Badgers flat in exhibition

first_imgRAY PFEIFFER/Herald photoDown by as many as nine points, the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team got just the spark it needed Wednesday from junior guard Michael Flowers.Flowers posted a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds as the Badgers erased an unimpressive first half to beat the Division III Carroll College Pioneers 81-61 in UW’s exhibition finale.Yet it was Flowers’ defense and energy that helped ignite a flat Wisconsin team.”If a guy’s going to play defense like that and set that kind of example, you need to have that guy out there,” head coach Bo Ryan said of Flowers.Flowers kept the Badgers in the game from the get-go, scoring the team’s first six points — on two three-pointers — to keep the game tied early on.But with its fast and small lineup causing problems for Wisconsin in the first half, Carroll College soon jumped out to the lead for much of the first half, its largest lead being 19-10 with 12-and-a-half minutes left in the first.However, the Pioneers weren’t able to hold on for long as Flowers rallied the Badgers’ comeback, making a baseline cut and double pumping a difficult lay-up to cut the lead to four with seven minutes remaining.After a Kammron Taylor bucket from a penetration drive in the lane helped Wisconsin pull within one, Flowers dished the ball off to a wide-open Jason Bohannon for three to give the Badgers their first lead of the game at 26-25.”I think that was the time we were trying to make our move and put them away,” Flowers said.Wisconsin headed into half-time with a 35-29 lead and never looked back, coming back out in the second half to erase its opening blunders — something Ryan was never overly concerned with.”We’ve been down 15, 20 [points] early and come back, I can remember several games,” Ryan said. “The thing is you can’t get it back in one possession. You just keep chipping away.”Without a single player over 6-foot-7 for the Pioneers, the Badgers went with a smaller lineup as not one of the team’s big men — Jason Chappell, Brian Butch, Greg Stiemsma and Kevin Gullikson — played more than 12 minutes in the contest.After seeing a team in UW-Stout with two starting seven-footers in the first exhibition game, Ryan was pleased to face a completely opposite team this time around.”With non-conference games, we’re going to get every kind of match-up you can imagine,” he said. “We just saw the two extremes: big and small.”Flowers’ backcourt sidekick Taylor also had an impressive game, recording team-highs of 14 points and six assists.After a full season of playing together, Flowers and Taylor feel comfortable with each other’s games and have set some lofty goals for Wisconsin’s starting backcourt in 2006-07. “With the defense he brought last year and with the offense he developed this summer, he’s starting to show he definitely has a new-look to his game,” Taylor said. “It feels good having a guy like that in your backcourt.”We want to be one of the best backcourts in the nation.”last_img

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