Mr. Wills goes to London

· Aug 30, 2001 Tweet

How did you spend your summer break?

Maybe you were employed in Madison, or went home and held down a few odd jobs there. Possibly you spent some time abroad like Wisconsin basketball’s senior forward Charlie Wills.
Well, not exactly like Wills.

Between Aug. 10-18, Wills averaged 10.0 points and 5.2 rebounds as the Big Ten Conference Foreign Tour Team defeated three teams in both England and Ireland. The last conference squad to post an undefeated trip was the 1995 team that went 7-0 in Japan.

Wills scored in double figures in three of the team’s six games. His highest scoring effort was a 17-point performance against the Irish National team in the Big Ten’s final game of the tour. Wills also added a team-best nine rebounds in that game. In addition, he contributed 14 points and nine boards in a 105-47 win over Waterford Crystal of Ireland. The UW senior began the trip with 13 points against the Ealing Tornados Select team of England.

Indiana’s Mike Davis coached the team, which was made up mostly of reserves from around the Big Ten, but missed the first two games of the trip due to back trouble. Davis arrived in London mid-morning and promptly led the Big Ten team to an early lead and its third straight win against London Towers, 107-82.

The Big Ten team knew heading into the contest that the Towers was its toughest competition to date; they wasted little time jumping out to the early lead. The players connected on six of their first seven shots to build an eight-point lead and went on an 18-5 run to end the first quarter with a 35-18 advantage. The Big Ten connected on 13 of 19 shots in first half, including six three-pointers.

The London Towers represent the country of England in the Euroleague and are regarded as one of the nation’s top teams.

The Big Ten continued its winning ways in Ireland as the team defeated the Waterford Crystal Club at Slieverue Sport Hall in Waterford, Ireland.

Northwestern’s Tavaras Hardy led the team in scoring with 18 points on 7-13 shooting from the field. The Wildcat senior scored a team-best 17 points in the tour opener Aug. 10 and ranked second on the team in scoring in the six games. Wills and Purdue’s Joe Marshall each had 14 points, while Wills and Indiana’s Kyle Hornsby led the way with nine rebounds apiece.

The Big Ten concluded its journey through England and Ireland with a pair of wins, as the Conference squad wrapped up an undefeated 6-0 record with victories over Limerick Burger King, 112-96, and the Irish National Team, 86-78.

The Conference unit began its final stretch of games Aug. 17, with a 112-96 defeat of Limerick Burger King at the Limerick Sports Arena in Ireland. Seven Big Ten players scored 12 or more points. Purdue’s Joe Marshall led the way with 17 points and was joined in double figures by Penn State’s Sharif Chambliss (14), Michigan’s Gavin Groninger (13), Minnesota’s Shane Schilling (13), Northwestern’s Tavaras Hardy (13), Indiana’s Kyle Hornsby (12) and Iowa’s Duez Henderson (12). Michigan State’s Adam Wolfe led the way with nine rebounds, while Chambliss and Marshall tied for top honors with six assists.

The squad ended the tour with its toughest game, edging the Ireland National Team 86-78 on Aug. 18 in the closest contest of the trip. Groninger poured in a team-best 19 points, including three treys, while Wills nearly posted a double-double with 17 points and a team-best nine boards. Wolfe added 14 points to send the team to the undefeated record.

The Big Ten Foreign Tour Team won its six games by a combined 156 points and an average margin of victory of 26 points. The team averaged exactly 103 points per game and shot 47.5 percent from the field. Six players averaged double-figures in points, led by Wolfe’s 14.3 points per contest. The MSU standout also led the team in rebounding with 6.5 boards per game, while Chambliss topped the squad with 27 assists.

Now all of the Big Ten players will head back to their respective conference teams, leaving the European competition behind.

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This article was published Aug 30, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Aug 30, 2001 at 12:00 am

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