Nov. 11, Kohl Center
Russ Pennell has long been an admirer of the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball program, mainly for its work on the defensive end of the court.
That appreciation only grew stronger Friday night for the Central Arkansas coach.
Senior point guard Bronson Koenig scored 16 points and senior forward Nigel Hayes added 14 points and five assists to help UW (1-0), which was upset by Western Illinois in its opener a year ago, get off on the right foot this season.
The Badgers never trailed and kept throwing fresh bodies at the Bears, eventually wearing them down. Ten Badgers played at least 12 minutes, with Koenig and Hayes topping out at 24 apiece.
“Teams that win championships usually have people that pick up slack when the better players have off games,” Pennell said. “That wasn’t needed tonight, but you saw a really good bench effort by the Badgers.”
Senior guard Derreck Brooks scored 12 points to lead Central Arkansas (0-1), which shot just 28.3 percent from the field.
The Badgers have spent a lot of time working on defense during the preseason, and it showed in the opener.
“I’ve done a lot of drills, pulled drills out from yesteryear and really have focused on that,” UW coach Greg Gard said, “because I knew we were going to have to be a really good defensive team.”