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Badgers Basketball

Reuvers career night lifts Badgers past Illini

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Winning on the road in the Big Ten is never easy, even against a team with one win in conference play. That played out on Wednesday night as Illinois pushed the Badgers with everything they had before succumbing to the Badgers in a 72-60 win for the visitors.

The win was Wisconsin’s 14th straight over Illinois and the seventh in a row in Champaign.

Badgers sophomore forward Nate Reuvers set a new career high with 22 points on 7-11 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds. He was joined in double figures by three other players — D’Mitrik Trice (16), Khalil Iverson (12) and Brad Davison (10).

Star senior Ethan Happ may not have hit double figures, but his night was a tell-tale sign for this game. He had 9 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists, but also had 4 turnovers and 4 fouls.

Illinois got a big night from young big man Giorgi Bezhanishvili, who had 20 points and 8 rebounds. However, the Illini couldn’t get hot from beyond the arc and struggled from the three-point line as a team in the loss.

Turning Point: Reuvers Takeover in 2nd Half

With Ethan Happ and Khalil Iverson both in foul trouble, someone had to step up on both ends of the court. That person was sophomore forward Nate Reuvers, who became a force inside on defense and a key cog on offense as well.

It led to a career high in points (22) and a double double overall. Reuvers was a highly efficient 7-11 from the field and a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line as well.

He also had 12 of his 22 points in the second half.

The big swing came with a bucket on one end to break his previous career high of 18 points and then drawing a charge on the other end of the court. All of it came as the Illini were attempting to get within a bucket and missed a free throw to do so.

After drawing that charge, Reuvers also set up a huge Brevin Pritzl three-pointer that took a 53-50 lead in to a quick 58-50 lead and the game was never closer than six points from that point forward.

Stats That Mattered Most:

17: Wisconsin turned the ball over 17 times, including 10 in the first half. Luckily, the Illini were able to get 9 points on those 10 turnovers and 17 points on the 17 turnovers. On the flip side, Wisconsin forced only 10 turnovers, but turned them in to 16 points of their own.

14%: Illinois shot just 14% (2-14) from beyond the arc in the first half, allowing the Badgers to stay in the lead for nearly the entire half. Illinois led by 3 points near the end of the half, but UW used a 5-0 run over the final 1:30 of the half to take the 32-30 lead in to intermission. Things weren’t much better in the second half and the Illini finished the game shooting just 19 percent (4-21) from three-point land.

81%: How did Wisconsin overcome turnovers, foul trouble and spurts of inconsistency? By countering with great free throw shooting. UW shot 81 percent from the free throw line (17-21) as a team, including Trice and Reuvers both going 6-6 from the line. Sure, that may be an outlier on the season, but it was very relevant to winning what was an ugly overall performance.

The Bottom Line:

Simply put, this was an ugly win, but a win it was. Wisconsin has got to find a way to stop turning the ball over against high-tempo defenses and they really need to stay out of foul trouble.

At the same time, there were some positives in the free throw shooting and the fact that even with Happ and Iverson having to sit large stretches of the second half the Badgers were able to extend leads.

Chalk it up to a win, turn the page and head back to the friendly confines of the Kohl Center.

Wisconsin will head home next to face a streaking Northwestern squad on Saturday. Tip is scheduled for 1pm CT on BTN.

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Badgers Basketball

Former Badger Jon Leur traded to Milwaukee Bucks

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They say you can always go home, and for one former Wisconsin Badger he’s coming back to a state he called home for four years.

Former Badgers forward Jon Leuer was traded early on Thursday morning from the Detroit Pistons to the Milwaukee Bucks. In exchange for Leuer, the Bucks gave up the 30th overall pick in tonight’s NBA Draft and traded away Tony Snell.

Last season, Leuer played in 41 games for the Pistons and made just one start. He averaged 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in his ninth season in the NBA.

Leuer is a very similar player to Snell, but comes at a much more team-friendly salary.

In trading away Snell, the Bucks free up an additional $4 million in salary this year and another $12 million next year.

This could be seen as a way for the Bucks to pony up the big money that Khris Middleton wants from the team in order to stay in Milwaukee.

As for Leuer, he is 17th on the all-time Badgers scoring list with 1,376 points to his name. He also finished his career with 551 rebounds.

Leuer’s final season in Madison was his best statistically, as he helped lead the 2010-11 Badgers team to the Sweet 16. He averaged 18.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game that year.

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Badgers Basketball

Badgers basketball land Davis twins

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After missing out on the Hauser brothers late last month, the Wisconsin Badgers added a different pair of siblings on Saturday night.

Following an offer to the brother of 4-star shooting guard Johnny Davis and an appearance at a team camp this weekend, the Davis brothers announced their pledge to the Badgers according to Badger247.

It took less than a week after head coach Greg Gard gave the O.K. to offer Jordan for the pair to commit to Wisconsin.

Johnny held offers from Marquette, West Virginia, Iowa, Minnesota, DePaul, UNLV and others.

Jordan had offers from UW-Milwaukee and Green Bay, while also becoming a sought after recruit on the football field as well. Once he became serious about wanting to play basketball first, it seemed like a matter of time before Wisconsin offered.

That time came after seeing Jordan play in a camp last weekend.

