Colgate up next for men’s hoops

first_imgRedshirt junior Ryan Evans (5) registered 13 points, six rebounds and four assists in first career start at forward for Wisconsin against Kennesaw State in the season opener.[/media-credit]Walking into the Kohl Center is hard enough, even when the Wisconsin men’s basketball team isn’t making nearly 59 percent of its shots.Colgate University will venture inside the arena today to tip off against No. 14 Wisconsin, who appeared to do no wrong in its season opener against Kennesaw State Saturday.In the 85-31 victory, Wisconsin put forth an astounding offensive effort, hitting 58.8 percent of shots from the field and 60 percent from the perimeter. The Badgers featured eight players who attempted at least one three-pointer, and not one of them made less than 50 percent of their tries from the arc.Although a team’s success-rate shooting the ball inevitably ebbs and flows, kicking off the 2011-12 season in such a way still served as a confidence booster for the Badgers, according to assistant coach Lamont Paris.“It’s a huge confidence booster; we were in a flow” Paris said. “Sometimes you just have nights like that where you can get the same shots [that], in another game, maybe not make quite as many.”As Paris also pointed out, the Badger offense did well to distribute the bevy of opportunities present in Saturday’s game. Five players finished in double-figure scoring – with guards Josh Gasser and Ben Brust leading the way with 14 each – and the team accumulated 23 assists, with point guard Jordan Taylor producing seven himself.Against Kennesaw State, a much smaller school from the Atlantic Sun Conference, Wisconsin’s dominance extended farther than just shooting the ball. The Badgers outrebounded the Owls 41-20 and also allowed just eight points in the first half.But for forward Ryan Evans – who put up 13 points, six rebounds and four assists in his first career start – allowing 31 points on the day was the team’s biggest accomplishment.“I think scoring’s going to always come,” Evans said. “You always got guys who want to put the ball in the hoop, so the main thing is defense. Being able to hold a team to 31 points is huge cause you can always find ways to put the ball in the hoop, but defensively, that’s where you kind of worry.”Wisconsin’s defense will have to stay on its toes against Colgate, who began their season with similar success shooting the ball. In a 78-74 win over Binghamton University, the Raiders converted on 49 percent of its shots from the field while also seeing 33.3 percent of their three-pointers fall into the basket.Guard Mike Venezia and forward Sterling Melville led the scoring effort for the Raiders in that game with 22 and 17 points, respectively. And another forward-guard pair, Brandon James and Mitch Rolls, just missed out on double-figures by adding another nine points apiece.Wisconsin held a formidable advantage over Kennesaw State, but won’t exactly have the same edge over Colgate. The Raiders boast a 6-foot-11, 263-pound center in John Brandenburg, who, in 27 minutes in the season opener, blocked four shots and scoured the boards for a game-high 11 rebounds. He didn’t figure too much into the offensive output, however, scoring just five points in the game.From what forward Jared Berggren has gathered so far in practice, Colgate is a team with a plentiful amount of size and shooters that enjoys flaring to the outside for open threes.“I know they do have a few big guys,” Berggren said. “From what the scout team ran at us today, there was a lot of flares and stuff, so guys can shoot it. We expect a good team, so we know we have to execute and be ready to compete and take care of business on Wednesday.”Wisconsin is also witnessing the emergence of Brust, who spent nearly the entirety of last season watching from the sidelines as a freshman. Brust was the first substitute in for the Badgers on Saturday and spent 23 total minutes on the floor, tying for the team lead in points while also adding three rebounds and two steals.Eyes will certainly be on Brust come Wednesday to see if the 6-foot-1 sophomore can reproduce the effort seen against KSU.And Paris believes Brust won’t disappoint.“I think he’s going to be a consistent performer,” he said. “He has an explosiveness to him from the offensive end where it’s not like he’s searching and hunting for shots. He can just find 15 shots within the flow of the game, and that’s a talent that some guys don’t have.“He could be really good for us.”Wisconsin vs. Colgate tips off at 7:00 p.m. CT and can be seen live on ESPN3: read more