Play of Hughes vital for success

first_imgDerek is a sophomore majoring ineconomics. If you’d like to discuss the future of the Badger basketball teamfurther, you can email him Conference losses are always disappointing. They?reespecially so when your team is ranked in the Top 25 and your opponent isn?t. Thatsaid, the Badgers’ loss to Purdue Saturday was even more heartbreaking, becausehad the game been played on a neutral court, they surely would have had theupper hand over the Boilermakers. However, those that know the rivalry well areaware of the curse that lingers in West Lafayette, Ind. and thus were notshocked at the end result.With the loss, UW moved to 1-31 in its last 32 games inMackey Arena. Vegas knew that; that?s why Wisconsin entered the game as a mereone-point favorite, awfully small for the 11th-ranked team in the nation. So our beloved Badgers are 6-1 in Big Ten play instead of7-0. In the grand scheme of things, it?s really not that big of a deal. Theyonly fell two spots in the national rankings, and with three games againstIndiana and Michigan State remaining (two of which are in the Kohl Center), BoRyan?s squad still has plenty of opportunities to take home the conferencetitle.So should Badger Nation be concerned following Saturday?sdisappointing defeat? Yes. Not because of the subsequent tally in the losscolumn, but because of the way it all unfolded. Wisconsin just didn?t seemworthy of its Top 25 status.Top-caliber teams must be able to play well on the road.Come March, the Badgers can kiss the Kohl Center goodbye. The Big Tentournament will be played in Indianapolis, and obviously the NCAA tournamentgames will be held at neutral sites. In order to make a run come madness time,the Badgers need to perform better under pressure. Wisconsin?s first two losses of the season both came againstteams that play three-guard sets, meaning they like to run-and-gun. Duke?s GregPaulus, Gerald Henderson and DeMarcus Nelson, along with Marquette?s DominicJames, Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews, are all terrific athletes who thrivein fast-paced basketball games.In each of those losses ? along with Saturday?s loss toPurdue ? Wisconsin?s opponent was able to control the tempo of the game and attimes force the Badgers out of sync and off their game.On paper, the UW backcourt was simply overmatched againstboth Duke and Marquette. However, the same could be said about their matchupwith Texas, as A.J. Abrams is a deadly shooter and D.J. Augustin is predictedto be selected in the mid-first round of this year?s NBA Draft. So what was different when the Badgers traveled to Austin,Texas, Dec. 28? Oddly enough, this was the one game that sophomore point guardTrevon Hughes ? the Badgers? second leading scorer ? missed because of an ankleinjury.In UW?s three losses, Hughes has committed more turnoversthan assists. However, the actual turnovers aren?t the biggest issue in myopinion; quite frankly, he?s looked simply rattled during each of thesecontests.In the win over the Longhorns, Michael Flowers and JasonBohannon controlled the tempo of the game and produced a combined 2-1 assist-to-turnoverratio in Hughes? absence. Their abilities to remain calm ? along with Flowers?last minute heroics ? ended in a UW upset victory.So do I think the Badgers are better off without Hughesquarterbacking the offense? Absolutely not. Overall this season, Hughes is averaging 13.1 points pergame, has more assists than turnovers, and is second in the Big Ten with twosteals per game. Not bad for a sophomore who saw limited action behind Flowersand standout guard Kammron Taylor last season as a freshman. The truth is, Hughes is a playmaker and has shown moments ofbrilliance at times this season. He?s an exciting player to watch and has anextremely bright future with the cardinal and red. But Badger fans should not currently be concerned with thedistant future at this point. This year?s team has a legitimate shot to do somedamage come tournament time, especially following a devastating second roundexit last season. But these Badgers will only be able to go as far as Hughes isable to take them. Senior forward Brian Butch is the leader of this team.Hughes is the quarterback; he calls the plays and controls the tempo. If thiskid from Queens can remain cool and consistent under pressure, the sky is thelimit for not only him but for the 2007-08 Wisconsin Badgers.Fortunately for Hughes, he has an immediate chance to redeemhimself tomorrow, as the No. 11 Indiana Hoosiers ? a team featuring a backcourtequivalent to those of Duke and Marquette ? come to town. Hughes will have hishands full with freshman phenom Eric Gordon, the Big Ten?s leading scorer. Will he be up to the task? We?ll just have to wait to see. last_img read more

Syracuse struggles to convert on scoring chances in 5-2 loss to Robert Morris

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 5, 2018 at 9:46 pm Contact Adam: | @_adamhillman Syracuse (5-12-2, 4-4-1 CHA) fell to Robert Morris (12-3-3, 6-1-2) 5-2, on Friday in the Orange’s first game since Dec. 9. This is Syracuse’s fifth consecutive loss and fourth straight in league play. After the loss, the Orange remains with nine points on the season, and now stands five points behind RMU, the conference leader.The two squads played to a stalemate in the first 20 minutes, as neither team found the back of the net.Syracuse limped to a 2-0 early deficit in the second period, as the Colonials began to capitalize on their massive advantage in shots. Midway through the period, the Orange got on the scoreboard thanks to senior forward Alysha Burriss’ second goal of the year. However, RMU junior Amber Rennie’s goal with just under three minutes remaining pushed her team’s lead back to two.Five minutes into the third period, a goal scored by Colonials senior defender Natalie Fraser stretched the RMU lead to three, but Syracuse wasn’t done yet. Burriss tallied her second goal of the game only forty seconds later off a Kelli Rowswell assist, Rowswell’s team-leading 12th point of the season. After twelve minutes in which neither team got anything going offensively, Brittany Howard closed out any chance for a Syracuse comeback with her CHA-leading 18th goal of the season.The struggles on Friday for the Orange were a result of its lack of success on shot opportunities. While SU only attempted nine fewer shots on goal than Robert Morris, the Colonials tallied three more goals than the Orange. Thanks to 17 of its attempts blocked by RMU defenders, Syracuse’s shots struggled to even reach the net.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Commentslast_img read more