The new UW Men's Basketball season is two games in, and against a much weaker team (Morgan State) and a bigger more physical team in the Wisconsin Green Bay Phoenix the result is two lopsided wins. Again the UW bench was the key in pounding out a convincing 87-54 win at Bank of America Arena tonight. Bobby Jones was once again the leading scorer with 17, followed by Brandon Burmeister with 12, Brandon Roy and Ryan Appleby with 11, Jamaal Williams with 10 and 6 rebounds, Jon Brockman with 8 points and 8 rebounds in a less spectacular than last night, but still very impressive outing and Joel Smith with 6 and 3 assists.
Where as the first game last night was a near white washing, tonight's game was a much harder challenge. UW's ability to attack a zone and get the tough rebound and defend against some bigger more physical players was tested and the Dawgs answered by not only by slugging out with a strategy of finding the soft spot in the zone and attacking it might on might, as one would think. Instead the Dawgs busted down this tough scrappy team from Wisconsin via it's ability to find open shooters previously known as it's deep bench specifically Brandon Burmeister and once again Hans Gasser, who gave UW solid minutes and energy. Ryan Appleby also helped with a consistent 3-7 from beyond the arc.
What's more remarkable is that this is now a consistent trend, as Burmeister has done this in every game so far this season, including the Simon Fraser exhibition. When asked about Burmeister's game coach Lorenzo Romar replied, "Like I said last night, this was not something that we just closed our eyes and point to someone to come off the bench. He has been playing like this in practice. He has been doing that and you reward someone that does that. Some guys do that in practice and when the lights come on they go away and hide. He has not done that. He has stepped up. He is much more confident. He has played against some pretty good guards the last two years in practice everyday. He is now maturing."
Gasser, who started out with a quiet though solid effort against SFU (6 boards, no points and no turnovers), then followed it up with 14 points and again 6 boards against Morgan State. Tonight he once again looked composed and steady, knocking down the two open looks he was given and again missing once when he stepped a little bit beyond his range, which is very consistent 12-20 feet. Romar said, "The constant in these two games that we have been pleased with is our bench. Guys have come off the bench and given us a lift or expand what starters have begun. Sometimes guys can give you effort but they can't produce, but we are getting productivity from the bench. This is great to be able to see."
This new found wealth adds a nice dimension to a UW squad that is viewed by most as a team with a veteran core in Bobby, Roy, Jamaal and SR Mike Jensen and the exciting group of freshmen, but only the sophomore Appleby to compensate for the loss of now professional outside marksmen Tre Simmons, Will Conroy and current NY Knick rookie Nate Robinson. Burmeister and Gasser both showed an ability to also do the other little things to earn their keep in the rotation. Though Gasser only had 1 rebound this time he added 2 heady assists and again no turnovers in 14 minutes. Burmeister contributed 5 assists, 1 steal and also no turnovers in 17 minutes. He had 4 steals last night after 3 in the SFU game and has shown himself to be a dependable defender.
Bobby was the energy guy from the jump and though Roy looks the most impressive with the ball in his hands of any of the starters, Bobby is much improved, showing he can convert off the dribble and screens, as well as the points off defense, open mid-range looks and open 3's that he's shown himself able to execute as he's matured at UW. Lorenzo said of Bobby, "He is kind of the catalyst for what we do. He played Bobby Jones basketball. He played with a lot of energy and he was all over the floor. He has done a great job and you have to give him credit for working and working on some of things or skills that he lacked."
Bobby also really flexed his defensive skills, turning away freshman Ryan Tellema, who had scored 18 against UNC Greensboro the night before in his debut, with no points on 0-6 shooting. It is characteristic of Bobby to take out the other teams main perimeter threat and as the year plays out, I'm sure this won't be the last night like this for the SR.
Roy is just simply a player that gives you the feeling that he is waiting to explode, if the opposing armies penetrate the front lines. He gave glimpses of an impressive arsenal of moves, once he gets to the basket and when asked to hit the jumper, responded with nice form. The other corner of the SR trio, Jamaal Williams, had another nice game where he continued to show his jumper and looked just as comfortable once again scoring almost effortlessly with any kind of look from 8 feet in.
Justin Dentmon worked hard on defense and doesn't shy away from physical contact. Again he fit in well with the starters as a pass first, control style guard who plays good hard defense, rebounds and scraps.
UW really shut down the outside shooters for UW-Green Bay, as they only converted 1-7 from beyond the arc. The scoring for the Phoenix was produced by their guards Ryan Evanochko with 13 on 5-9 from the field and Terry Evans with 12 on 8-12 from the FT line. After that only big man Tevah Morris, who is definitely a load at 6-9 and at least the 250 lbs. he is listed at, with 9 points was an offensive force of note.
The crowd went wild as Zane Potter hit an 18 footer, to end this blow out against a team that at least gave UW a fight. The next game will be a much stiffer challenge however against the Air Force Falcons, who beat the Miami Hurricanes tonight in a game that Miami led most of the way and looked like the better team as well. If UW does not take this Air Force team lightly, they should beat them, but it will certainly be the sternest challenge of the BCA tournament for the host team.
Air Force beat Miami on hustle and discipline, both of which UW has shown to be its strong suit. The one underlying theme of this year's Husky team is defense. They showed strong D in all three of the public performances in the BOA, and though they only forced 23 turnovers to their own 13, against a solid physical control oriented team like UWGB that is impressive. Green Bay coach Ted Kowalczyk said, "Their defensive pressure just took us out of our offense. They're an extremely well coached, athletic team that can get out and play tremendous pressure defense. That affected us a little but I think our lack of depth and our lack of experience was certainly a factor, yet we played hard against a very good team."
They did play hard, but a series of mercurial runs, reminiscent of last year, but also unique to this more mature and workman like team clearly separated these two teams. UW dominated the game because it had big runs, while UWGB only could stay even at best with the Dawgs in between them, without any significant runs of it's own to balance out. UW also got help form every spot on the bench to add to the misery of the Phoenix, who had little bench help or balance from its starters.
PG Justin Dentmon
SG Brandon Roy
SF Bobby Jones
PF Jamaal Williams
C Jon Brockman
Points: Jones 17, Burmeister 12, Roy 11, Appleby 11, Williams 10, Brockman 8, Smith 6, Dentmon 4, Gasser 4, Potter 2, Wallace 2
Boards: Brockman 8, Williams 6, Wallace 4, Jones 3, Smith 3, Dentmon 2, Roy 1, Burmeister 1, Appleby 1, Gasser 1
Assists: Roy 5, Burmeister 5, Dentmon 3, Smith 3, Appleby 3, Jones 2, Brockman 2, Gasser 2
Steals: Williams 3, Jones 2, Dentmon 2, Roy 1, Smith 1, Burmeister 1, Appleby 1
Blocks: Jones 1
Turnovers: Roy 4, Williams 2, Appleby 2, Wallace 2, Brockman 1, Dentmon 1, Joel Smith 1