Iowa next challenge for Badgers

Iowa next challenge for Badgers

first_imgUW forward Jon Leuer has played well in a starting role for Wisconsin, which has won two consecutive games.[/media-credit]Riding a two-game winning streak, the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team will return to action tonight against the Iowa Hawkeyes.The Badgers’ last two wins have come following a 6-game losing streak, which aincluded a 73-69 overtime loss in Iowa City Jan. 21. During their previous match against the Hawkeyes, both teams had a similar shooting percentage throughout regulation play. But during the overtime period Iowa heated up, shooting 2-2 from 3-point range and 5-6 from the free-throw line.“We knew they were a pretty good team before, and a team where if you allow them to get going with some perimeter shooting, they can be very dangerous,” Wisconsin assistant coach Greg Gard said. “And they were. They have beaten some other teams as well by knocking down some shots.”Going into tonight’s game, the Badgers will have to be on the lookout for Iowa forward David Palmer, who scored 21 against the Badgers in their last meeting and freshman guard Matt Gatens, who scored 14.“They haven’t really relied on one person, so to speak, either,” Gard said. “Obviously [Matt] Gatens is one of the best freshmen in the league. I think they are pretty balanced and have gotten it from a lot of different people and have had different roles filled.”During their current winning streak, the Badgers have been successful in closing out games, something they failed to do in their previous six losses. The last time they played Iowa, the Badgers had to hit a last-second three by Jordan Taylor to send the game into overtime.“Just looking at film, we really transitioned over within the last few possessions because those were what really cost us in those [six] losses,” Wisconsin senior forward Marcus Landry said. “Just learning from those things has made us sharper, and guys learned from it.”During their last two games, Wisconsin has also not had to rely on just one or two people to carry the load. Against Illinois last week, the Badgers had 15 or more points from three different players and against Penn State they had three with 10 or more points.One of the Badgers who has had a few good games down the stretch is forward Jon Leuer. Against the Fighting Illini, he had 15 points and the sophomore went for 12 points against Penn State Sunday afternoon. In both of those games, Leuer has been starting for injured forward Keaton Nankivil, who hurt his leg during practice last week.“[Starting] doesn’t make any difference to me,” Leuer said. “Once you get out there, basketball is basketball. You have to make good decisions and work hard and do anything you can to help the team win.”Even though he temporarily has the starting role, it does not make a difference to the coaching staff that starts the came or who comes off the bench. The importance to them is what they do on the court.“Jon did a nice job of taking advantage of it and made the most of his opportunities,” Gard said. “When Keaton gets his opportunities again, he has to make sure he does that as well. It is never one against the other — it’s always to both of them individually, what they can do to help the team collectively.”Besides the Badgers looking for their third-straight win, Landry will have to opportunity to become the 33rd player in program history to score 1,000 points. So far this year, Landry has been averaging almost 13 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Against Penn State, Landry finished with a team-high 13 points and also had seven rebounds.“It’s really exciting to know I’m there, scoring 1,000 points,” Landry said. “I was here when [Alando Tucker] scored his 2000th point. I know it meant a lot to his family, and it meant a lot to him. But, it is something you can enjoy afterward. You can’t let things like this take you off your focus.”last_img

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