Posts Tagged ‘Mike Bruesewitz’

Badgers upset No. 1 Buckeyes … (Again)

February 14, 2011 Comments off

MADISON — The Kohl Center, where streaks come to die.

One of the 17,230 fans packed inside the building on Dayton Street made a sign Saturday with the above statement. Another read “24-1.”

After a hard-fought 40 minutes, they were right on both accounts.

Behind an incredible second-half performance by junior guard Jordan Taylor, one that came when his team needed it most, Wisconsin handed No. 1 Ohio State its first loss, 71-67. With the win, the UW became just the eighth school since 1969-70 to defeat the AP No. 1 team in both football and basketball during the same academic year.

“It’s Madison, Wisconsin,” said Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan of the upset. “It’s been said a lot of times about what this campus is like, what this school is all about. … Like I was telling people before, I think the basketball thing is a little different in February with Ohio State being No. 1.

“I don’t know about football rankings, and Ohio State was No. 1, I understand that. I just think in our sport, to be [24-0], you’ve had to win in November, December, January and into February. So, I kind of like ours because it just happened. I loved football’s because I was there at the game. It’s just all good for the school.”

Last time a school upset the nation’s No. 1 team in both sports? Florida, in 2006-07, also over Ohio State.

Heading into the matchup, Keaton Nankivil and the Badgers talked about looking to get off to a hot start and maintain a high level of intensity throughout, something that worked tremendously for the football team back on October 16.

Instead, the basketball version took a little different trajectory.

After a highlight montage from that victory at Camp Randall pumped up the crowd just before tipoff, Wisconsin jumped out to a fairly hot start, building a 12-6 lead through the first 6 1/2 minutes of play. Unlike the football team, however, that hot start did not translate into a dominant wire-to-wire victory.

In fact, the Badgers fell behind by as many as 15 points with 13:21 to play in the second half, stunning the home crowd. The next trip down the floor, trailing 47-32, Taylor hit a floater in the lane that sparked a 15-0 run to tie it.

“You have to give Wisconsin a ton of credit,” Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said. “We got that lead and had some great looks, I thought, but it just kind of went in and out on us. It flipped, we started missing shots and they started making shots.”

Just like that, in a matter of four minutes, the Badgers took what looked to be a sure blowout and flipped it into the type of back-and-forth battle it had been throughout the first half. Only, they weren’t done there.

After dropping behind once again by four points with 7:40 to play, the Badgers tied it at 55 just 42 seconds later on a Mike Bruesewitz 3-pointer. Over the next 2 1/2 minutes, Wisconsin reeled off nine unanswered for its largest lead of the game at 62-55.

Now, not only was Ryan’s squad not going to be blown out, it was in control against the nation’s best. And while Taylor’s 21 second-half points stand out, it was a true team effort that got them there.

“When we were down, I don’t think things really changed,” Taylor said. “They made a run, and we knew we had a run in us. … We eventually we started getting stops and started making plays and everybody made a big play. Not one person didn’t.”

Ohio State kept things interesting over the game’s final minutes, but with the raucous crowd behind it, Wisconsin would not relinquish its lead.

Despite their best efforts, William Buford‘s 21 points and Jared Sullinger‘s 19 point and 12 rebounds just weren’t enough. Despite all the talk surrounding Sullinger as a national player of the year candidate, he and Buford could not do it alone.

“Our game plan [was] to kind of limit his touches, because when he gets it down there, he is pretty much unstoppable,” said Jon Leuer of Sullinger. “It is hard to score if you don’t have the ball, and that is what we were trying to do with him.”

Taylor, who struggled in the first half, finished with a game-high 27 points and seven assists against just one turnover. Leuer, Bruesewitz and Josh Gasser joined him in scoring double digits, with 27 of the points between the four coming from beyond the arc.

As the clock ticked to zero, fans stormed the court, mobbing the Badgers for the second time in four months following a thrilling victory over the Buckeyes.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Taylor said. “We were at the football game when they beat Ohio State and a few of us got to go down on the field. Just to be in another court rusher game like that, similar to Duke last year, it was unbelievable.

“It’s something you remember forever.”


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.”


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.”

Bruesewitz shows ability to score

November 10, 2010 Comments off

MADISON – With Mike Bruesewitz, the Badgers know they’ll get maximum effort and energy from a guy that will fill up the stat sheet with rebounds, assists and steals.

As a sophomore, Bruesewitz appears ready to be a more capable offensive threat as well.

“This offseason, I personally worked a lot on my game,” Bruesewitz said. “But the big thing came from playing against my teammates in the summer. That helped me a lot because I got to go against guys like Jon [Leuer] and Jordan [Taylor] and guys that are really good in practice. So that really helped me elevate my game.”

