Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Illini duo downs Wisconsin

Wisconsin had no answer as UI handed UW its first Kohl Center loss to an unranked Big Ten team.[/media-credit]

Like all coaches, Bruce Weber watches film of opponents to prepare for the upcoming game.

And like all coaches, the Illinois head coach found a weakness in the Badgers defensive scheme.

Unlike any other coach this season at the Kohl Center, however, Weber and the Fighting Illini were able to exploit this weakness en route to 53 percent shooting and a 63-56 victory over the Wisconsin basketball team Tuesday night.


The play — a pick and pop usually run by junior guard Demetri McCamey and 7-foot center Mike Tisdale — was a simple one.

Of course, simple does not mean it was easy to stop.

“I always try to watch games where people had success against them,” Weber said. “And a few of the games I watched — that is the first thing I said to the players today in shoot arounds, we can get pick and pops.”

Seemingly every time up the court, McCamey would end up with the ball near the top of the three-point line. Then, Illinois’ leading scorer would wave over Tisdale and take the ball to the hoop once the pick was in place.

Now, it was time for the Badger defense to make a decision.

Do you attempt to single cover the 16.4 points per game scorer coming off a particularly hot five game stretch? Or do you double him coming around the screen, and risk that McCamey — averaging 7.2 assists per game in Big Ten play — will find Tisdale, a 57 percent shooter averaging 13 points per game in conference contests?

Initially, Wisconsin made Tisdale prove he could deliver deep two-point field goals.

Signed and sealed.

“[McCamey] was able to be effective off the ball screen and make tough plays,” Badger guard Trevon Hughes said. “When we stopped him he was able to hit Tisdale, and Tisdale made big shots.”

McCamey and Tisdale worked the combination all first half with the Illinois center collecting 13 points through the first 20 minutes and McCamey dishing out four assists.

According to Weber, it was a sign of maturity on McCamey’s part that he went to Tisdale early before seeking his own points

“The best thing about Demetri was early he kicked it back to Tisdale,” Weber said. “Then they stayed with Tisdale and he drove in… you can run ball screens but you have to have someone who can deliver it.”

For Badger forward Keaton Nankivil — a pretty successful jump shooter himself as part of a pick and pop — Tisdale’s offensive barrage (19 points on 8-for-11 from the field) did become a little frustrating when the Illinois big man refused to miss.

Though the Badgers led 35-33 at halftime, the Fighting Illini shot 54 percent from the field and rallied after trailing by 11 points.

“When they keep putting up those shots and hitting them, eventually you just hope that the odds go in your favor,” Nankivil said.

“When you look back on the game, it can be frustrating just because he was getting good looks at the basket.”

UW started the contest with Hughes matched up on McCamey before letting sophomore Jordan Taylor take a shot at guarding him with two minutes left in the first half. UW head coach Bo Ryan appeared to be angry with Hughes for going under a screen on McCamey’s second made three of the half — though Ryan denied this after the game — but Taylor hardly fared better for the rest of the game.

McCamey finished the victory with 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting, which Ryan chalked up to a hot night from the floor more than a struggle defensively.

“How many teams have we played where those guys had those jump shots, had those opportunities and not shot that percentage?” Ryan responded when asked about defending the pick and pop.

“They made shots with hands in their face and we didn’t.”

What’s the paint look like?

Though no reporter ventured to ask a clearly agitated Ryan, the lack of injured forward Jon Leuer may have finally caught up to the Badgers.

Wisconsin once again attempted more three-point field goals than two pointers, and the team scored only six points in the paint all night. UW was also held to only nine free throw attempts, failing to attack the basket for much of the night.

When the Badgers did drive the ball hard, Ryan hinted — though did not explicitly blame the refs — that a few missed calls might have caused the Badgers to be “gun-shy.”

“I thought we were going to get to the free throw line with some penetration and contact,” Ryan said. “I think our guys got a little gun-shy when we didn’t get to the free-throw line. I think that did affect us, and you just have to be tougher and play through that.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *