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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Former assistant coach Jeter returns to Kohl Center

Finals week can be a very stressful time for most students, and the men's basketball team is no exception. After playing an exhausting four games in nine days, the Badgers (8-1) will host one last home game against UW-Milwaukee before taking a 13-day break from competition.

"[The day after the UNC-Wilmington game], I was definitely feeling fatigued," junior point guard Kammron Taylor said. "Even though we are a young team, we still have to gut it out. This is a test and we have to be mentally tough."

The contest against UW-Milwaukee Thursday will be the last battle between the in-state schools. The Badgers have already knocked off UW-Green Bay (82-62) and Marquette (77-63) last week.


Junior forward Alando Tucker led the team in points with 18 against UW-Green Bay, while Taylor led the Badgers in points against Marquette, also with 18.

Both in-state games showcased the potential of many rising UW playmakers as three players saw career-highs in both games. Sophomore point guard Michael Flowers saw a career-high night against UW-Green Bay in points (12) and steals (six).

"[Flowers] always likes to play," UW head coach Bo Ryan said about Flowers' efforts. "If a guy likes to play, he'll like the defensive end. He's a very competitive guy."

Senior guard Ray Nixon had to change the numbers on his resume, after posting career-marks in field goals (six), field goal attempts (10), points (15) and steals (three) against Marquette. Junior forward Jason Chappell also had a career best defensively against Marquette after he helped the team secure nine rebounds.

The game against UW-Milwaukee could potentially prove to be another career-changing night for many Badgers, as they will be looking forward to this last in-state skirmish.

UW-Milwaukee (4-2) has been off to a reasonable start after former UW assistant coach Rob Jeter has taken over the program.

Jeter has served under Ryan for 10 of his 11 years as an assistant coach. At Wisconsin, Jeter served as the Badgers' lead recruiter while also coordinating Wisconsin's scouting and academic efforts.

Jeter also learned his skills as a player under Ryan at UW-Platteville. If anyone knows Ryan, it's Jeter.

"On the basketball court, [Jeter] is a coach, a teacher, a great leader … he is a great role model for those who get to be around him … he'll have his team ready to go," Ryan said. "There won't be any secrets coming in, he'll know what we are going to do. He knows me better than anyone who has been around. So, the players are going to have to go out there and make plays."

"For me to look over and see Jeter coaching will be intense," Tucker added. "I think the fans are going to love it because of all things Jeter has done for this program. Just to see him mature and go over to Milwaukee and do the job that he has done is great. [This game] is going to be fun for the fans and for the players."

The Panthers are led by Joah Tucker, who leads the team in points (15.7) and minutes played (30.5). The 6-foot-5 forward thrives under competition as he notched a career-high in points (32) against then No.1-ranked Illinois last season in the NCAA tournament.

Defensively, the Panthers are strengthened by the efforts of Avery Smith, who has accumulated 12 steals on the season. Smith was expected to redshirt this season after transferring from Garden City Community College, but has proven to be the X-factor for the Panthers this season.

"Nobody right now knows our team better than Rob Jeter," Ryan said. "To get ready for this game, we are going to have to practice defensive sound drills. [Jeter's] team will play hard and smart. If they don't it's their fault. They'll miss an opportunity."

Following the UW-Milwaukee matchup, the Badgers will have a long break before taking on Louisiana Tech (4-4) Dec. 28.

Tech is led by junior forward Paul Millsap who has been averaging 19.5 points per game. He is the only player on the squad to average points in double digits.

After Tech, the Badgers will then hit the road on New Year's Eve to battle Pittsburgh. It will be their first road voyage in more than a month. Pitt is off to a hot start with a 7-0 record. Recently, Pitt dominated Penn State in a 91-54 finish, a game which featured five players finishing the game with double-figures in points. Pitt also managed to attempt 79 field goals throughout the contest.

After the start of the New Year, the Badgers will begin the Big Ten season, where they will face four Big Ten opponents in another nine-day span. Wisconsin will host Iowa (7-3) Jan. 5, Michigan State (7-2) Jan. 8 and Northwestern (4-3) Jan. 14 at home. The only away game the Badgers will see during that span will be against Minnesota (5-2) Jan. 10.

Michigan State has been leading the Big Ten from the free throw line, shooting a solid 80.1 percent, while Jeff Horner of Iowa leads the conference averaging a 90.6 shooting percentage from the charity stripe.

Vedran Vukusic of Northwestern leads the Big Ten in scoring, averaging a stellar 23.6 points per game.

"Playing the Big Ten will be great," Nixon said. "We just want to try and finish on top."

Added Taylor, "It's going to be another year to see how much better we've gotten."

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