After an initial scare in the opening minutes, the Wisconsin men’s basketball team found its rhythm and with it came plenty of scoring in a 96-44 exhibition rout of UW-Oshkosh.
The Badgers were in a seven-point hole to their Division III opponent early in the game, but a Ben Brust three-pointer handed Wisconsin a lead it never surrendered. A 20-0 run quickly gave Wisconsin a 14-point lead and soon turned the game into a blowout.
“I don’t know that we’re going to score 96 points a night every game, but this is one of the smaller teams we’ve played, that I’ve played in my career,” fifth-year senior forward Ryan Evans said. “But to their credit, they were really gritty and I got a lot of respect for those guys.”
All 14 players on the Badgers’ roster scored Wednesday night at the Kohl Center, but redshirt freshman point guard George Marshall separated himself from a cluttered box score with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor.
Despite calling him out for a sloppy pass that cost the young point guard his only turnover, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said Marshall did a solid job on the defensive side of the ball.
It was a sentiment reflected by first-year UW-Oshkosh head coach Pat Juckem.
“I think he’s your prototypical Wisconsin point guard in the sense that he made good decisions, he’s a pretty complete player, pretty heady for a young kid,” Juckem said of Marshall. “Just a really good fit for what I think Coach [Ryan] looks for.”
His performance Wednesday appeared to hand Marshall the early advantage in the battle for Josh Gasser’s vacated spot manning the point.
The Chicago native logged 26 minutes to sophomore Traevon Jackson’s 14 minutes on the floor. The two young guards shared time together on the floor for segments of the first half, but after Wednesday night Marshall seemed to gain a stronger grasp on his spot in the driver’s seat.
Marshall received plenty of help from his more experienced teammates, as center Jared Breggren led all scorers with 16 points and a half dozen rebounds. Joining him with double-figure scoring were Ryan Evans (11, giving him a double-double alongside his 11 rebounds), Frank Kaminsky (12) and Brust (12).
“Everyone’s been playing well, everyone’s been shooting well, so yeah, it’s going to be on Coach Ryan to figure out who’s going to play and who’s not,” Evans said. “But I think we could be a deep team.”
Despite missing their first three shots of the game, UW took control quickly when the Titans managed all of six points in nearly 15 minutes of play following their surprising start. The Badgers made up for their rocky start and finished the game shooting better than 57 percent from the floor and sinking 40 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.
By halftime, UW had built a 26-point lead after shooting guard Ben Brust sunk a three-pointer and a layup to close out the half. UW cruised through the second half behind the efforts of Kaminsky, a sophomore forward, who finished with 12 points and three rebounds.
“I could see pretty good balance, not knowing who could explode on any given night,” Ryan said. “There’s some guys out there that are capable, because as you know, especially in the league, if there’s only one guy or two guys you’re counting on, it’s pretty hard. You got to have contributions from other people.”
Wisconsin kicks off its regular season Sunday against Southeastern Louisiana. Tip off is set for 1 p.m. at the Kohl Center.