ESPN Wisconsin

Brust confident during slump

By TOM LEA
tlea@espnwisconsin.com

MADISON – Since Ben Brust hit 3-of-4 shots from the perimeter at Purdue in mid-January the sophomore shooter has knocked just down 8-of-31 3-point shots. That 25.8 percent clip over the past nine games has Brust in what some would call a shooting slump.

Knowing how shooters tend to ebb and flow throughout the course of a season, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan isn’t necessarily worried about Brust’s downward-tilting numbers.

“For the most part they’re not bad shots,” Ryan said. “There are some other guys in the league and the country, struggling too. Shooting is a funny thing. But if you’re on the court and you’re open you’ve got to take them.

“He could get hot. It would be nice if he did.”

More recently, since shooting 3-of-6 in a win over Indiana six games ago, Brust has shot just 21 percent from the floor. That’s including his 2-of-4 shooting clip against Penn State from the perimeter.

“If they’re there you’ve got to take them,” Ryan said. “If they’re there, ‘Oh yeah, why don’t you make them?’ There are a lot of shooters. It’s the makers that are hard to find sometimes.”

Brust, one of the more eclectic and easy going players on the entire roster, doesn’t seemed to be too rattled by his recent struggles. He still fired multiple shots during UW’s practice and made his fair share. It’s clearly evident that his confidence hasn’t waned.

He knows his role as one of UW’s more explosive 3-point weapons and he intends on picking up his slack as the Badgers head down the stretch run of the season.

“I felt better last game,” Brust said. “I’m just going with that and trying to get ready for this one. Sometimes all it takes is one person to get it going and you kind of feed off it.”

NO REVENGE CARD

It was so surprising a week ago when Josh Gasser used the word ‘revenge’ while talking about his team’s upcoming game at Michigan State. He said he was hopeful that his team could go to East Lansing and get a ‘little revenge’ and maybe get out of there with a win.

That’s not something a Ryan coached team typically says, no matter if he meant it or not. When asked if there was any sort of revenge on his team’s mind following Tuesday’s practice, Ryan made that point loud and clear.

“Revenge is a word that I’ve never used,” Ryan said. “It’s a negative word. I don’t use it. If you’re worrying about that part of it you’re not worrying about what you need to take care of.”

SCOUTING RYAN EVANS

Junior forward Ryan Evans has scored at least 10 points in each of Wisconsin’s past six games. He’s emerging as a legitimate scoring threat for a UW offense that can use all the offensive weapons it can get.

Evans is averaging 13.7 points per game during that stretch, a number that has elevated his season total to 10.6 points per outing. He’s also making 42 percent of his shots and averaging 11.5 attempts per game.

“He’s taking the shots that are in his range,” Ryan said. “He’s taking better shots from that standpoint. He’s working on his defense and trying to become a better defender. There are still holes in his game that he’s got to improve on. The shots going down is one thing, but there is so much more to the game.

“He’s working on every phase.”
 

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