On the Podium: Wisconsin

Following its biggest second-half comeback of the season, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, senior Ben Brust, juniors Josh Gasser and Frank Kaminsky and sophomore Sam Dekker address the media.

Join the Badger conversation on Facebook! Go to our Facebook page and "like" us!

Opening Statement

COACH Bo Ryan: In the back I had a chance to listen to Coach Altman's comments and all. What a class individual. This was a tough environment for their team. They played hard, they played really well, but for our guys to be able to have the regular season that they did, as he mentioned, and get the seeds, it was definitely earned. And in order to get something done here tonight, we definitely had to earn that and our guys did. I'm awfully proud of them.

Q. You guys talked about after the Michigan State game, the Big Ten Tournament, how you guys wanted to learn from that deficit. Safe to say you guys kind of exorcized some of those demons with this comeback here tonight?

Josh Gasser: Definitely. I mean, we were obviously upset at the Big Ten tournament. We didn't achieve what we wanted to obviously but, you know, it's a brand new season coming into the NCAA Tournament, and all I can really say is I got to thank our crowd. That crowd was unbelievable. When we were up or down, we'd make a little run or they make a run, they always seemed to just get us back into it somehow. In the NCAA Tournament, not many teams get that. We're pretty darn fortunate to have that.

Q. For Frank, Frank, you really seemed to be in a groove there tonight and just knocking down shot after shot. What do you think it was that put you in the possession to do that, and can you speak a little bit again to the crowd and their reaction to you?

Frank Kaminsky: I think it has a little bit to do with the pressure they were putting on the guards. I tried to release it sometimes, and they were able to find me with the post open, and it was one-on-one, and I was looking at some easy buckets there. They did a great job of find meeting.

The crowd was unbelievable. We were feeding off the energy of the crowd and try to get them into it, and they were into it the whole game. That's obviously an advantage for us.

Q. Traevon, you get the run in the first 20 seconds of the first half. Did you feel that was the jolt that you guys needed for the second half?

Traevon Jackson: Yeah. Just from coming out at halftime, Coach gave us a -- you know, he kind of ripped into us a little bit just telling us, hey, we can do this. And I think we responded well. I'm just proud of our teammates because we've been down before, but today we kept taking it one possession at a time and I'm just proud of our teammates.

Q. To all four of you, what was said at halftime and by whom?

JOSH GASSER: All of us kind of talked. We were upset with the way we played. We just didn't follow the game plan that we knew we needed to do. They had a ton of transition points and they were just taking it to us. Fifty points speaks for itself. Coach Ryan obviously had a few words to say to get us going. We responded pretty well, like Traevon said.

Q. This is for any of you guys. At this time of year, good teams have to prove that they can take a punch and come back from it. How important do you think this performance is going to be for you next weekend and if you would make it to Dallas?

Ben Brust: I got this. Yeah, it was good to come out in the second half, and we just talked in the locker room. We can do it, but we got to believe in each other and have faith and also do the things that made us successful to get the comeback, which was you get some charges, get some stops, and just take care of the ball and get good shots. And just we worked it around, did all the things we talked about that we should have done for 40 minutes, but luckily we were able to do a good enough job in the last 20 better to get the job done.

Q. Question for Frank. To say the least, it looked very physical underneath tonight. Can you talk about all the pounding and pounding that went on underneath? They were really going after you tonight?

FRANK KAMINSKY: It's tournament time and no one wants to go home. You're doing whatever you can to stay in. If that means being physical down low with anyone, it's a battle. For 40 minutes we were going at each other, both teams. And like I said, it's tournament time. People are going to be physical with you.

Q. Question for Ben. Ben, on the three-pointer late in the game, what was going through your head as the ball was swinging around to you and how did it feel after you hit that shot?

BEN BRUST: It was a wild sequence of events there. I think Sam got it, threw it to Trae, and Trae just found me, and as soon as I let it go, I knew it was going down, which was a good feeling. Just knew we had to get back and play some defense because the game wasn't over.

Q. Ben, as a senior, what was kind of going through your head there at halftime knowing you were maybe 20 minutes away from your final game here, and how satisfying was it to hit that shot to give -- help give this team another 40 minutes of basketball?

BEN BRUST: Do whatever it takes to not make it your final game. I'm thankful to have some great teammates. We believe we can do it and we went out there and did it. Forty-nine points given up in the first half to 28, that was a battle of will and getting the job done and did it with all these guys.

Q. Guys, at this time of year, you really see teams coming together. Can you talk a little bit about the chemistry you guys have among your team?

TRAEVON JACKSON: I just think that we try to have a lot of faith in each other. I think that, you know, we go through ups and downs throughout the game, and encouragement is huge for us in terms of picking each other up, and whether that's just, you know, encouraging through speaking or doing something. I think today, I think it would play right away, I was thinking that Duje's charge. The whole bench was just going wild. That really kind of got the team going. To see a guy do something like that, those are the type of things that bringing the types of teams together. Just proud of our team for doing it.

Q. Ben, going back before that three, you were on the bench with foul trouble. What was going through your head at that point? And then what kind of might does it take to be able come off the bench and not only hit that shot but just the act of taking it after you've been sitting for awhile?

BEN BRUST: Coach told me to be ready. He wants to get me in whenever possible. I don't know. I played the whole game, so kind of had a feel of the rhythm out there and Trae found me and caught it and I knew it went.

Q. Josh, interesting sequence at the end of the first half. They were upset with the technical foul. Did that help you guys get fired up, the way the crowd kind of responded to whatever was going on at the end of the half?

JOSH GASSER: Well, like I said, the crowd was awesome. At that moment, you know, we were obviously struggling then, down by double digits. Just to see the will of the crowd had, the energy they had for us, doing whatever they could to help us out.

