By DREW OLSON
Here is a transcript of the press conference that followed Wisconsin's 73-49 victory over Montana Thursday afternoon in Albuquerque.
THE MODERATOR: Coach Ryan, an opening statement, please.
COACH RYAN: First of all, I'd like to congratulate the University of Montana for an unbelievable season. Those numbers that these guys put up were pretty good. We knew how good a team they were, and they should be extremely proud of their season.
I'm really proud of our guys. I thought we did some things really well. Couple areas we're going to need to shore up, but I like the overall effort, and looking forward to playing again.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student‑athletes.
Q. Jordan, you've played a lot of games here, obviously. Is this as close to a perfect game as you've had?
JORDAN TAYLOR: I guess, I don't know. It was a good game. We're just happy to have the win. It was a great team win. Everybody added something, whether it was Mike or Ben off the bench, knocking down shots. Jared getting blocks, playing great defense. So it was just a great team win. Like Coach said, we're happy to be able to play again.
Q. Jordan, what was the key in moving the ball and getting open shots against their defense?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Just that. Just moving bodies and then moving the ball. We got stagnant at times, but we kept bringing in fresh guys, like I said. If Mike and Ben or Rob or Ryan whoever it was, if they weren't making shots they were moving themselves and kind of opening up gaps for guys to make plays and stuff like that. A perfect example, I think, is the one where I fell down, and Mike just kind of kept moving in behind the defense and I just kind of threw it to him, and he did a good job of opening himself up.
Q. Jared, what is the key if you're playing a smaller guy and he penetrates down the lane blocking that shot without fouling him?
JARED BERGGREN: Just trying to do a good job of protecting the basket. There were a lot of situations where I ended up picking up the ball handler, normally a smaller guard attacking the rim. Probably could have done a better job taking away the lane lines. I let him get to the rim a little too easy sometimes, but I was lucky enough to get a finger tip on a few of them to alter the shot.
But it's pretty much just trying to play big, wait on it, wait till they leave their feet, don't jump too soon. There are a few times I tried to pump fake, and just stayed on them. I forced them into a travel one time which some of the coaches were saying to look for, so just trying to protect the basket.
Q. Ryan, can you talk a little about your first half? It seemed like everything you threw up was going in.
RYAN EVANS: Yeah, I wanted to come out and play aggressive and loose. Not with the idea that I was going to have five turnovers, but kind of help relieve pressure from Jordan and the rest of them. My teammates kind of backed me up when I did have those turnovers. I know Rob took a charge and probably kept me in the game a little bit longer.
Q. Jordan, this hot start that Ryan got off to, did that help the team's confidence as a whole?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Yeah, any time you have a guy like that just kind of start off like that, it definitely gets you going as a team, but it also opens up a lot of other guys, it frees up. Now they're thinking about Ryan. He started 4 for 4 or 5 for 5, whatever it was. Now they're thinking about him even more so than they were coming in. It just opens things up.
We've been saying all year that we've got a lot of guys who can put it in the hole, and Ryan's been great all year.
Q. Jordan, it's been said that you've been kind of taking a back seat this season. Kind of dishing a lot more. Tonight it seemed that you were a lot more aggressive. Is that the new Jordan Taylor we're going to see in the tournament?
JORDAN TAYLOR: I'm just coming out trying to do anything I can to help my team win. I felt like I got some open looks there especially in the first half. It's the same for me as it is for everybody else. If you get an open look, you've just got to step in and knock it down. Just be aggressive and play confident.
Q. Rob, was this just an extension today of what you've been doing lately? Also, you're real tight with Bruesewitz, was it good to see him hit a three‑pointer for the first time in quite a long time?
ROB WILSON: It's great to see him knock it down, because he can shoot the ball. For any shooter when you're not seeing the ball go in, it can be frustrating. To see him knock down that shot and see the smile on his face was pretty cool.
Q. Rob, and for your performance today, it looks like that was just an extension of what you've been doing recently.
ROB WILSON: I owe it to my teammates. The guys are penetrating and finding me. I'm just knocking down the shots. They're screening for me and I'm getting open. I owe it to my teammates for finding me consistently.
Q. Jordan, having faced Will Cherry now, how does he compare to a Big Ten guard?
JORDAN TAYLOR: He's a really good player. I think everybody knew that. Everybody in the Big Sky, and anybody who has played against him definitely knows that. He's quick defensively, and offensively he can make things happen. I know he struggled a little bit today from the field, but that's happened to everybody.
It was definitely fun playing against him. I like playing against a good guard. It's a challenge. I'm just happy that we were able to get the win.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Ryan.
Q. Can you talk about the keys to stopping Will Cherry today and what you were able to do defensively against him?
COACH RYAN: Well, we break down a lot of film like everybody else, and we look at tendencies, and we look at space that players need. Some players only need a little sliver and they can get to the rim. Some guys use more counters. The tough part about preparing for him was he can quickly get to the rim off of a shot fake or a catch and a penetrate, plus he has counters in his game where he can start out driving with his right, spin back to his left. He can come off of screens and catch and shoot threes. So he's a complete player.
We just made sure that we tried to run him off the three‑point line and tried to get some help to him and squeeze the court. Make the driving line smaller.
Q. You said you had a couple things to shore up, but I would think overall you have to be thrilled with the complete effort today pretty much smart to finish with what you saw from your guys?
COACH RYAN: Well, it's in the left‑hand column, so you're always happy with those. But there's more out there, and in order to get more, you have to play better. So we'll try to improve a couple things and make sure that we're trying to play to our max. I think in some areas today we were okay.
But going from good to great takes a lot, and we're going to try to step it up a little bit.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about Jordan Taylor and his leadership role with this team going forward?
COACH RYAN: Well, I know I certainly wouldn't want to trade him with the deadline today and all this other stuff that's been in the media. Like, who cares? With a college guard, he's not going anywhere. This is a college game. What he's done for us and his concentration on what he does for us, there are very few players in the country that have ever had four years of what he's done for a team, especially these last three.
You get six assists and no turnovers, you shoot a decent percentage, defensively you do a heck of a job. He's a player. That's why he's all Big Ten. Who knows what else is out there for him. But he doesn't worry about that stuff. But I know one thing, our guys believe in him and trust in him, and I like the fact that he's on our side.
Q. How much do you think Mike needed that three to fall in the second half, that first one?
COACH RYAN: I just told him he was due. People that have been around me long enough. I'm not going to say, Mike, come on. You're shot. You're terrible. I don't do that about shooting.
I just told him the other day at practice, "Hey, Mike, you're due." He laughed. I think it was a laugh. Yeah, it was a laugh. The fact that he went out there and knocked down a couple, that's good stuff.
Q. Jared focused more on what he didn't do in this game than the seven blocks he did have. What did you see in his defensive performance today?
COACH RYAN: He was okay. He didn't close out as quickly a couple times as we thought, which, when I break the tape down, I'll be able to be a little more point specific. I thought he moved his feet fairly well though considering how would you like to be that size with that size shoe and try to move your feet with a Cherry or a Steward or any of those other guys they had. So I thought he did a pretty good job, but he can do better.
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