers offense, though, is his ability to grab nine rebounds in 26 minutes at the guard position.

As long as he continues to take care of the ball and play confident, aggressive basketball, Gasser will continue to see minutes, even when Rob Wilson returns. Gasser’s aggressive style showed in the 10 free throw attempts and the fact that six of his nine rebounds came on the offensive end.

“I always want to try and get my rebounds,” Gasser said. “I’ve always been pretty good at that in my career. I knew I could bring that to our team.

“I was just trying to do whatever I could out there to help us.”

Of course, Gasser’s impressive debut did not come without its teaching points.

As impressive as the freshman point guard was on the offensive end, his defense left something to be desired at times, as noted by his head coach.

“He got a lesson about a guy hitting a three and then hitting another one and then hitting another one, and not making a guy move off a spot or make a guy put the ball on the floor,” Ryan said. “So we guarded the three much better. They got into a little rhythm there, but he got some help from his teammates. Plus, he recognized an earlier pick up.”

Smith impressive in first career start

He had just one point in 17 minutes of play, but Wquinton Smith showed what he could contribute to the Badgers if given regular playing time this season.

Smith grabbed five rebounds, all on the offensive end, while dishing out three assists and turning the ball over just once. He picked up just one personal foul in the game as well, while going 1-for-2 at the free throw line.

“His shot didn’t go down, but he did the other things,” Ryan said. “I thought defensively he chased on the screens pretty well, manned up on his guy, got on the glass, was opportunistic. He’s just hungry to contribute. You can’t go wrong with those kind of guys.”

Bruesewitz continues to impress offensively

When putting together a defensive gameplan for stopping the Badgers, the first goal has to be limiting Jon Leuer‘s effectiveness. After that, Taylor is the secondary focus.

As for Rob Wilson and Keaton Nankivil, opponents are familiar with their names as well. After his impressive debut, Gasser is sure to get plenty of attention as well.

But not many people are going to expect Mike Bruesewitz to knock down outside shots the way he did Sunday.

“Mike looked like J-Bo out there for a stretch from last year,” Taylor said, referring to graduated guard Jason Bohannon. “I don’t think he hit the rim.”

Bruesewitz went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc as he scored 11 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting from the floor. His one basket that did not come via the three ball was perhaps the most impressive.

After hitting a couple open shots from the outside, Bruesewitz shot faked and drove around a defender to the rim for the easy bucket. It’s just one of a few things the sophomore appears ready to bring to the UW offense this season.

“He read the defensive player, that’s in our shooting drills,” Ryan said before adding some humor about Bruesewitz’s much talked about new look. “But I think the biggest key in the offseason was he felt a few times last year that he was open and he wasn’t getting the ball. So he wanted to make sure he was seen better this year.

“You can’t miss the Brueser out there. You’re going to find him.”

Gasser could play major role

November 9, 2010 Comments off

MADISON – As a freshman at Port Washington High School, he quickly made a name for himself as he led the Pirates to the Division II championship game.

Now a freshman guard for Bo Ryan‘s Badgers, it shouldn’t take long for Wisconsin fans to become familiar with Josh Gasser either.

“He understands the game, he plays much more mature than his actual age, he makes good decisions, makes plays, he knows how to play, and he doesn’t get rattled,” assistant head coach Greg Gard said. “He plays like a 21- or 22-year-old that’s been here for two or three years, not like a freshman that’s only been on campus for three months.”

As evidenced by his ability to lead a team as a high school freshman, and noted by Gard, Gasser plays beyond his years at point guard, something that players and coaches have quickly noticed about the 6-foot-3, 185-pound freshman since he arrived this summer.

Could that poise and confidence as a freshman result in more playing time for Gasser?

“Absolutely,” Gard answered. “I don’t think there’s any doubt. We didn’t recruit him to sit on the bench very long. So, he’s been given an opportunity to show what he can do in practice, and he definitely hasn’t disappointed. He’s definitely shown what we thought he could do and the impact we thought he could have.”

Gasser has already given fans a taste of what he can do in the Badgers’ scrimmages earlier this month and Saturday’s exhibition matchup against UW-La Crosse.

When the Badgers scrimmaged at the Field House back on Oct. 16, Gasser connected three times from beyond the arc, finishing with nine points and showing that he was not afraid to release the ball with a defender in his face. In 17 minutes of play during the Red-White Scrimmage, he tallied three points while dishing out two assists against one turnover while grabbing four rebounds and two steals.

In his first collegiate action against someone other than his Wisconsin teammates, Gasser was even more impressive. In 20 minutes, Gasser did not commit a turnover, while collecting four rebounds, one assist, and nine points on 3-of-6 shooting.

For fellow guards like Jordan Taylor, it was likely a relief Saturday to have Gasser on their side, rather than going up against him as they do every day in practice.

“He’s a competitor,” Taylor said. “He’s a tough kid and just loves to compete, bang his head around and bang other people’s heads around, too. He’s given me a few headaches already.

“As he continues to get better and his confidence continues to grow, I think he could see a lot of minutes. I’m looking forward to it, I like playing with him and it’s fun to play against him. He’s a great competitor and a great teammate, so I’d love to be on the court with him at the same time.”

Despite the hard work of trying to secure a major role on Ryan’s squad, Gasser has enjoyed his time so far at Wisconsin, going so far as saying he, “Wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here.” The biggest challenge and difference in adjusting to the collegiate level for Gasser has been the physicality and intensity of the game.

Based on the early results and reviews from his teammates and coaches, though, Gasser seems to be getting along just fine in the more physical competition with the Badgers.

While he looks to be putting himself in position to take on a major position within the Wisconsin rotation, Gasser is happy for now with any role that comes his way.

“Whatever they put me in, I’ll do,” Gasser said. “If I come off the bench for a few minutes here and there, I’m fine with that. If I play a bigger role, that would be fine as well. Whatever I need to do to help us win.

“I’m not expecting anything as far as a lot playing time, but I’m working at it. If that’s what happens, it’s what I want.”

MBB season recap 3/25

March 27, 2010 Comments off

Wisconsin surprises, then disappoints in ’10

By Jordan Schelling     The Badger Herald