‘Polar Bear’ enjoys feasting on Hawks

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoAll season long, Wisconsin forward Joe Krabbenhoft has been the Badgers’ garbage man. Doing much of the dirty work in the trenches, the second-year man has become the team’s third-leading rebounder, despite averaging just 20 minutes per game coming off the bench. “He’s always an X-factor whenever we play,” forward Alando Tucker said. “He’s coming up with key rebounds and key plays. And that’s one of the things that has helped us be so successful this year — is Joe Krabbenhoft and his play.”Krabbenhoft was back at it again Saturday, torching Iowa on the offensive glass to the tune of five offensive rebounds (a team-high eight total) and scoring eight points, all of which were second-chance opportunities. “I thought Krabbenhoft was the X-factor,” Iowa head coach Steve Alford said. “You know [Kammron] Taylor and Tucker are going to be consistent for them. We couldn’t allow that third guy, … and we let Krabbenhoft, for their bench, do too much damage to us.”What made the sophomore’s contributions even more impressive was his ability to shake off a couple of early missed layups and a turnover and bounce back with a strong game.”Joe — he takes everything personally,” Tucker said. “When he misses a layup or makes a bad play, I know he’s the type of player that he takes that to heart and it shows.”Krabbenhoft rebounded from the missed opportunities, nicely and also dished out a team-high three assists against the Hawkeyes.”When he misses layups or opportunities like that, I know he’s going to fight to get it back, and that’s one of the things that makes him such a special player,” Tucker added.Butch comes aliveWhen Iowa and Wisconsin last met, Badger forward Brian Butch had one of his best games of the season, pulling down a career-high 14 rebounds and scoring 13 points for a double-double. Butch relived the experience, again excelling against the Hawkeyes to the tune of 15 points and seven boards.”I thought Butch had another good game against us; for whatever reason, he likes playing against us,” Alford said. The impressive performance comes on the heels of some disappointing games for Butch. After tearing apart the Hawkeyes in Iowa City on Jan. 28, Butch had managed to only score 10 points and tear down 17 rebounds combined in UW’s next three games.”Well it was about time I actually did something to help this team,” Butch said. “There’s been a couple games in the past where I haven’t played real well, and it was just kind of time.”Butch said he just found his rhythm in the second half, scoring 10 points — including a pair of three-pointers — on 4-of-5 shooting in the first 10 minutes to help UW pull away and break open a very tight contest.”Some of it comes down to matchups, and some of it comes down to just actually getting a feel and getting into kind of a rhythm of the game,” Butch said. “Once I feel like I’m in a rhythm, it feels like it comes a lot easier.”Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan expressed that Butch’s mentality toward scoring has been key in the Badgers’ success this season. “Brian doesn’t feel because he was such-and-such a player coming out of high school that he has to get 20 points every night,” Ryan said. “That’s why he plays on teams that are on the left-hand side.”Rock, paper, scissorsWhile the game had been over for 45 minutes when Butch, Taylor and Tucker made their way to the Kohl Center media room for their post-game press conference, all the competitions had yet to be played out. Midway into the interview session, Butch and Taylor were asked a long-winded question about UW’s second-half run. Neither player jumped to answer, eventually prompting Butch to challenge Taylor to a game of rock, paper, scissors to decide who had to answer.It was a heated contest that went into overtime, as the two combatants both threw scissors on the first go round, before Butch eventually prevailed: scissors over paper.”Gotcha,” Butch said.last_img read more

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