MILWAUKEE (AP) — Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said the win over in-state rival Marquette reminded him of playground basketball.
There must have been plenty of misses and defense when Ryan played while growing up in suburban Philadelphia.
Josh Gasser scored 12 points on four 3-pointers, while 7-footer Frank Kaminsky added 15 points and 10 rebounds in the No. 2 Badgers’ 49-38 victory.
Wisconsin (8-1) shot 32 percent while contending with a 2-3 zone defense by the undersized Golden Eagles, who don’t have a starter taller than 6-foot-7.
“Playground days. You want to stay on the playground. You’ve got to figure out a way to beat the other team,” Ryan said. Marquette “had a plan, they worked their plan; we worked enough shots to get it done.
“I love playing in those kinds of games,” Ryan said.
Wisconsin bounced back from an 80-70 loss at home earlier in the week to No. 4 Duke. This victory reminded the Badgers that they had some things to work out against the zone — especially when shots weren’t falling from the outside.
Wisconsin was 8 of 30 (26 percent) from 3-point range on the afternoon, including 4 of 16 in the second half.
Smart move by Marquette given the decided size disadvantage.
“They packed that zone in pretty tight, tried to keep the ball out of Frank’s hands,” Gasser said. “We were fortunate to take a lot of outside jumpers, and they weren’t going for the majority of the game, but we happened to make enough to win.”
Two foul shots by Sandy Cohen III with 8:57 left cut the lead to 35-33 to get upset-minded fans cheering at the Bradley Center after Marquette (4-4) chipped away at a 10-point halftime deficit.
The steady Gasser hit his 3-pointer on the next trip down the floor, and the Badgers fended off Marquette for their second straight victory in the in-state rivalry.
Marquette went 0 of 6 from the field with two turnovers in the next 6-plus minutes after Cohen’s foul shots before Matt Carlino hit a 3. He followed with two foul shots to draw within 44-38 with 2:05 left.
But it was too much to overcome against the bigger Badgers.
Wisconsin had a 25-15 lead at the half. According to the Badgers, it was the fewest by either team in a half in the series since at least 1997.
“I thought we were able to do a pretty good job defensively. Our offense let us down,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “Poor decisions that led to some really tough shots when we should have kicked or made one more pass, or turnovers.”
Carlino finished with 18 points for Marquette, which hung around despite shooting 28 percent. The senior transfer from BYU is averaging 13.8 points
“We have one established college scorer in Matt Carlino,” Wojciechowski said. “The rest of the guys are trying to find their offensive identity.”
The Golden Eagles were outrebounded 41-28, including 14-5 on the offensive end. Yet Wisconsin looked out of sorts at times with the ball in the second half, forced to settle for outside shots. The Badgers had built a steady advantage with 6-foot-8 Nigel Hayes working effectively in the high post in the first half.
Hayes finished with five points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
Sam Dekker had just two points but added five offensive rebounds and three assists. He started after missing two days of practice with a lingering left ankle injury.
“He played some D, he got on the glass, he was active … Sam gave us some good minutes,” Ryan said.
Wisconsin: The reception for the Badgers was more hostile than in their last visit to Milwaukee, where the team won its first two games in last season’s NCAA tournament run to the Final Four.
Marquette: The 6-7 Taylor had six points and five rebounds, while 6-6 Juan Anderson finished with 10 boards. They played solidly despite the size disadvantage against Wisconsin.
Wisconsin: At Milwaukee on Wednesday.
Marquette: Hosts Arizona State on Dec. 16.
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