Notes: Waking the Sleeping Giant

Keaton Nankivil (Koshollek/10)

After playing just seven minutes Saturday against South Dakota, senior Keaton Nankivil rebounded in a big way Wednesday, being stout defensively that turned into offensive production in a 21-point Wisconsin victory.

MADISON – Saturday against South Dakota, Keaton Nankivil was about as quiet as a starting forward could be.

Seven minutes, no points, one rebound.

Nankivil made plenty of noise Wednesday against Milwaukee. The senior was active on both ends of the floor, making five of six shots for 10 points, grabbing nine rebounds, blocking three shots and stealing the ball twice. His effort helped the Badgers easily do away with Milwaukee, 61-40.

Nankivil's blocks and steals weren't his defensive contributions that could be quantified. Most impressive was the statline of Milwaukee forward Anthony Hill, whom Nankivil guarded most of the game.

Hill came into the game averaging 14.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Wednesday night he finished with just three points – all on free throws – and five rebounds.

"Keaton Nankivil did a nice job of staying between him and the basket," Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter said. "You have to make a decision, is it a good play or is a foul? They didn't call the fouls, so I have to say it was a good defensive play."

Nankivil said after the game his success against Hill could be attributed to emphasis head coach Bo Ryan puts on working hard defensively early to make it as difficult for the opposition to gain post position.

"It was hard not to let him catch it," Nankivil said. "He definitely did get some catches, but when he did we saw some stuff on film about how he moved when he got the ball. I was just trying to hold my ground as much as possible. With any player, once you get off to a slow start, it's tough to come back."

Nankivil's hard work on the defense helped him at the other end of the court, as well.

"It's just such a confidence builder to know you're doing something right on one end, keep the energy up and go do it on the other end," Nankivil said.

UW's defense looking tough

For the last decade or so Wisconsin has been known as a team that excels on defense. So far this season, that looks to be the case again.

"Their defense is good because they keep you in front with their length, they make you take some of those (tough) shots," Jeter said.

UW has held seven of it's first nine opponents under 60 points, and while some of that can be attributed to playing at one of the slowest paces in Division I, it's also simply a product of good defense.

Wednesday night, Wisconsin held Milwaukee to just 30.8 percent shooting for the game and forced 15 turnovers.

"We had certain things we were trying to do to take away their tendencies, just like they were trying to do to us," Ryan said. "The guys pretty much stuck to the rules we worked on."

Questionable calls

Ryan said he would have to review the game footage before commenting on the high number of traveling calls, but he didn't shy away from offering a thought on the intentional foul called on Jared Berggren in the second half.

Berggren appeared to elbow Ryan Allen while pivoting after coming down with a rebound. Ryan was visibly upset with the call at the time. After the game he chose his words carefully.

"I've seen people get off the subway with a lot more force than that," Ryan said.

Baller in Bascom

Chancellor Biddy Martin has shown her range in recent weeks, appearing in the "Teach Me How to Bucky" and "We're Smelling Roses" music videos.

Who knew she was a dead eye from the free throw stripe, too?

Milwaukee interim chancellor Michael Lovell challenged Martin to a free throw shooting contest at halftime of Wednesday night's game. Martin, who actually played one season at William and Mary as an undergraduate student, nailed 12 free throws to best Lovell's nine.

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