November 11, 2008

Badgers wear down Warhawks in exhibition win

MADISON, Wis. - Joe Krabbenhoft had to leave the game during the first half after getting poked in the eye, Jason Bohannon fouled out with three minutes to play and Trevon Hughes only managed to score seven points.

One would have thought he Badgers were leaving everything they had on the floor during a late season conference game, much less an exhibition game against a D-III opponent in early November.

It was not pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but when it was over, the Wisconsin men's basketball team pulled away for a comfortable 64-47 win in its final exhibition tune-up before its regular season opener this weekend.

"Whitewater gave us all they had," UW head coach Bo Ryan said following the win. "In the end, because I felt we were working their shooters really well, it's tough to shoot in very high percentage if you start to wear down some."

Over the final nine minutes of the contest, the Badgers held Whitewater without a field goal and broke a 44-42 game into a 55-44 advantage with just over three minutes to play.

"We knew we had to step it up in the locker room," Krabbenhoft, whose team only led 28-25 at the break, said. "We knew what we had to do and it always starts on the defensive end with us. I thought everybody down the whole line did a great job of defending, making tough shots for them."

Whitewater came into the game ranked top-five nationally in two D-III polls. On this night, it played like it deserved those accolades. They matched UW physically in the post and prevented the Badgers from getting in any sort of rhythm down low, especially during the first half.

Of UW's 28 points in the opening 20 minutes, only 10 came inside the paint.

"When they did get it inside our emphasis was to make them score over us and not give them lanes to the rim," Whitewater head coach Pat Miller said. "Overall defensively, I was really happy with our effort."

Myles McKay paced the Warhawks with 16 points and was one of three Whitewater players to score double-digit points along with Kori Vernon (12) and Matt Goodwin (10), the WIAC's returning player of the year.

Thought the Badgers did not play to their capabilities, the game against a very good UW-W squad will benefit them as the season begins and wears on.

"Last year we got tremendously better as the year went on," Bohannon, who finished with 10 points, said. "And I think that's our biggest goal right now is to just keep getting better every day and Coach Ryan won't settle for anything less.

"We just want to improve as the season goes on."

In the end, the Badgers managed to shoot 40.7 percent from the floor and dominated the Warhawks on the glass by a 39-22 margin. Krabbenhoft's 12 points set the bar for UW while Landry joined the group of three that scored in double digits with his 10 points.

Neither freshmen big men, Jared Berggren and Ian Markolf, saw game action while Ryan Evans received only one minute of playing time.

Other freshmen Robert Wilson, who finished with three points, and Jordan Taylor, four points in 21 minutes, saw legitimate playing time.

The Badgers open regular season play Sunday afternoon against Long Beach State.

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