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November 7, 2012
MADISON, Wis. - For a few brief minutes, it looked like the UW-Oshkosh Titans believed they could keep up with the Wisconsin Badgers. The Titans took an early 7-0 lead just under two minutes into the exhibition game, and the Badgers looked a little out of sync offensively.
But it was all Badgers after center Jared Berggren scored Wisconsin's first points of the game just over two minutes into the first half. The Badgers eventually narrowed Oshkosh's lead to 12-6, and then went on a 28-6 run to finish out the half and take control of the game for good. It was more of the same for both teams in the second half, as the Badgers outscored the Titans 52-26 to seal up a 96-44 exhibition win.
All five of Wisconsin's starters finished the game in double figures, with Berggren's 16 leading all scorers in the game. The Badgers shot 57.1 percent from the floor as a team during the game, including 40 percent on three-pointers. Head coach Bo Ryan said it was a testament to his team's offensive versatility, especially since 14 total players scored for the Badgers Wednesday night.
"That's kind of the way this team plays," Ryan said after the game. "I could see pretty good balance, not knowing who's going to explode on a given night. There's some guys out there that are capable, because if there's only one guy or two guys that you're counting on it's pretty hard. You've got to have contributions from other people."
Senior forward Ryan Evans scored a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and attributed his team's success to a willingness to play different positions on the court, and the Badgers rotated in a lot of different lineups once the game got into full swing.
"You've got guys as big as Sam [Dekker] that can play the two, a guy like me, I could play probably three though five," Evans said. "It's just going to be interesting. Everyone's been playing well, everyone's been shooting well. It's going to be on Coach Ryan to figure out who's playing and who's not, but I think we've got a pretty deep team."
It was a good sign for an offense that's currently missing two projected starters from last year's team. Forward Mike Bruesewitz and point guard Josh Gasser are both missing time this season due to injury, after Gasser tore his left ACL two weeks ago and Bruesewitz lacerated his right leg in practice. Bruesewitz is on track to return later this season, but Gasser's injury will hold him out all year.
Gasser's injury forced the Badgers to look elsewhere at point guard, and both George Marshall and Traevon Jackson ran point at times against the Titans. But Marshall started the game at point guard for the Badgers, and finished the night with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor. Ryan said Marshall had a good night, but still has room to grow as a point guard. Marshall had one careless turnover on what Ryan called a 'Chicago pass,' but he said his young point guard responded well after giving the ball away.
"George didn't do it after that, he made good decisions," Ryan said. "I thought he guarded the ball pretty well. He moved his feet. He's going to have to keep getting better, but that's what he's here for."
The Badgers also dominated the boards Wednesday night, pulling down 46 total rebounds to Oshkosh's 18. The Badgers had a size advantage over the Titans, and Ryan said he thought they could have pulled down a few more during the game as well. Evans' 10 rebounds led the team, but junior forward Zach Bohannon grabbed six offensive rebounds and claimed two on defense in his 15 minutes on the court
With their lone exhibition game behind them, the Badgers will open their regular season with a home game against Southeastern Louisiana this Sunday at the Kohl Center. The game is scheduled to tip off at 1 p.m., and will be broadcast on ESPN3.
For more Wisconsin Badgers news, notes and discussion, follow John on Twitter.