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November 10, 2010MADISON - When asked about the play of Jon Leuer, Minnesota State head coach Matt Margenthaler quipped back with a chuckle before answering the question.
"You hate to say this as the opposing coach," he said. "But man, he was fun to watch."
It was just one of those nights for the Badger senior, who for the second-consecutive exhibition game, proved to be the best player on the floor.
"He's the real deal," Margenthaler said. "He's unbelievable with some of the things he can do. The things he can do on the floor, both inside and out, he can put the ball on the floor and that's what impressed me. I knew he could put it on the floor, but being out there live and watching him do it is very impressive."
Leuer finished with a game-high 25 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. He shot 69 percent from the floor, blocked two shots and recorded a steal in a game that was never in doubt.
Behind his effort, and Jordan Taylor's 20-point effort, Wisconsin closed the exhibition portion of its schedule with a laughable 93-59 victory over a usually strong division two program in Minnesota State.
"That's a fairly athletic team," UW head coach Bo Ryan said. "They're one of the best D-2 programs in the country. We're not just talking about the Midwest. I'm not saying that they're going to be what we face in the Big Ten every night or anything else. But it never matters.
"It's just what you do when you on the court."
Whatever Wisconsin did on that court, it did so well.
The team shot 58.5 percent from the floor, crushed the Mavericks in the paint (40-14), forced them into 20 turnovers and never let them get into a rhythm in front of a half filled Kohl Center crowd.
"I knew there would be some adversity and there was early for our team," Margenthaler said. "I thought we got out of rhythm offensively very early and that was because of the defensive pressure and just how physical the Badgers are. They did a great job of forcing turnovers and they shot the heck out of the ball.
"We got rattled early and very frustrated."
Really, the only amount of drama that surfaced in Wednesday's shellacking came when Ryan changed the tune of his starting lineup. With Rob Wilson still recovering from his hamstring injury, Wquinton Smith logged his first career start.
Mike Bruesewitz also earned a start for his willingness to get after loose balls and his ability to mix things up defensively. Jordan Taylor, Keaton Nankivil and Jon Leuer rounded out the starting five.
Though the rotation didn't play out like it probably will when the season begins, the Badgers were able to accomplish a few things during the exhibition schedule.
"Everyone is healthy except for Rob," Leuer said. "We're starting to come together. We still feel like we have some things to improve on, defensively especially. We've got to get better in that aspect. Now the real games start.
"It's fun and it's exciting. This is a good time for us. We're looking forward to getting the real games started."
UW's regular season tips off Sunday afternoon inside the Kohl Center when the Badgers host Prairie View A&M. That game is scheduled to start 5:00 p.m. central time.
-Taylor finished with 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting. He also chipped in five assists without a turnover and logged two rebounds. For the exhibition schedule, Taylor finished with 32 points on 12-of-17 shooting. He dished 11 assists to only two turnovers.
-Freshman Josh Gasser was yet again the first rookie off the bench for Ryan's Badgers. He finished his second exhibition game with four points, one rebound and one turnover in 17 minutes of play.
-Ben Brust and Duje Dukan played 12 and nine minutes respectively. Brust scored two points.
-Leuer and Taylor combined to shoot 72 percent during Wednesday's win. Those two players were responsible for 45 of the teams 93 points.
-Jefferson Mason paced Minnesota State with 20 points on 60 percent shooting. He finished the game with 20 points on 60 percent shooting.
-Wisconsin outscored Minnesota State 40-14 in the paint, 29-9 off turnovers and 12-2 during fast breaks. The Mavericks did score 18 second chance points in comparison to UW's nine. The Badgers also only out-rebounded MSU by a 32-29 margin.
-Rob Wilson didn't participate in warm-ups and didn't play in Wednesday night's game. According to Ryan, the trainers shut the junior guard down. His return to game action is undetermined at this time.
More on the recruits:
Ryan was asked to elaborate on the four recruits that just signed their national letters of intent Wednesday evening.
The following are Ryan's comments on each recruit.
On Jarrod Uthoff:
"I was an assistant when we played Iowa State. Uthoff's uncle, he killed us on the glass. If Jared rebounds anything like him holy smokes."
On George Marshall:
"He's a quick little guard. You think somewhat of Kammron Taylor. He's got a quick release."
On Frank Kaminsky:
"He plays off of bodies well. He's got nice touch for a big guy."
On Traevon Jackson:
"He's just like 'What do you need me to do?' He's just an all-around solid player. He plays a little bit of the point, a little bit of the two and a little power forward. His team wasn't very big, but he did just about everything for them."
On the class in general:
"I really like these four guys. They're good parts to a team puzzle."