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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Wilson sparks UW with career effort

Despite averaging less than two points over the Badgers previous five games, sophomore guard Rob Wilson stepped up when called upon in Wisconsin\’s 54-48 victory Wednesday night over Michigan. Wilson had a career-high 13 points.[/media-credit]

Rob Wilson is a good outside shooter.

That’s all Michigan head coach John Beilein and most fans in attendance knew about the sophomore from Cleveland, Ohio, coming into Wednesday night’s game.

Based on his lack of experience though, Beilein never expected Wilson to have the kind of impact he had on the Badgers’ 54-48 victory at the Kohl Center.


“We were going to play him straight up; we knew he could shoot,” Beilein said. “He was 4-for-8 going into the game, so he’s a 50 percent shooter. But that’s one every four games.”

When the final buzzer sounded, Beilein and everyone else in the Kohl Center knew just how good Wilson could be.

The 6-foot-3 guard entered the game averaging just over two points per contest. Wilson matched that total in the first half before having a huge impact after the break.

Wilson’s 11 second-half points were second only to the 16 scored by senior guard Trevon Hughes. While Hughes was the team’s leading scorer with 20 points on 7-for-15 shooting, he likely could not have led his team to victory if it had not been for Wilson.

Wilson’s career-high 13-point performance may have surprised Beilein and most of the announced crowd of 17,230 at the Kohl Center, but Hughes and the rest of his teammates had been waiting all season for it.

“We see that, we see glimpses of it in practice,” Hughes said of Wilson’s ability. “We know he’s a great player, (but) any time he comes over to the main squad he doesn’t bring it. It’s about time — it took him all season for him to come out and play with us today.

“We needed it, and he brought it out.”

When asked to respond to Hughes’ comments following the game, Wilson did not try to defend his lack of production in the past.

“He said it all,” Wilson said of Hughes. “I just haven’t been bringing it like I know I should have. I guess today was the day I broke out of the shell.”

Though many will focus on Wilson’s production on the offensive end off the bench, something the Badgers have struggled to find since forward Jon Leuer’s injury, he insists his focus was elsewhere.

With his team down from the opening tip, Wilson was concerned primarily with playing tough defense and stopping the Michigan offense.

When Wilson entered the game in place of fellow sophomore guard Jordan Taylor, who had been struggling all night, it was just a simple substitution. What followed, however, was Wilson’s most impressive offensive stretch since coming to UW.

In the first minute after Wilson entered the game, Michigan guard Stu Douglass hit a pair of shots from beyond the arc, pushing the Wolverines’ lead from three points to nine at 39-30.

After Douglass’ threes prompted UW head coach Bo Ryan to call a timeout, Wilson responded with a three-pointer of his own, cutting the lead and energizing the Kohl Center crowd. Wilson would score the game’s next four points, cutting the nine-point lead to just two.

When asked after the game about his performance, Wilson credited his teammates for the career-high point total.

“It just happened that all of the open shots just came from my teammates penetrating and finding me,” Wilson said.

In typical Wisconsin fashion, though, Wilson contributed in many other ways than just through his offensive output. The sophomore guard gave the Badgers 18 quality minutes off the bench and played hard all night.

Wilson also was aggressive while remaining under control, which helped the Badgers match a season low with just five turnovers, including only one in the second half.

That — Wilson’s aggressiveness — was what made Ryan take notice of his performance. And on a night when Taylor went 0-for-7 from the floor, and senior guard Jason Bohannon hit just 1-of-7 shots, Wilson’s contributions were much appreciated by Ryan and the rest of the Badgers.

“Whatever he can give us is great to have,” Ryan said. “But Rob did a great job of recognizing what he could contribute to the team. Offensively he was solid, getting the loose balls, being active, taking shots. That’s really what we needed — somebody to take shots.”

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