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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW size too much for Marquette speed

Leuer dominated the smaller Marquette lineup en route to 26 points Saturday. The junior also put up 12 rebounds and 3 blocks.[/media-credit]

After a surprising midweek road loss to Horizon League opponent University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, the Wisconsin basketball team came out focused from the start against Marquette and rode a big first-half lead to a 72-63 victory Saturday at the Kohl Center.

Looking to avoid consecutive losses to in-state rivals, the Badgers dominated the Golden Eagles out of the gate, jumping out to a 17-point lead in the first 13 minutes. Although they try to avoid letting results affect them too much, the loss to UW-Green Bay was one that head coach Bo Ryan’s squad wanted to put behind them as quickly as possible.

“We don’t try to get too high on our wins or too low on our losses, but that one definitely stung a little bit, and we wanted to get that taste out of our mouths,” junior forward Jon Leuer said. “We were just looking forward to getting back on the court, mixing it up and competing.”


Leuer, who had a double-double Wednesday with 26 points and 10 rebounds in Green Bay, dominated the Golden Eagles’ bigs down low, though compared to the 6-foot-10 native of Long Lake, Minn., Marquette’s forwards are big in name only.

The junior forward was especially effective early in the game, scoring 16 points in the first half to help the Badgers extend their lead early.

“Any time you can jump on a team like we did tonight, it helps, and I just think the main thing was we were executing better than we did at Green Bay,” Leuer said. “We were able to force them into some tough shots, and I thought defensively we played pretty well.

“We had some lapses in there, but for the most part, we got them to take some tough shots, and any time you’re doing that, you give yourself a good chance to be successful.”

MU head coach Buzz Williams started a pair of 6-foot-6 forwards in Lazar Hayward and Jimmy Butler, and a 6-foot-7 forward Joseph Fulce. Leuer’s height advantage over the Golden Eagles proved to be a mismatch on the defensive end for Marquette, as he recorded his second consecutive double-double in the Badgers’ nine-point victory.

With 24 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, Leuer posted consecutive 20-point games for the first time in his career, impressing the opposing head coach along the way.

“I told our guys when coach (Scott) Monarch brought up [Leuer], initially, I said, ‘I think he’s a pro,'” Williams said. “I think he has improved for Wisconsin as much as Jimmy Butler has improved for Marquette.”

Leuer was not the only Badger who had success, though.

Guards Jordan Taylor and Trevon Hughes added 13 points and three rebounds apiece, while combining for five assists to just two turnovers. Much like the Badgers’ victory over Grambling State a week earlier, the size of UW’s guards also gave them an advantage defensively against Marquette’s smaller, quicker backcourt.

“I think we got back to playing defense the way we know we can play defense, but we still had some lapses,” Taylor said. “For the most part, we did a decent job playing defense, which got away from us at Green Bay (and) is pretty much the reason we loss. So, it was nice to get back to the way Wisconsin plays defense.”

In addition to leading his team, Leuer outdueled Marquette’s Hayward, who was forced to carry much of the load for the Golden Eagles. Hayward, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., scored 21 of MU’s 63 points on 8-of-21 shooting, while tying Leuer with a game-high 12 rebounds.

MU had just one other scorer in double figures as guard Darius Johnson-Odom scored 13 points, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range. But while Hayward scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, Johnson-Odom had nine in the first half and just four after the break.

Still, Hayward’s second-half outburst sparked the Golden Eagles, allowing them to cut an early 12-point deficit after halftime to just three points midway through the period as Hayward missed a layup, grabbed his own rebound and hit a floater in the lane.

Of course, the Badgers were not surprised by the MU run.

“Most teams do (make a run),” Ryan said. “There tends to be some of that give and take, and I’m glad that we started out the way we did — to have that kind of a cushion to absorb what they brought at us. … They gave the best they could give, we gave the best we could give, and this is how this one turned out.”

It turned out as another Wisconsin victory — Ryan’s 200th as head coach of the Badgers — and another UW win over in-state rival Marquette. With the victory, the Badgers’ improved to 12-2 in their last 14 home games against the Golden Eagles.

More importantly, though, it gave the Badgers some bragging rights.

“We came out and we knew we had to win this game,” Hughes said. “You can’t lose two in a row first of all, and second of all, you can’t lose two in-state games. Basically, it’s bragging rights. We’ll see each other around all year.”

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