The UW Badger basketball team defeated Manhattan 50 to 35 on Thanksgiving and if you missed the game consider yourself lucky. Looking to come back from what was supposed to be a learning experience in a loss to UNLV the Badgers started the game about as poorly as you can. The shooting display in the first half by the Badgers was horrible to say the least. While the Badgers were able to get open outside shots they couldn't buy a bucket and as a bad sign for things to come this year had trouble working the ball into the paint despite a very healthy height advantage. Make no mistake Manhattan is not a team that should give Wisconsin any trouble ever under any circumstances as the talent level is low, they have multiple injuries and are a huge physical mismatch but if you can't shoot straight you can't shoot straight.
In the second half the Badgers were able to at least build up a lead early as Jon Leuer went to work, he finished the game with 16 points and 13 rebounds for the double double but that was about all that went right for the Badgers. Taylor and Nankivil were so off on their early shots that they actually looked tentative later in the game on wide open shots, the two combined to go 3 for 13 from the floor. In addition Mike Bruessiwitz had an terrible game finishing with 3 boards in 23 minutes despite the constant opportunities for rebounds clanking off the rim. Ryan Evans did his usual impression of the good, the bad, and the ugly routine. Rob Wilson came back to the court and was off on his passes. Brett Valentyn came off the bench as an attempt at a shooting spark and went 0 for 2, basically this was a day for North and the rest of us fans to keep our eyes closed and pretend this never happened.
The lone bright spot was Josh Gasser who finished 5 of 9 for 12 points and added 4 assists and 2 rebounds vs Manhattan. Josh Gasser again showed he is going to be a player for the Badgers in just his first season as he does some very nice things on offense both distributing the ball and creating his own shot. On defense though Josh needs to improve as he was late to cover his man from beyond the arc, and went for offensive rebounds when he should have been going down on defense to stop the fast break. On the plus side in this game he did have a nice steal which he converted to three points going the other way strong to the hoop.
Lets hope we don't see more efforts like this in 2010/2011 because if so it is going to be a very long season.
PS: the Badgers finished with 36.2% overall shooting percentage and 23.8% from three.
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