They say there are only two truths in this world: Death and Taxes. May we suggest a third - Bo Ryan beating Tom Crean. After all, the Badgers are 15-3 against Indiana's head coach and are 12-0 against Tom Crean in his time at Indiana (on a side note, take a detour and purchase our "Bo Owns Crean" shirts from our MTB Store for just $10.50). following a well played and hard fought 68-56 win over the Hoosiers in the Big Ten semi-finals.
Ryan Evans showed why he is easily the most important player on the Badgers roster, having perhaps his best all-around game of the year and leading all scorers with 16, while also grabbing 8 rebounds.
This was simply a game of runs and the fact that Wisconsin never had a prolonged drought in scoring like they've been prone to over the last few weeks. However, they did have a nearly 4 minute drought after they went up 40-31 with 17:15 left in the 2nd half. Instead they found a way to answer every run Indiana had and none more important than a run made by one player that turned the tied back to the Badgers favor as Indiana tied the score up at 43-43 to complete an 11-2 run.
That's when Sam Dekker took the game into his own hands and over the course of 49 seconds he went on a personal 7-0 run with a fast break layup, a three pointer, and another layup that put the Badgers up 50-43 and Wisconsin never looked back from there.
With the win the Badgers will move on to face the winner of Ohio State and Michigan State in the last game of the day from Chicago. So, on to our player grades for the Badgers!
Ben Brust, G
12pts, 3 rebounds, 4-10 FG's, 2-5 3pt FG's, 39min.
Brust may not have had a great day shooting wise, but that wasn't the important part of his game. He was a monster player on the defensive end of the court and it just never showed up on the stat sheet. This was a classic case of why sometimes stats don't matter.
Ryan Evans, F
16pts, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks, 7-12 FG's, 33min.
Evans was by far the best player on the court on Saturday afternoon. Just look at the stat line, he literally did everything. Evans had a steal as well and about the only blemish to his day was a 4 turnover performance for him. But hard to argue with a guy who was efficient offensively and a force on the other end of the court as well.
Mike Bruesewitz, F
5pts, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 27min.
This wasn't exactly the best of times for Bruesewitz against the Hoosiers. He played pretty well defensively, but he had some costly turnovers that luckily didn't come back to haunt the Badgers in the end. Not one best of days for him.
Traevon Jackson, G
7pts, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 TO's, 2-6 FG's
Jackson's performances as of late were really growing on me, but he regressed a bit for me in a matchup against Yogi Ferrell - which a lot of people have done in the past as well. He didn't make good decisions with the basketball far too often and the turnovers were B-A-D. Having said that he also made some great passes & took some really tough shots.
Jared Berggren, F
11pts, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks, 4-4 FG's, 25min.
Wisconsin won the points in the paint battle and a lot of the credit for that has to go to Jared Berggren on both ends of the court. He was perfect from the field and from the line and his blocks came at huge times. Berggren really took Zeller off his game for most of the time & that alone deserves a lot of credit.
George Marshall, G
6pts, 2-6 FG's, 3 turnovers, 10min.
Marshall helped a struggling team from deep, but he also was once again bitten by the turnover bug. He can't do that anymore and expect extended playing time for his offensive abilities. That's got to be cleaned up this offseason or sooner.
Sam Dekker, F
11pts, 2 rebounds, 5-8 FG's, 20min.
Dekker had some good numbers for the game, but most of his work actually never showed up in the stat sheet. He led a big time fast break on his own thanks to a steal from Bruesewitz that fell to him and he also played some good defense - for him at least. But, we're nitpicking a bit here folks. The guy took over the game in just 49 seconds, scoring all but 4 of his points in that time frame - 'nuff said.
Frank Kaminsky, F
0pts, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 15min.
Kaminsky did everything asked of him but score. However, he only was asked to take one shot in his 15 minutes and for a 6'11" player dishing out assists, getting steals and blocks... well, there's not much more you really could ask for, especially with everyone else doing it inside for Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin doesn't need to live and die by the three to win a basketball game. They showed that in the 1st half, going the first 13:36 without hitting a triple, and were right in the ball game. Now true, the back-to-back triples they hit gave them a 26-22 lead, but there is no need for this team to keep on jacking up three's if they aren't going in.
- Sam Dekker is going to be one special player to watch. I mean, when was the last time you remember a Wisconsin freshman going on a 7-0 run of his own against a Top 5 team and it be the catalyst to victory as well? That doesn't happen every day and it's going to be fun to watch his growth over the next year or two.
- People need to stop making fun of Ryan Evans and his Jump Shot Free Throw's. Simply put, they are effective for him and that's all that should matter. Who cares if he's throwing them behind the back, off the backboard and in - as long as they are going in and he is comfortable shooting them that's all that matters.