BY MIKE LUCAS
UWBadgers.com Senior Writer
MADISON, Wis. — Trusting his instincts and gap control on defense, Wisconsin senior guard Zak Showalter had a confident "feeling" during an early run and throughoutWednesday night's 78-44 dismantling of turnover prone, undersized Idaho State at the Kohl Center.
The Badgers scored the first 10 points and jumped out to a 21-3 lead dispelling any notion that this might be a trap game since it was sandwiched between last week's matchups against a couple of Final Four teams from last season (Syracuse and Oklahoma) and Saturday's rivalry battle at Marquette.
Idaho State's Ethan Telfair, the younger brother of Sebastian Telfair, a Coney Island playground legend and NBA journeyman, has been a scoring machine averaging a little over 20 points the last two seasons for the Bengals. That included seven games of 30 or more points with a high of 37 against North Dakota.
But the younger Telfair, who looked smaller than his listed 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, never got on track against the Badgers and Showalter, the principle defender. Going 1-of-9 from the field, Telfair finished with just two points. Moreover, he attempted only one free throw. He shot 236 last season.
"I just tried to not let him get comfortable — and I stayed in his space the whole time," said Showalter. "When he was coming off a lot of ball screens, I just made sure I stayed attached to him and kept a hand up on his shot all the time. I tried to force him to take tough shots."
The 6-3, 195-pound Showalter also tried to be physical with Telfair without crossing the line and fouling too much. He picked up only two personals. "I definitely had the size advantage," he said, "so I think that played into my favor. I tried to make it as difficult for him as I could."
UW coach Greg Gard was pleased with the way Showalter plugged driving gaps.
"We've been working on it a lot in practice," Showalter said. "If my guys is playing off the ball, I want to just kind of be more of a help defender for my teammates and not just worry about Telfair as much and hopefully give some support to other guys. I think that I was able to do that tonight."
In the process, Showalter came up with a career-high four steals. Was he aware of that?
"I had a feeling and I was thinking I can get more than that sometime hopefully," said Showalter, who had six steals through the first nine games and 36 in 35 games last season. "I felt every time they put the ball on the floor that I had a chance to get it."
Some Kohl Center carry-outs from Wednesday night:
- Koenig made the first two shots of the game but ended up playing only seven minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. In the second half, he made 5-of-6 shots, 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and ended up with 21 points, the fifth time in 10 games that he has scored 20 or more.
- After entering the game, Trice passed up an open look from the right wing to get a better shot for Brown who turned down a 3-pointer at the top of the key, dribbled inside the arc and drilled a jumper from the elbow. Per usual, Trice did make his first shot, a triple, on a Khalil Iverson assist.
- Near the end of the half, Iverson went up and over Idaho State's Geno Luzcando and flushed on a Trice lob. Iverson had a couple of dunks, four rebounds, three steals and two assists. Brown had the most emphatic "punch" of the night on a dribble drive to the rim in the second half.
Photo: Wisconsin Badgers
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