The Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team is back on hardwood late Wednesday night to hijack their season against the Eastern Illinois Panthers. The two teams played last year in close competition that followed a moving tribute to Howard Moore and his family.
This season, the Badgers have entered with much higher expectations and managed to secure their first win this year, albeit closely, as Wisconsin overtook eastern Illinois with a 10-point win.
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The # The vagrants Take care of eastern Illinois from 77 to 67.
Nate Reovers led all the scorers with 18 points and nine rebounds.
– Fifth Quarter Bucks (@ B5Q) November 26, 2020
Early in the match, Wisconsin was able to slip into Nate Reuvers who were hot with seven out of the team’s first nine points.
After the initial media break, a pair of freshmen, Johnny Davis and Ben Carlson, managed to get into the scoring column for their first college-level game. The duo looked good in attack, and helped propel the Badgers to a 15-10 advantage midway through the first half.
Wisconsin was able to consolidate their lead during the final stages of the first half thanks to a 12-0 series that included three throws by Mika Potter and Brad Davison, and some continued strong play by Ben Carlson.
The Badger went to the break with a 23-point win with nine assists, and carried EIU with only 23.5% of the shot.
The # The vagrants Advance 43-20 in half.
Ben Carlson and Jonathan Davis with 16 combined points, while Nate Rivers added 14.
UW shot 51.7% from the field and 81.8% from the FT streak.
– Fifth Quarter Bucks (@ B5Q) November 26, 2020
In the first moments of the second half, a third student saw the stadium, where gigantic man Stephen Crowe was the first player to sit on the bench.
While Crowl hasn’t nearly as influenced the game as Davis and Carlson, Badgers have managed to maintain their distance from eastern Illinois heading into the first media deadline.
After the time limit, the Panthers were able to shed a little deficit after 16-3, and some slack by the Badgers in the attack. Tyler Wall would give the team a good boost, though, pushing the Wisconsin lead to 17 with 6:31 left.
During the final minutes of the match, Badgers turned to the bench, and EIU managed to close the gap a bit.
Ultimately, Wisconsin held out, winning 77 to 67.
- Nate Reuvers -> 18 points (6 of 10 shots), nine rebounds, five blocks
- Mika Potter -> Nine Points (Shots 3 of 7), eight rebounds, two assists
- Ben Carlson -> 13 points (4 out of 5 shots), 2 rebounds, 1 block
- Josiah Wallace -> 22 points (9 out of 16 shots), four rebounds, three assists
No. 1: First-time freshmen
Gregg Gard made it clear early in the match that he trusted a pair of his new students. Ben Carlson and Jonathan Davis were both included in the game shortly after the first media deadline, and the boy performed it.
The duo raised the team on both ends of the field in the first half. Both players scored eight points midway through, and immediately showed why they were so pursuing four-star heights in high school.
As mentioned earlier, Stephen Crowell participated in the second half also in his first group minutes as well. The fourth new student, Carter Gilmore, also saw minutes late on the purge assignment.
But the story was Carlson and Davis, with the two youngsters collecting 21 points.
No. 2: Long lineups
The one thing that jumps around Badgers this season is Greg Gard’s interchangeability with his squads. The team has a whole host of senior leaders, and a youthful pool of talented options like Tyler Wahl, Ben Carlson and Jonathan Davis.
The starting line-up consists of five senior players, and the group has some great height with 6-foot-tall forwards and 10+ forwards in Potter and Reuvers, and 6-foot-8 Alim Ford grabbing the small front round. Tyler Wahl’s growth spurt adds another 6-foot-9 long body to play either as a forward spelling Reuvers / Potter or Ford, and Ben Carlson is another 6-foot-9 forward to help out in the front area as well.
Gard switched these five players up and down his squad against a shorter team in Eastern Illinois. It will be interesting to see if Gard continues to do this going forward this season, as this extra variety can really help that team with B1G’s durability this season.
Eastern Illinois outperformed the team by 40 to 37, giving this group room for much needed improvement before the Big Ten match, but the height and flexibility of the front court rotation is definitely a positive development.
No. 3: Balanced scoring
Last season, all five junior players against Eastern Illinois averaged more than eight points per game. Three of these players (Reuvers, Potter, Davison) averaged double numbers.
In the opening match, Wisconsin continued their balanced attack which distributed shots to several players.
Six different players attempted six or more shots against Eastern Illinois, while three players (Reuvers, Carlson and Trice) scored more than 10 points.
In a team that does not have a star player to rely on, Wisconsin will need consistent production from across the team to produce this season and meet lofty expectations.
next one: The Badgers will return to play on Friday against the Arkansas Pine Bluff. The briefing is scheduled for 8 PM CST on BTN.
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