Takin’ Down The Champs

first_imgIn the world of NCAA basketball, the sixth game of the season — especially when it’s nearly a month before the beginning of conference play — is generally not a big deal.In the world of Bo Ryan and the Wisconsin men’s basketball team, however, that sentiment does not exist.Back on that Wednesday night last December, Ryan’s 4-1 squad had a date with the 6-0, No. 5 Duke Blue Devils. Two years prior, the Dukies had utterly embarrassed the Badgers 82-58 in Durham, N.C. This time, however, the setting was the friendly confines of the sold-out Kohl Center, where Bucky and the Grateful Red were in full force to make sure a different outcome sent them home happy.In a closely contested 73-69 victory that night, the Badgers never trailed, although the Blue Devils did come within 70-69 in the final seconds. For Wisconsin, the victory was a classic UW win — strong defense held Duke to only 69 points, while smart basketball resulted in only four turnovers, compared to the Blue Devils’ 11.Individually, senior Trevon Hughes was huge for the Badgers, leading the team with 26 points on 9-16 shooting. Hughes was also a perfect 4-4 from the line, and perhaps most importantly, given his reputation as a sometimes-reckless ball handler, had zero turnovers.Aside from Hughes, junior forward Jon Leuer contributed 17 points and seven rebounds, while Hughes’ fellow senior co-captain Jason Bohannon scored 10 points and posted four rebounds and four assists.Up six at halftime, the Badgers kept their lead largely due to Hughes’ stellar second half performance. Hughes scored 19 of the team’s 35 second half points and went 6-9 from the field. He also drained two huge shots from behind the arc down the stretch, the second of which put the Badgers ahead 65-54 with 5:08 left on the clock.Of course, Duke would not go away quietly. Freshman reserve guard Andre Dawkins provided some drama by nailing two consecutive three-pointers, the second coming at the 1:54 mark to make the score 67-65.Just two minutes later, it was over. What Wisconsin had, though, was something special. After the game, Badger fans mobbed their heroes on the court. Hughes and Leuer found themselves hoisted on the shoulders of fans, and they were given a moment that would not be soon forgotten.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *