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Even against the likes of Idaho State, Bo Ryan’s brand of basketball is rarely pretty.
The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team squeaked by the Bengals last night despite shooting just 22.7 percent from beyond the arc and 37.7 percent overall.
“We stuck it out,” senior Marcus Landry said. “We ended up on the left hand side, but like [Jason Bohannon] was saying, we have got to get a lot better. We have to focus on the things that we can get better at.”
UW’s seventh win of the season came by the virtue of strong rebounding and out-hustling the Bengals.
In other words, typical Badger basketball.
“You win games by rebounding the ball better than we did tonight,” Idaho State head coach Joe O’Brien said. “Fifteen offensive rebounds is unacceptable.”
Ryan’s team finished with a 33-26 rebounding advantage, including 15 offensive rebounds to the Bengals’ five. Part of the Badgers’ advantage can be attributed to the ISU zone, a defense O’Brien’s team rarely plays.
“I just don’t think we were doing a very good job of blocking out,” O’Brien said. “It’s harder to block out in a zone than it is man-to-man. Every coach will tell you that, but we have played enough zone in our basketball career that at least we can make an attempt, and I didn’t think we made an attempt to put bodies on people in close.”
UW was led by senior Joe Krabbenhoft with nine rebounds, while Landry and sophomore Jon Leuer chipped in eight and seven, respectively. Considering the Badgers were outrebounded by one against Marquette on Saturday, the turnaround on the boards shows significant improvement.
“That was huge,” Krabbenhoft said about the rebound discrepancy. “I thought we did a great job. Marcus really set the tone, and Jon came off the bench and had some nice offensive rebounds.”
Contributing to the advantage on the boards was a newfound aggressiveness in the second half. After shooting 15 3-pointers in the first half, the Badgers only shot seven after halftime, instead choosing to feed the ball into the post.
“Just improvements made at halftime,” Krabbenhoft said. “We try to do that every game, and if you count the post touches in the first half, we had to have doubled it.
“That is our mindset; inside-out, and I thought we did a better job of that in the second half.”
Though UW rebounded the ball well throughout the game, Ryan called a timeout 1:38 into the second half noticeably upset with his team. Ryan said the timeout was used simply to emphasize the importance of hustling.
“I didn’t say anything; I just wanted a timeout,” Ryan said. “It was just a little adjustment we had to make. Two times a ball was on the floor, and a white jersey didn’t dive on it. You can’t play for me. Those kind of guys can’t play for me.”
According to Krabbenhoft, from that point on the Badgers played with a new sense of urgency.