- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 16, 2002

Wisconsin put St. John's out of its season-long misery.

The eighth-seeded Badgers executed better than their ragtag opponents from the Big Apple, using only the fundamentals.

Safe passes, good shot selection, solid free throw shooting, basic boxouts, and sound man-to-man defense all led to a workmanlike 80-70 victory over the ninth-seeded seed Red Storm in the first round of the NCAA East Region last night before a sellout crowd at MCI Center.

Wisconsin (19-12) will play the winner of last night's late game between Maryland and Siena tomorrow in the second round.

The Badgers placed five scorers in double figures, led by guard Kirk Penney's 19 points. Guard Freddie Owens scored 18 points off the bench. Wisconsin made nine of 15 3-pointers (60 percent).

"We did the little things better," first-year coach Bo Ryan said.

St. John's, out of the Big East conference, received a credible performance from junior guard Marcus Hatton, who led all scorers with 28 points on 12 of 33 shooting. Hatton was just three of 13 from behind the 3-point arc.

"We weren't getting our hands up on him he shoots it well," Owens said of Hatton.

The Badgers efficiently closed out the half on with a 12-3 run in the final 4:37. Wisconsin forward Charlie Wills nailed a 3-pointer and sank two free throws during the run.

The Red Storm decided not to execute in the final few minutes before the break. Unforced turnovers and bad shots ruined St. John's final few possessions. St. John's was leading 28-26 with 5:36 left when Wills sank his 3-pointer from the top of the key to ignite the Badgers' run.

Anthony Glover, St. John's undersized post, made a 3-pointer from the right corner with four-tenths of a second left on the game clock to keep the Red Storm's halftime deficit under double figures at 38-31.

Hatton scored nine of the Red Storm's first 12 points. Just when it looked like Hatton, a JUCO transfer from Tallahassee CC, was the only St. John's player who could score, Glover decided to join in. Glover had seven of his eight first-half points in the final eight minutes.

A 6-foot-1 scorer, Hatton did most of his first-half damage on Wisconsin point guard Travon Davis. Davis is listed as 5-10 but appears to be closer to 5-8. Hatton shot over Davis, posted him up and blew past him on drives to the basket en route to 15 first-half points.

It's not like the Badgers didn't know Hatton was coming to town. Hatton, a Baltimore native, entered this game averaging 19.9 points and was named first-team All-Big East this season. The Red Storm's junior guard was not some closely guarded secret.

"We did what we needed to do," Penney said.


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