Defense shining through

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first_imgThere was one big reason why the men’s basketball team defeated Pepperdine Saturday at the Kohl Center: defense.UW point guards Kammron Taylor and Michael Flowers put the hold on Pepperdine’s leading scorer, guard Michael Gerrity, limiting him to just one point in the first half.”[Wisconsin] did a nice job slowing him down,” Pepperdine head coach Paul Westphal said. “The first half, we shot a very poor percentage and I give Wisconsin a lot of credit for that, but there’s not ever going to be room for a point guard to penetrate if you can’t space the floor and have somebody knocking down shots.”While Gerrity finished the game with 12 points, seven of his points came in the last four minutes. He finished the game 4-for-13 from the field and never found space to attempt a 3-pointer. Gerrity also committed five turnovers throughout the game, which resulted in 11 points for the Badgers.”He got a few there in the last couple of minutes,” head coach Bo Ryan said. “If you’ve got a guy like him who’s 4-for-13 and five turnovers, you’ve got to give credit to not just the guys who were guarding him … but help from the cover on the bigs.””Gerrity is a heck of a ball player and we need to get out there and challenge him right away and not let him get that ball screen,” sophomore center Brian Butch said. “We needed to make him try to go one way or another and to make sure we help our point guards with the ball screen. We are still working on improving, but I think that tone was a good sign.”Butch also aided in the defensive effort forcing three steals and one block. Taylor had a career-high five steals with one block.It wasn’t Halloween: As Ryan said, it wasn’t Halloween so Alando Tucker must have been wearing that facial mask for a reason, and the mask did not prove to be comfortable for him during the game.Tucker, UW’s leading scorer, suffered a nasal injury during the Wake Forest game and was forced to wear the mask through the entire Pepperdine game.Though Tucker led the Badgers in points for the third time this season with 16, the junior forward was held to just two points in the opening 20 minutes.Similar to the Wake Forest game, Tucker was double-teamed most of the first half, which left the gates open for Butch and junior forward Jason Chappell.”I think a lot of teams are trying that [double-team] approach to challenge me early and to see who will knock down shots,” Tucker said. “We have plenty of guys on the rotation and Chap just showed that tonight … and he was able to knock down shots.”Once my teammates start knocking down shots, it always makes it easier for me because now they draw the attention and their man has to respect that they are a force out there.”Butch scored all nine of his points during the first half but had four turnovers in the contest.Chappell had another career night, scoring a career-high 15 points. His old mark of 11 — set at the Wake game — was erased during the opening 15 minutes of play.”Most of those [Pepperdine] guys don’t expect me to shoot and I haven’t really shot that much this season, so I imagine [others] will start playing me tighter,” Chappell said. “I think after the Wake Forest game, I felt my jump shot was feeling good, so I was hoping I could hit it and thought if there was a opportunity I’d take advantage of it.””If they’re not going to come out and play him, he can knock those shots down,” Ryan said. “So that stretches the defense, he took advantage of what they were giving him. He was active, he made some good decisions with the ball. So I was happy to see that.”Jason is trying to figure out pace, poise, just like a lot of our other bigs and bigger-than-average guys sometimes, because they are still developing, it takes them a little time.”last_img

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