It also came because it was time to figure out if Johnny was serious about the Badgers or not.

With the July evaluation period coming up, Wisconsin’s coaching staff put the final chips in the middle with this recruitment and it appeared to pay off.

Johnny joins as the No. 141 ranked player in the country and the No. 14 ranked combo guard in the nation according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

The twins will join Detroit, Mich. native Lorne Bowman in the 2020 class.

Wisconsin still has one scholarship available in the class as well, which is likely being held for 5-star and Wisconsin native Jalen Johnson.

After missing out on talented in-state players over and over again, this was a major win for Gard and his coaching staff considering how hard schools like West Virginia and Marquette were after Johnny’s commitment.

As for Jordan, it appears the coaching staff believes he is improving enough to get a scholarship and continue his improvement with this program.

Offers don’t come out just because it may win over a different recruit at Wisconsin. That wasn’t Bo Ryan’s style and it also isn’t Greg Gard’s style.

The trio of players put the Badgers at No. 8 in the country and No. 3 in the Big Ten in the 2020 class as of today.

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Former Badgers get No. 2 seed in The Basketball Tournament Columbus regional

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Who doesn’t want $2 million? That’s the prize at stake for winning The Basketball Tournament and a group of former Wisconsin Badgers want in.

On Tuesday it was officially announced that the Kohl Blooded team — spearheaded by former Badgers point guard Kam Taylor — will be the No. 2 seed in the Columbus regional.

They will take on No. 7 seed Mid-American Unity, which is making its second appearance in the TBT after a year off. That group represents teams from across the Mid-American conference.

As for the Badgers, the roster will be made up of some very strong names from the past. The headline names include members of the back-to-back Final Four teams in Nigel Hayes and Vitto Brown. Also joining will be Jordan Taylor, Ryan Evans, Trevon Hughes and recent grad Charles Thomas. You can see the full roster here.

The regionals will take place July 19-21 in Columbus with the winner of this regional meeting seven other winners in Chicago for championship week.

All games will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks, so you should be able to find them either streaming or on cable television.

Kohl Blooded vs. Mid-American Unity will tip at 1pm ET on Friday, July 19.

The winner will take on the winner of Red Scare (Dayton alumni) and The Region (players from Northwest Indiana) in the regional semi-final the next day.

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Badgers play final card in attempt to land 2020 G Johnny Davis

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A week after losing out on Joey and Sam Hauser, the Wisconsin Badgers basketball program needs some positive momentum on the player acquisition front.

With three scholarships available in the 2020 class and two top in-state players in their sites, the Badgers coaching staff has been about as patient as possible.

On Wednesday, Badger247 reports that UW has offered Jordan Davis, the twin brother of top target Johnny Davis. It’s not a walk-on or grayshirt, but a full scholarship offer.

After two years of waiting for that offer to come, it finally did.

Jordan is an unranked player in basketball at this time, but I expect that to change once the scouting services catch wind of this offer. Johnny Davis is the No. 131 ranked player in the country, a 4-star rated prospect and the No. 3 ranked player in the state of Wisconsin in the 2020 class.

With the brothers set to make a weekend visit for team camp in two weeks, this is a move that undoubtably puts the pressure squarely on Johnny Davis at this point.

Simply put, the Badgers need to know if Davis is going to commit or if they need to move on.

Offering Jordan a full ride is about the only thing left in the Badgers quiver at this point. If getting the dream of playing basketball together at the same school and in-state no less doesn’t tip the scales, at least the Badgers know they can move on.

Is it a desperate move? In some ways one could see it as such. Clearly the Badgers want Johnny in a major way and they see offering Jordan as a critical move that could separate themselves from the competition.

However, this also isn’t a coaching staff willing to just throw away a scholarship in an effort to get a coveted player to play for them. That’s simply not Greg Gard’s style.

Jordan is also a player they see as a contributor, or he wasn’t getting an offer. Plain and simple.

There’s no doubt that this move ups the pressure, like I mentioned before. But, that’s not a bad thing, as UW needs to know where they stand heading in to July’s evaluation period.

If the Davis brothers can’t commit or at least internally give the coaching staff the information that will make them feel comfortable, they need to start getting offers out to other big time players whom they’ve been waiting to offer.

Consider UW is an underdog to land in-state five-star prospect Jalen Johnson, and you have to consider this move a smart one for the long term prospects of the 2020 class.

Will the Davis twins jump at the offer to play together at Wisconsin?

Some in the recruiting world believe this was the situation that was holding Wisconsin back all along. So, don’t be surprised to see this affect the recruitment of both players in a big way.

As for Jordan, his game has also caught the attention of Iowa and Minnesota and he did have scholarship offers from both Green Bay and Milwaukee prior to this one.

What may have really held the Badgers coaching staff and others back was the fact that Jordan is also a good player on the football side and wasn’t sure which sport he wanted to pick.

It seems like UW has gotten the clue that Jordan may be more receptive to a basketball future and pulled the trigger on the offer.

We’ll see how much longer the two stay uncommitted, but don’t be surprised to see something happen following July’s AAU season.

Letting that play out and getting all the offers out there on the table is just a smart move for the twins. From there, it’s up to them and clearly the Badgers have left no stone unturned in this situation.

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