Men’s basketball battles UW in front of 17,000

Mouse Braun

The men’s basketball team traveled to Madison to battle the Wisconsin Badgers in an exhibition matchup last Monday. The Badgers used their athleticism to open up the game in the second half en route to an 81-46 victory after the Vikings managed to stay with the Division I team for the first 22 minutes.
Last year the Badgers, a Big 10 power, made it all the way to the elite eight of the national tournament before falling to the eventual national champions, North Carolina, 88-82.
Lawrence held early leads on the Badgers 5-2 and 7-5 thanks to great plays by guard Ben Rosenblatt, who finished the night with 11 points.
The Vikings trailed 25-18 with 3 minutes left in the first half, but the Badgers went on a 5-point run to roll into halftime with a 30-18 advantage. Lawrence shot 7-30 from the field in the first half, and 1-11 from 3-point range. “All they had to do is hit some threes early and they’d be beating us,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “They were getting decent shots. I thought we did a pretty good job on their shooters, understanding at times there were mismatches sizewise.”
Lawrence narrowed Wisconsin’s lead to 32-24 with 18:21 to play in the second half. Wisconsin then took over the game thanks to some great play by preseason all-American Alando Tucker. The Badgers went on a 16-4 run, with Tucker scoring 12 points in a matter of 6 minutes, to give Wisconsin a 55-30 advantage with 10 minutes to play.
Lawrence Head Coach John Tharp gave Kyle MacGillis the tall task of marking Tucker. MacGillis, arguably the best defender in the Midwest Conference, held the Vikings close, limiting Tucker to just 11 first-half points.
Wisconsin put out a starting frontcourt of Brian Butch, 6 feet 11 inches; Jason Chappell, 6 feet 10 inches; and Ray Nixon, 6 feet 8 inches. The tallest Lawrence starter is Matt Osland, who is only 6 feet 6 inches. Size definitely affected the play of Lawrence’s preseason all-American Chris Braier, who was held scoreless in the first half, finishing with only 3 points on 1-14 shooting.
“We did some really good things in the first half,” Tharp said. “We ran good motion, but we just didn’t make many shots,” Tharp said. “I was very pleased with our rebounding and our intensity.”
MacGillis, Ben Rosenblatt, and Ryan Kroeger led the Vikings in the scoring column, all with 11 points.
Lawrence’s next game will not be against a Division I opponent, but they will not have an easy task at the Alexander Gymnasium Tuesday, hosting No. 2-ranked UW-Oshkosh.