Wed. Final: UW 74, Northwestern 45
Next game: Sunday, January 11 at Purdue
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Jason Bohannon showed that he's more than just a 3-point shooter.
Facing the Big Ten's best defense, Bohannon scored a career-high 20 points in Wisconsin's 74-45 victory over Northwestern Wednesday night.
Bohannon was his usual self from 3-point range, but also hit from everywhere else on the floor for the Badgers (12-3, 3-0 Big Ten).
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan pointed to former Badgers standout Kirk Penney as an example of a player who evolved offensively -- and wants to see the same from Bohannon.
"We'll take 'em from wherever we can get 'em," Ryan said. "The more heads a monster has, the tougher they are to deal with."
Bohannon was 8-of-12 from the field and 3-for-6 from 3-point range, including a pair of 3-pointers and a layup as Wisconsin took control down the stretch. Bohannon also set a career high with five assists and tied a career high with six rebounds.
Bohannon said his big night was the result of sharp offensive play by his teammates.
"There were times tonight where we getting six passes, being crisp, moving it around the perimeter and getting a layup," Bohannon said. "When you've got that going on, you're going to play well that night."
The Badgers' Jon Leuer also had a hot shooting night against the Wildcats' zone defense, hitting 6 of 9 from the field for 15 points and adding eight rebounds.
Marcus Landry chipped in 12 points for the Badgers as the Wildcats (8-5, 0-3) didn't live up to their billing on defense.
"I didn't feel the spark," said Northwestern coach Bill Carmody, whose team came into Wednesday's game giving up a conference-best 55.5 points per game.
The Wildcats were even worse on offense, stumbling to season lows in points and field goal percentage (31.4). Northwestern couldn't muster a double-digit scorer, as Craig Moore and Kevin Coble scored 9 points each to lead the Wildcats.
"I thought it was probably one of our best defensive performances of the year," Leuer said. "I felt like anything they tried to do, we had an answer for it."
Northwestern got off to a 4-for-15 start and shot only 33.3 percent in the first half. Carmody wondered if some of his younger players had trouble handling a tough road environment.
"I don't know if they were intimidated or what, but it affected the rest of the game, I think," Carmody said.
The Badgers have never lost at home to an unranked Big Ten team under Ryan.
Northwestern also faced a considerable rebounding disadvantage for the third straight game, as the Badgers beat them 42-28 on the boards.
Rebounding has been a major problem for the Wildcats early in conference play. They were outrebounded by a combined total of 93-52 in their first two games, losses to Penn State and Michigan State.
Still, they remained in contention early in the second half on Wednesday, only to blow a chance at putting together a run at the lead.
The Wildcats' Kyle Rowley scored inside to cut the Badgers' lead to 34-25 with 16:52 left, and Trevon Hughes' miss on a wide-open layup on the other end led to a rare fast break for the Wildcats.
Moore tried to hit a pull-up 3-point attempt, but missed.
Bohannon then bounced in a 3-pointer off the rim, kicking off an extended 23-7 run that included another Bohannon 3-pointer. Bohannon's inside layup gave Wisconsin a 57-32 lead with 9:45 remaining.
Wisconsin held Northwestern's offense scoreless for more than three minutes during their run, beginning with Moore's 3-pointer with 12:03 left and ending with Mike Cappoci's made free throw with 8:59 remaining.
"When the second half started, I told the guys that they're right in the game," Landry said. "I told them, the first five minutes is key. We really have to pick it up and take it right at them. Coach emphasized that and stressed that in the locker room at halftime. For the most part, we came out and we did that. We got right after them and we kind of stretched the lead out."
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)