That's just -- we got in at halftime, let's just do this. We got to take care ever business here and can't -- after I want to thank every individual in the building, but I know that's impossible but they were awesome.

Q. Josh, can you talk about just defending Joseph Young tonight? Was that kind of frustrating for you at all with some of the shots he was hitting tonight?

JOSH GASSER: Yeah. A bunch of shots hit my face. Definitely frustrating (laughter). He's a heck of a player. We had one day to prepare for them. I wasn't able to watch too much film on them or get too much feel for them. I knew what I had to do to shut him down. My teammates helped me out a lot. But he's still just a really good player. He's really confident in that game. Again, just a great player.

Q. I want to ask, that timeout that you called, two offensive rebounds. Can you call it specifically to get Ben back in the game and what was the thinking behind that timeout?

COACH BO RYAN: Well, I just wanted to -- sometime you get offensive rebounds, the juices are flowing, but we didn't have any alignment. We didn't have spacing. So, I used the time out to get that. And they knew he was going back in in a short period of time. He took a fatigue three. He took a shot that wasn't the highest percentage shot, not his normal shot. So, he just needed to get down a little bit.

"Get down" meaning sit down. In the first -- all those timeouts, it's amazing how much rest -- you can play seven, eight guys so easily now because of the length of the timeouts and the monitor checks and everything else. So, Ben was okay. He wasn't even close to being tired.

Q. I'll ask what you said at timeout. Similar to what I asked the players, how important was it for you guys to show that you could with stand getting down by that much and then come back from it as you go forward in the tournament?

COACH BO RYAN: A lot of times when you get down, it's, okay, how did you get down? Their quickness was on display. How many fast break points did they get in the first half? How many did they get in the second half? That stat right there will tell you that it's the old "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." If they did the same thing in the second half, we're going home and not playing anymore, Ben and the other seniors are finished.

So, the idea was, do you know how many fast break points they got in the second half? Zero. Oregon. One of the quickest teams in the country.

So, you got to give the players a heck of a lot credit -- you don't stop fast breaks by just the crowd making noise, which was fantastic, but you have to get your bodies in position, you have to get your bodies shutting off the driving lines, things like that, and covering three-point shooters. That was the big difference and to be able to handle that smack in the face in the first half and come back and deliver one of our own says a lot about this group.

At halftime last thing I said before we went out was, who is the best defensive player in the room? Guys were looking at me. I'm the best defensive player in the room. I got a technical. They made their 14th straight free throw or 13th and then they missed the second one. I'm the only guy that got them to miss (laughter).

I think some of the guys looked at me like, did he just say that? Because I can read groups pretty well and teams. After I said a few things maybe in a little hyper state of mind, I can see that they were -- I just said that to loosen them up. I did. Maybe it worked. Maybe it was part of it.

Q. What happened in that sequence toward the end of the first half?

COACH BO RYAN: I'm not exactly sure. I looked around at my assistants. I was trying to clap to get my guys ready to go. Sometimes -- I kept asking what was it for, but I never got an answer. They don't have to give you one. It's over. I was probably getting a little too rambunctious on the side line. I probably wasn't behaving. So, we had to pay. But they only made one of two (laughter).

Q. After the game you had a couple of hugs with Josh Gasser and Ben Brust. How special was this comeback?

COACH BO RYAN: You know, Josh is playing in front of a lot of his friends, family, acquaintances, alumni. He was pretty excited and rightfully so, because he really doesn't show a lot of emotion. So, I could tell that he was pretty pumped and the rest of the team was, too. You have to be in their shoes to know that feeling, and, you know, I know I was feeling it. I was pretty pumped up, too. I think I actually acknowledged the crowd once and I -- my wife always tells me don't do that stuff that those other guys do, salty with his (indicating). Salty looked good doing that. Didn't get a chance to do it today. Anyhow, our guys were really pumped. That's a lot of emotion for our guys to show. It is.

Q. Why did Frank, was he able to get so many good looks tonight, and did you see something there that you could capitalize on?

COACH BO RYAN: Some of the things that they had shown proclivity for on their defensive man sometimes with the man guarding the 5, we felt we could get some looks. He can knock down the outside shot a little bit better than that. What did he hit, one, one for five? I'm hoping in our next 40 minutes it's a little bit better percentage than that.

Frank's looks were because the 5 man was maybe helping on some other things, but that's something you'd have to ask their coach, what was their game plan. I don't know. We just try the make sure we're finding the open guy, and Frank was open quite a bit.

Q. Coach, you guys go on a 59-11 run on Thursday and 17-6. Can you maybe explain what's gone gotten into your guys with their backs against the wall here this weekend?

COACH BO RYAN: We've had explosions in other parts of the season, too. We've had some dry spells. So, again, that's what so unforgiving about this time of the year. If you don't have some of those, you're going home. I mean, if you don't stay offensively in the race, you can be playing defense -- we were playing hard defensively. It just wasn't good enough for their offense in the first half. Their offense was better than our defense. Fortunately, we turned that around in the second half.

Q. How big was Traevon's three-point play to start the second half? And then just how much did the crowd kind of give you that extra jolt that maybe you would not have gotten in a normally NCAA Tournament atmosphere if you were on a neutral court?

COACH BO RYAN: Three-point play to start a game definitely gives a lot of energy. How about a teammate saying probably the play of the game was Duje taking that charge, and without a doubt if you saw our bench, if you looked at our bench when that happened, you looked at our guys, that was the play of the game.

Trae's three to start the half was obviously huge and you say about the crowd. You know, our road record that Patrick keeps tabs on, us being in hostile environments has been pretty decent, and for Oregon to be able to be in a hostile environment, that was a tough task. So, obviously I think the energy helped us to get us over the hump.

BadgerNation.com Recommended Stories


Up Next


Tweets