Badger freshman delivers in debut
But on Sunday, freshman Josh Gasser showed the Badgers will have other scoring threats this season.
Gasser came off the bench to score 21 points and grab nine rebounds in his debut, and Wisconsin beat Prairie View A&M, 99-55, in its season opener.
Gasser had the second-most points by any Badger freshman in his first game and was
9-of-10 from the foul line.
“We have guys right down the line that can step up. You don’t know who’s going to put up numbers or score points,” said Leuer, who led the team with 24 points.
“To have a lift like that off the bench, it helps a lot.”
Prairie View (0-2) made a game of it early even though Leuer hit three-pointers on three straight possessions as Wisconsin went up 9-0. The Panthers missed their first five shots, but recovered from their dismal start and trailed by seven, 43-36, early in the second half.
Wisconsin then went on a 21-3 run over the next five minutes to put the game away. Taylor scored 10 points in the spurt and finished with 20.
Gasser’s debut was topped only by Rashard Griffith’s 27 points in 1993. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said as well as Gasser played on offense, he learned a few lessons on defense after getting burned on a couple of long three-pointers and was pleased to see his freshman respond.
“Defensively, he got me a little bit on those 3s,” Gasser said. “But after that I felt comfortable, and as the game went on, I got better.”
Prairie View’s tallest starters were 6-foot-7, and the Panthers struggled to keep up with the taller, more physical Badgers.
Wisconsin outrebounded Prairie View 51-16, including 24 offensive rebounds. The Badgers didn’t shoot particularly well in the first half (37 percent), but their work on the offensive boards kept the Panthers at bay until they found their shooting stroke in the second half.
Prairie View coach Byron Rimm said his team started settling for quick shots during the decisive run and then became frustrated about the score, the officiating and the crowd. By comparison, Wisconsin was hustling after every loose ball, while his guys ended up standing around watching the play.
Trant Simpson scored 14 points to lead Prairie View.
“We turned the ball over too much. We didn’t rebound,” Rimm said. “It’s kind of hard for us to compete with 6-10, 6-10, 6-9, 6-8 that were hustling. I really think we got outhustled today.”