Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Basketball wins, earns Ryan first victory

The Bo Ryan era has officially begun.

No longer do the likes of Mike Kelley, Mark Vershaw, or Andy Kowske grace the Kohl Center floor, but instead a new class has taken their seats. When the Wisconsin men’s basketball team defeated the EA Sports All-Star team 95-64 on Saturday night, they were paced by a group of freshmen playmakers rather than senior domination, as has been the trend in recent years.

This exhibition game was the first of two that would help mold a team that is still getting used to one another’s presence on the court. With a more fast-paced offense-oriented team rather than the defensive trademark of Dick Bennett, the Badgers are beginning to showcase their scoring threats.

Freshman guard Devin Harris lit up the court for 22 points in his debut as a Badger, while fellow freshman Mike Wilkinson added 19. The freshmen were just two of the five Badgers to score in double figures.

Despite the obvious youthfulness of the team, the returning players made their presence known.

Senior guard Travon Davis opened up first half play for UW as he scored 12 of his 14 points in the first 20 minutes alone, and helped lead Wisconsin to a 50-28 halftime lead.

Wisconsin shot 63.3 percent from the field on a 19 of 30 shooting effort. The new style of play revealed by Ryan’s squad saw 20 of its first half points coming from drives in the lane. With forwards Charlie Wills, Dave Mader, and Wilkinson working the outside perimeter, the lane was opened up for Davis, Harris, and Kirk Penney to work their magic.

Penney, the lone returning starter from last season, was double-teamed throughout the first half and was held to seven points, including 1-3 from three-point land. Penney would finish the evening with 12 points, two assists, and three turnovers.

Davis finished with 14 points, four assists, and only one turnover.

The All-Stars were held to 43.3 percent shooting and were out-rebounded by Wisconsin 20-9.

While the first half belonged to Davis, the second half was all Harris. The true-freshman took advantage of the lapsed perimeter defense of the All-stars and continually drove through traffic, which resulted in eight points for him. Harris would score 14 points in the second half and would add four rebounds — all on the defensive end.

With his solid all-around effort, Harris disguised the reality that Saturday was his first collegiate game.

“I felt very comfortable [on the court],” said Harris. “I was trying to relax before the game and it was the first game of the season as a team and we were trying to break it in together.”

The All-Stars attempted to cut Wisconsin’s lead when they went on a 14-6 run to bring the score to 56-42 with 12 minutes left. That 14-point gap was as close as the All-Stars would get in the second half, as Penney sparked the Badger offense.

Penney opened up the Badgers’ scoring run when he notched his second 3-point shot of the night to spark a 15-0 run in a three-minute span. Harris also chipped in during that time, as he added eight points of his own during the run.

UW would lead by as many as 35 points and would finish the evening shooting 58.6 percent, including 21-24 from the charity stripe.

On the boards Wills and Wilkinson paced the team with nine rebounds apiece.

The All-Stars, who were playing their seventh game in 11 days, were led by Kelley McClure who tallied 14 points — all of which were in the second half.

As a team they shot 44.1 percent and turned the ball over 13 times, one less than UW. They were out-rebounded 41-21 but did manage to steal the ball seven times from the Badger offense.

Following the game Ryan addressed the issue of his team adjusting to each other on the court.

“We just stuck with the same things that we work on every day in practice with taking care of the ball,” said Ryan. “We got caught a little bit in a rat game and had a few more turnovers than what I like. But I think a lot of that came as a result of us trying to get a feel for one another and hopefully that will improve as the season goes on. Our expectations are to play hard, play as a team, and get good shots, and I think we did that.”

Davis echoed his coach’s analysis, but added that as a player he still enjoyed the opportunity to get to know his teammates better on the court.

“It’s always fun when you win,” said Davis. “We have a coach that insists that we have fun after we make sure that we’re doing the things we need to do. I think as a team that we were focusing on what we needed to do to get this victory and in the process have a good time. I think that’s why you play the game.”

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