March 4, 2012
BY BRIAN MASON
UW Athletic Communications
STAR OF THE GAME
Josh Gasser put together his best performance of the Big Ten season as No. 14 Wisconsin closed out conference play with a 70-56 win over Illinois on Sunday at the Kohl Center. The sophomore matched his season-high with 16 points -- going 4-for-6 from the floor and 7-for-8 at the free throw line -- while tying his season-best total with eight rebounds. Jordan Taylor was certainly worthy of honorable mention on Senior Day, closing out his Kohl Center career with 16 points, three rebounds and three assists without committing a turnover.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Junior Ryan Evans posted his 10th-consecutive game in double-figure scoring, with the most dramatic of his 10 points coming on an athletic move to the basket less than two minutes into second half. With defensive help from Gasser -- who set up on the block and sealed Illinois’ Sam Maniscalco off from the play -- Evans turned the corner on Joseph Bertrand, put his head down and drove from the wing to throw down a two-handed slam.
TURNING POINT OF THE GAME
Illinois had an answer for the Badgers’ game-opening basket, but the Illini were left with no response to what followed. After Brandon Paul hit a jumper to knot the score at 2-2, the Badgers unleashed a 12-0 run that effectively put things out of reach for Illinois just 4 1/2 minutes into the game. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Taylor and Wilson got Senior Day off to a fast start, with Gasser adding a layup and Wilson splashing another trey to give the Badgers a 14-2 lead with 14:23 remaining in the first half. From there, UW’s lead swelled to 17 points on four separate occasions, and Illinois only briefly trimmed the advantage to single-digits early in the second half.
STAT OF THE GAME
While the Badgers were running away with things on the offense end, they also clamped down defensively. UW limited Illinois to its lowest-scoring half of the season, holding the Illini to just 18 points in the first 20 minutes. The Badgers held the Illini to a 6-for-24 shooting performance and allowed them to get to the free throw line just once while building a 13-point halftime lead.