State Basketball Roundup: Wisconsin travels to Florida for an early season showdownWisconsin Sports
-- The Wisconsin men will play at 10th-ranked Florida tonight – but the Gators could be without three key players.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The University of Wisconsin men will play at 10th-ranked Florida tonight – but the Gators could be without three key players.
Forward Erik Murphy has missed practice this week with flu-like symptoms that include headaches and nausea. He scored 15 points last Sunday, when Florida crushed Alabama State 84-35. Coach Billy Donovan says he’d like to get Murphy ready for tonight – but he’s got a lot to catch up on. Also, the Gators are without starting point guard Scottie Wilbekin due to an undisclosed suspension. And back-up forward Casey Prather is out, after suffering a pair of concussions in the last two weeks. In addition, Florida was rocked by the sudden departure of forward Cody Larson last month. Donovan says when you add it up, the Gators are facing their biggest early season challenges since 2001 – when three stars were lost to serious injuries. But the 22nd-ranked Badgers still expect a major fight from the Gators. Guard Traevon Jackson says his team will do fine if it plays smart, and takes advantage of its opportunities. Like Florida, Wisconsin is 1-0. The Badgers crushed Southeastern Louisiana 87-47 last Sunday, in a game marked by the return of senior forward Mike Bruesewitz from a severe leg cut that required surgery. Also tonight, the UW-Milwaukee women will host Western Michigan.
The Marquette men’s basketball team survived a scare from Southeastern Louisiana last night, before rallying late to beat the Lions at home, 64-53. The Louisiana team lost by 40 to the Wisconsin Badgers last Sunday – but the Lions were within two points of Marquette with six minutes to play. Center Davante Gardner made two inside shots to put the Eagles up by six with 3:16 left. Marquette then ramped up its defensive pressure the rest of the way. Gardner led the Eagles with 18 points and six rebounds, and Chris Otule added 10 from the post. Coach Buzz Williams said he’s never had a Marquette team that scored 28 points from the center position. And that’s fortunate for the Eagles, because they have a problem shooting from the outside. Marquette only shot 33-percent in the first half last night, and they hit 22-of-52 for the game for 42-percent. Southeastern Louisiana stayed in the game despite its own poor shooting. They only shot 35-percent from the floor, and were out-rebounded 39-30. Jeffrey Ricard scored 11 for the Lions, who fell to 0-2. Marquette’s next game is on Monday in Hawaii, when they’ll play Butler in the Maui Invitational.