The Wisconsin men's basketball team opens its 4-game tour in France with a win behind balanced scoring and rebounding

·3 min read
Tyler Wahl scored eight points and had eight rebounds in Wisconsin's first game in Paris on Wednesday.
Tyler Wahl scored eight points and had eight rebounds in Wisconsin's first game in Paris on Wednesday.

Wisconsin coach Greg Gard can experiment with lineup combinations during his team's four-game exhibition tour in France, which began Wednesday with an 81-66 victory over Paris All-Stars.

Returners Tyler Wahl, Steven Crowl and Chucky Hepburn started, along with Jordan Davis and Wofford transfer Max Klesmit.

Led by Crowl and Hepburn, that group helped UW build an early 15-2 lead.

Gard's second five-player unit featured UW-Green Bay transfer Kamari McGee, Isaac Lindsey, Carter Gilmore, Markus Ilver and Chris Hodges.

"It's exactly what we need," Gard said in a video posted on the program's Twitter account. "We need to play a lot of guys. We need to get tested.

"I thought the Paris team got really physical with us...which was good. It exposed some things that maybe our younger guys weren't accustomed to."

Crowl hit 5 of 7 field-goal attempts and finished with 13 points and five rebounds. Hepburn, who improved his three-point shooting as last season progressed, hit 4 of 7 three-pointers and finished with 12 points. Davis contributed eight points and, more important, eight rebounds. That total was tied for the team lead.

Wahl, who will be UW's most experienced player this season, finished with eight points and eight rebounds. Klesmit had two points, two rebounds and two assists.

Ilver, who played a total of 29 minutes last season, contributed 10 points and six rebounds in 16 minutes 29 seconds of play.

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Hodges, who redshirted last season, likely will have to play a key role in backing up Crowl this season. He played 22:25 and finished with six points and seven rebounds, including six offensive.

Lindsey, an outstanding shooter at Mineral Point High School, played a total of 13 minutes last season. He hit 3 of 5 three-pointers and finished with 10 points and six rebounds in 18:31.

Gilmore, expected to be in the regular rotation this season, posted six points, four assists and two rebounds.

Guard Jahcobi Neath, who is recovering from off-season knee surgery, was held out.

UW shot 44.4% from three-point range (12 of 27) but had 25 turnovers.

"Sloppy at times," Gard said. "But we're going to continue to use this trip to get guys experience.

"I'm really not consumed with what the score says. I'm more concerned with making sure guys get experience, specifically guys that are either new to the program or haven't played a lot in the past."

After losing Johnny Davis (8.2 rebounds per game), Brad Davison (4.0), Chris Vogt (3.1) and Ben Carlson (2.0), rebounding could be an issue for UW this season.

The Badgers may need to rebound by committee and that is what they did Wednesday as six players grabbed at least five rebounds.

UW's tour continues Friday in Lyon.

"I'll use different lineups," Gard said. "I'll start a different lineup in the next game and mix the second five around.

"Like I said, I just wanted to force myself to play a lot of guys, which hopefully over the long haul as we go into the season will help our growth."

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin men's basketball team opens France tour with a win