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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.”

 

Wilson expects to play at UNLV

November 18, 2010 Comments off

MADISON – For the first time in nearly two weeks, Wisconsin guard Rob Wilson returned to practice Thursday, looking like his usual self.

Wilson showed no effects of the right hamstring injury that has kept him out of the Badgers’ first two games as he practiced with the first-team offense and defense.

“It feels real good,” Wilson said. “It’s still coming along, but I expect to get in on Saturday. It’s the coaches’ decision, but I’m ready to play.”

Wilson played a limited role in the Badgers’ first exhibition contest, but in the three games since (including a second exhibition game), Wilson has been limited to a spectator role.

It’s been a frustrating situation for the junior guard, to say the least.

“It’s really tough, but it’s human nature, there’s nothing I can do about it,” Wilson said. “I’ve just got to deal with it, get better and come back stronger so it won’t happen again.

“It’s really frustrating because we had a lot of expectations going into this year. I worked hard this summer and then this comes along. But it’s part of the game.”

Without Wilson in the lineup, the Wisconsin offense has not missed a beat, putting up an average of 92 points per game through its first two. It’s the team’s highest average through two games since putting up 103.5 per game through the first two games in 1993.

Comparatively, last year’s squad averaged just 66.5 points after two games.

Much of the offensive success has had to do with the improvement of senior forward Jon Leuer who has put up 23 points, 6.5 rebounds, four assists and 1.5 blocks per game. But the guard play has been impressive as well.

Junior point guard Jordan Taylor has done an excellent job leading the UW offense, averaging 15 points and five assists per game. In the absence of Wilson, freshman Josh Gasser also has shown plenty of skill.

“They’ve been really impressive,” Wilson said. “Especially the freshmen like Josh stepping up. I’m learning a lot already sitting on the bench this year through two games.”

Gasser started at the two guard Tuesday against North Dakota, making him just the third UW freshman to start in the Bo Ryan era, joining Alando Tucker and Devin Harris.

Even with his 14 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game average so far, Gasser knows the team will be even better with Wilson back in the lineup.

“Today was his first practice back, and it was exciting to have him out there,” Gasser said. “It’s just another guy to help us, especially offensively. We need guard play, it’s a big part of our team. So he’s going to come in right away and help us.

“Rob’s a very good player, both offensively and defensively. He such a big part of our team, so to put up numbers like we did (without him), it shows that we are a pretty good team. With him back, we’re going to be even better.”

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.”