Trevon Hughes’ big week helped propel Wisconsin into the national spotlight. Now he’ll look to lead the team against a pair of in-state rivals.
The No. 20 Badgers visit Wisconsin-Green Bay for the first time since 2002 on Wednesday, trying to remain undefeated against the Phoenix.
Wisconsin (6-1) broke into the Top 25 this week after a 73-69 upset of then-No. 6 Duke in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge last Wednesday and a 79-46 victory over Grambling State on Saturday. The Badgers’ only loss was to a now-ranked Gonzaga team in the Maui Invitational last month.
“It’s important to have confidence and everybody believing in one another and we’re getting the open looks this year,” Hughes said. “I think this year we have a better team bond than we did last year.”
Hughes, averaging a team-high 16.7 points and 4.7 rebounds, was named Big Ten player of the week after scoring a career-high 26 against the Blue Devils and notching 20 points and a career-best seven rebounds Saturday.
“What I look at is the everyday part of what he does, not just when the spotlight shines, because that’s where you find out where your true leaders are,” coach Bo Ryan said. “This has been his best year. … He realized that … this is his time and he’s handled that well, along with Jason Bohannon.”
Bohannon is third on the team with 11.0 points per game.
The two seniors will look to help the Badgers secure some in-state bragging rights against Wisconsin-Green Bay and Marquette this week. They host the Golden Eagles on Saturday.
“Each possession is always a challenge and it’s always for the right to say this or the right to say that,” said Ryan, who has 199 victories in nine seasons with the Badgers. “If you play in-state people, they always tend to be better games from what I’ve seen. Not just in our state. They’re very competitive and a lot of interest. Good for basketball.”
Wisconsin is 15-0 against Green Bay (8-2), with eight wins under Ryan by an average of 16.4 points.
The Phoenix, though, are off to a hot start. They are looking to win their fifth straight and are coming off an 85-59 victory over Illinois-Chicago on Saturday.
Rahmon Fletcher scored 24 while Bryquis Perine added 16 points and eight assists for Green Bay, which shot 64 percent in the first half to take a 20-point lead.
It was the third consecutive win for the Phoenix by at least 20. They’ve given up an average of 56.3 points over those games while allowing opponents to shoot 36.4 percent.
Fletcher is leading Green Bay with 17.2 points and 3.4 assists per game. The junior was named Horizon League player of the week after averaging 26.5 points in a pair of wins.
Green Bay is off to its best start since 1995-96 when it also began 8-2 before finishing 25-4 and making its last NCAA tournament appearance.
The Phoenix are 3-27 all-time against ranked opponents. They defeated then-No. 11 Butler 75-66 last season.