Through two exhibition games, Bruesewitz has averaged 8.5 points, including a nine-point effort Wednesday as Wisconsin defeated Minnesota State, 93-59, at the Kohl Center. Bruesewitz went 1-for-3 from the floor, 1-for-2 beyond the arc and a perfect 6-for-6 at the line on the night.

While scoring more often, Bruesewitz continues to bring plenty of energy, especially on the offensive glass. Against the Mavericks, he grabbed four rebounds, dished out two assists and grabbed one steal. For the exhibition season, the sophomore forward has eight rebounds, three assists, three turnovers and two steals.

Though his offense has shown noticeable improvement and he seems to have elevated his overall play on the court, it’s still his energy and effort that have earned him a major role on Bo Ryan‘s Wisconsin team.

“Well, I know his height is elevated,” Ryan joked, referring to Breusewitz’s new look. “But Mike, finish around the basket, pump fake. But man is he active. He’s a live wire out there. You just love those kind of guys that are not just doing stuff to get in foul trouble or whatever. He’s a mixer. That’s why he earned the position he was in tonight.”

Bruesewitz started Wednesday’s game alongside Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil, with Wquinton Smith and Jordan Taylor in the backcourt.

Giving the starting nod to Bruesewitz, Ryan had both Tim Jarmusz and Ryan Evans coming off the bench against Minnesota State. Of course, that does not necessarily mean Bruesewitz will be in that same position come Saturday, when the Badgers take on Prairie View A&M.

“I’ll see Prairie View, I’ll see some tape, and then we’ll just look at some matchups,” Ryan said. “I’m not going to be real concerned, and the players aren’t either, about who’s going to start and who isn’t. It’s just, ‘OK, here’s what we’re going to do.’

“We’ll play off of some experience and then whoever’s getting it done in practice, reward them.”

If he maintains the level of play he’s had so far, Bruesewitz could be the one reaping that reward once again.

Leuer learns from USA Select Team experience

October 22, 2010 Comments off

MADISON — While summer means a time to relax for most college students, it’s a time for hard work and improvement if you’re a member of a Division I basketball program.

After he spent the summer competing against NBA competition as a part of the USA Men’s Select Team, senior forward Jon Leuer has shown significant improvement as Wisconsin began practicing last week.

In fact, he’s gotten so much better that it’s frustrating for teammates like sophomore Mike Bruesewitz to guard Leuer in practice.

According to Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan, a lot of that has to do with Leuer’s approach to the unique opportunity to compete against Team USA on a daily basis for Villanova’s Jay Wright and Washington’s Lorenzo Romar.

“Jon was smart in that he went there with the idea that he could learn something and get better,” Ryan said. “Some guys are asked to those things and then guys are going to say, ‘OK, I’m going to prove I can beat the world, I’m going to get a potential contract and get noticed.

“Jon went in there with the idea that he knew he was going to try to help those guys get better, and he did, and that he was there to listen to Coach Wright and to Coach Romar. They just loved him for that.”

While it may not be much consolation for guys like Bruesewitz, Leuer likely went through much of the same thing over the summer as they are now.

In fact, one player in particular really stood out to Leuer as he did his best to cover him.

“Kevin Durant. He’s the best player I’ve seen,” Leuer said. “He’s just so long and athletic and he can score so easily. He’s pretty much impossible to guard. The scary thing is, he can still get better, too. Just trying to guard him every day was a challenge.

“I’m glad I don’t have to face him in the Big Ten.”

Going against Durant was a challenge for Leuer, much the way it has now become a stiffer challenge for Leuer’s teammates facing him in practice.

Of course, there’s plenty to take away from such challenges. If he went in with the mentality of learning from the best, what exactly did Leuer take away from the experience?

“First and foremost, I learned I can compete against those guys, which moving forward, gives me confidence that I know I can play against those guys,” Leuer answered. “It definitely gives you some confidence, knowing that you could do that against some of those guys.

“At the same time, every time you step on the court, it’s going to be a challenge and you’ve got to be willing to work hard and put forth the effort. It doesn’t matter what I did this summer.”

Now that he’s back to facing collegiate competition, Leuer will look to take his experience against Durant and other members of the 2010 FIBA world champion United State squad. And if he can successfully compete with established NBA big men, what Big Ten forward will be able to consistently stop Leuer?

Add on the fact that a number of Badgers have put together their best seasons as seniors, and Leuer appears to be poised for big things this year. But as a senior leader at Wisconsin, Leuer’s focus is not only on himself, either.

“As a senior, that’s kind of what you’re called upon to do, is step into a leadership role and me and the six other seniors, that’s what we’re trying to do,” Leuer said. “We know that this is our last go ’round, and it’s our job as seniors to kind of step into a leadership role and push the other guys and set a good example for them.”