first_imgJunior guard Jordan Taylor set a new career-best in scoring for the second time this season aganst the Spartans. That came on the heels of a 15-point, five-assist performance in a close game against the Boilermakers. Taylor is averaging 17.8 points per game.[/media-credit]Every week, Herald Sports will look back at the most recent week of the Wisconsin men’s basketball team and assess the Badgers’ performance.Last week, Wisconsin – now ranked No. 13 in the AP Top 25 and No. 14 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll – endured a second-half surge from Purdue to record a 66-59 win Tuesday at the Kohl Center. Five days later on Super Bowl Sunday, the Badgers routed the floundering Michigan State Spartans 82-56, also in Madison.Now, Wisconsin sits at 17-5 with a 7-3 Big Ten record, tied for second in the conference with Purdue. The Badgers will hit the road Wednesday night for Iowa City to take on the 10-13 (3-8) Hawkeyes before returning to Madison for what could be the game of the year, as No. 1 Ohio State brings their 24-0 record to the Kohl Center Saturday.Offense – 4.5 out of 5Entering their showdown with Wisconsin, Michigan State had lost four of its last five games. Yet, you can’t penalize the Badgers for taking advantage of the struggling Spartans. At one point, UW held a 33-point lead (11:38 in the second half). MSU, meanwhile, didn’t lead once.Wisconsin averages 69.9 points per game – eighth in the Big Ten – but against Michigan State, the Badgers had 43 points by halftime. They shot 59 percent (23-39) from the field, 64.7 percent from three-point territory (11-17) and an astounding 96.2 percent from the free throw line (25-26). Point guard Jordan Taylor scored a career-high 30 points on 7-14 shooting, including 2-4 from behind the arc and a perfect 4-4 from the charity stripe. Taylor also contributed six assists with just one turnover, improving his assist-turnover ratio of plus-3.8, already the nation’s best. Jon Leuer had 20 points and six rebounds, but because of Taylor’s remarkable performance, he was somewhat unnoticed.Earlier against Purdue, Wisconsin got the physical battle everyone was expecting. The halftime score was just 27-19 in favor of the Badgers, but both teams exploded in the second half. The Badgers scored 39 points in the second half, while the Boilermakers racked up 40. This time, Leuer was the star, finishing with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Taylor scored 15 points and pulled down seven boards, and UW gained a boost in reserves Josh Gasser and Ryan Evans. Gasser, a freshman guard, scored 11 points and grabbed four rebounds, while Evans, a sophomore guard, energized the Kohl Center with his 10 points.Defense – 4.5 out of 5Last week, the Badgers held both the Spartans and the Boilermaker below their season scoring averages. Against Michigan State, Wisconsin allowed the Spartans to shoot 43.5 percent from the field (slightly above their average) but limited their outside options, as MSU made just 3-of-14 three-point attempts. Michigan State averages 70.8 points per game, and with the way Wisconsin was playing Sunday, there was no way the Spartans were getting anywhere close to that mark. The Badgers did allow Spartans guard Kalin Lucas to score 20 points, but he was MSU’s main threat, as forward Draymond Green scored just 13.Against Purdue, Wisconsin allowed the Boilermakers to convert on 11 of their first 12 second-half shots. PU built a seven-point lead – their largest of the game – with 11:37 remaining but hit just three of their final 10 shots. The Boilermakers did shoot 47.9 percent from the floor and 38.5 from behind the arc, but the Badgers limited them to just nine free throw attempts. Purdue sunk eight.Bench – 3 out of 5The Badgers’ bench earns this grade not because of the quality of their play, but rather because of the limited impact they’ve been able to have with the way Taylor and Leuer are playing. Against Michigan State, Wisconsin had seven bench points between Evans, freshman guard Ben Brust and junior guard/forward Rob Wilson. In the Purdue game, Evans’ 10 points were all the bench scoring the Badgers received.Fortunately for Wisconsin, the statistics don’t fully reflect the bench’s performance. Sophomore forward Mike Bruesewitz pulled down four rebounds against Michigan State and contributed several hustle plays against Purdue. ‘Brueser’ is known for that kind of play, as UW assistant coach Lamont Paris joked the Badgers measure his performance by the number of floor burns he picks up each game.Player of the week – Jordan TaylorLeuer may have won Big Ten Player of the Week, but Taylor gets the nod after his career-high scoring output against Michigan State and his all-around mastery of UW’s offense. As noted above, Taylor leads the nation in assist-turnover ratio, and not surprisingly, the Badgers do as well (plus-1.78). Taylor also owned his opponents – MSU’s Keith Appling scored just six points and dished out zero assists, while PU’s Lewis Jackson finished with just one point and four assists.last_img read more