Wisconsin 72, Green Bay 34: Last Word

MADISON — Wisconsin used a 27-5 run at the end of the first half to pull away from UW-Green Bay on the way to a 72-34 win Friday night at the Kohl Center.

Player of the Game: Steven Crowl

Like St. Francis (Brooklyn), the Phoenix had no one big enough to challenge Crowl at the rim and he took advantage with three offensive rebounds and several altered shots on the other end. The sophomore led the Badgers with 18 points and tied for the team high with seven rebounds. The 7-footer got his offense from the inside (5-for-7 on 2P FGs), outside (2-for-4 on 3P FGs) and at the free throw line (2-for-2).

The competition – and the size of that competition — will increase in the coming games but the Badgers big man continued a strong start to the season Friday night.

The good: Foot on the gas

It was a 12-10 game with 12:42 left in the first half as Wisconsin’s struggles shooting the ball kept Green Bay in it. But the Badgers closed the half on a 27-5 run to blow the game open. At times under Greg Gard, Wisconsin has struggled to keep its intensity level high early in the second half of blowouts. But that is exactly what they did against the Phoenix. The same fight they showed on defense in the first 20 minutes was there after the break, as they turned a 24-point halftime lead into a 41-point lead 10:46 into the second half.

The not so good: Shooting

It was not a good shooting night for either team, though the Badgers were slightly better. Despite the 38-point margin of victory, Wisconsin went just 37.5% from the field, including 5-for-21 (23.8%) from beyond the arc. Quite a few of the shots inside the 3-point line were tough mid-range shots and probably not what Gard wants to see on a regular basis. The lack of success from deep is a little more concerning because a number of the looks were not contested and they still did not go down.

Stat of the Game: 7

That is how many steals Chucky Hepburn (4) and Lorne Bowman (3) combined for in the game. Hepburn’s on ball defense is relentless and he seems to always get his hands on the ball if given an opening. Bowman struggled with foul trouble, but still appeared more comfortable in his second real game in the last 18 months.

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What They Said

“In the first two games and throughout the course of the fall in the preseason, we’ve been trying to find our identity. I think we’ve found out that our identity is on the defensive end of the ball. Our ability to apply pressure, but also stay solid and discipline has been great the first two games. We’ve got to continue to build on it and continue to get better. But at that point I know we can be really good because we really value the defensive side of the ball and that’ll make you competitive no matter where you’re playing and who you’re playing against. There’s a lot to look forward to for this group.”

— Brad Davison after the Badgers limited the Phoenix to 34 points on 23.5% shooting from the field and no Green Bay player scored more than five points.

In Case You Missed It

— Jonathan Davis scored 15 points, though it wasn’t an overly efficient night shooting for him. He was just 5-fot-16 from the floor, including 0-for-3 on 3-pointers. But the sophomore continues to make it hard on defenders to stay in front of him without fouling. He drew six fouls on Friday night and has now drawn 10 through the first two games. Davis is also a lot more than scoring for the Badgers, as he added five rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in 25 minutes.

— Wisconsin honored former coach Bo Ryan during a halftime ceremony. It was his first time back at the Kohl Center officially since retiring six years ago. Ryan led the Badgers to four Big Ten regular season titles, three Big Ten tournament titles, 14 straight NCAA Tournaments and two Final Fours.

— Wisconsin guard Jacobi Neath did not play in the game. UW said he his dealing with an upper body injury.

— UW-Green Bay is coached by Will Ryan, the son of Bo. His coaching staff includes former Badgers guard Freddie Owens.

What’s next?

Wisconsin (2-0) will host Providence (2-0) Monday night as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games featuring teams from the Big Ten going against schools from the Big East.