Wisconsin lead Montana by 10 points at half, and they never looked back. At the first game at the Pit in Albuquerque, New Mexico, there was no opening round upset as #4 trounced #13 by a score of 73 – 49.
Wisconsin showed why they’re going to be a tough out in the tourney – their defense. On the season, they held opponents to 52 points per game, the lowest in the country. This afternoon, Montana was only able to put up 49, and only 20 in the second half.
But defense wasn’t the only story. Wisconin shot an impressive 47.9% from the field, hitting ten 3s in the process. Ryan Evans and Jordan Taylor combined for 12 – 18 shooting for 35 points.
The Grizzlies’ season scoring leader Will Cherry couldn’t get things going, shooting a miserable 3 -14 from the floor for 9 points.
One of the major pre-game storylines for this game was Wisconsin senior guard Jordan Taylor. The undisputed team leader came into the year as a pre-season pick for All-American. Although Taylor has played well all year, his number are in fact down from a year ago. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan addressed that before the game:
“His shooting percentage is down a little bit but not his leadership,” he said. “I think it has been tremendous because of how he has brought along the other guys. When you say something 1,000 times sometimes you hesitate to say it again, but I can’t with Jordan.”
This game showed that Taylor has come to the tournament to play, as he took over the game with 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists – one of which sent him sprawling across the floor in an amazing feat of athleticism.
Wisconsin will play either Vanderbilt or Harvard in the next round, which will kick off on Saturday.