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Gasser’s triple-double impresses; Badgers prep for Nittany Lions

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first_imgJon Leuer and the Badgers have won three in a row and are settling into Big Ten play. Wisconsin will hit the road Saturday to face PSU.[/media-credit]After a dominant performance Sunday resulted in a blowout win over Northwestern, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan was full of praise for his athletes at his Monday press conference, particularly freshman Josh Gasser.Gasser, who appeared to be out of favor with Ryan after playing a diminished role over the course of the last few games, played 30 minutes and contributed 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, marking the first triple-double in UW history. Starting point guard Jordan Taylor nearly had a triple-double Dec. 4 against South Dakota, but fell one assist short.“Players are expected to perform,” Ryan said. “What might be a surprise to some people is that, in athletics, you have a job, a function, so to speak…so Josh has tried to fulfill those responsibilities, and he has never tried to do anything he isn’t capable of because we never ask him to do anything he isn’t capable of.”Beyond Gasser’s individual play, Ryan also stressed the element of teamwork that has allowed the Badgers to win consistently this season. Each game has allowed different players to star in different areas, and Ryan acknowledged this is an essential part to becoming a good team.“[Having all the players share the spotlight] keeps reinforcing how we have been successful here, and how I think success should be measured: By how well the group does,” Ryan said. “People in a team sport play well, so the team does well.”Ryan then added that a key strength for his team this year is everybody on the team knows everyone will have a chance to play a crucial role; at the same time, they understand each of them will also have bad games.“Like the first team I ever coached in junior high, if we can take care of the ball…and take away their shots, it is the same at this level; you still have to do the fundamentals and take care of the fundamentals in order to give your team a chance,” Ryan said.Looking ahead to their next game Thursday against Penn State, the Badgers deal with a team many consider a very dangerous Big Ten team led by star guard Taylor Battle. The Nittany Lions have played four top 25-ranked opponents in their last four games and have won two. PSU lost the other two by a combined total of four points. Furthermore, Wisconsin faces Penn State in Happy Valley, a challenge considering the Nittany Lions have won their last two games at home against No. 19 Michigan State and No. 16 Illinois. Originally not picked to play well in the conference this year, Ryan admitted the Nittany Lions could prove to be a challenge for the Badgers.“I think last year was one of those years where a lot was expected [of Penn State], Ryan said. “Then this year they were picked kind of where we were, and so the pressure is off of them to just do their thing and get some success. …They have saved their best for now in Big Ten play.”last_img read more