MADISON - For the third straight season, forward Keaton Nankivil led all scorers in Wisconsin's annual Red-White scrimmage.
This time, the senior's 22-point effort on 10-of-15 shooting was good enough to guide his White team to a 65-51 win over his Red counterparts.
"I don't know if they have an MVP trophy," Nankivil, who also ripped down eight boards, said. "It's just a scrimmage. Not that it's something to look over, but when we get into the season it's always a different story."
But for one day, Nankivil and the rest of his teammates put on a good show for the crowd. In addition to Nankivil's 22-point effort, his senior teammate Brett Valentyn chipped in 18 points.
The Verona (WI) native started the game a perfect 6-for-6 from the field and 4-for-4 from distance. The sharpshooter didn't miss a shot until late in the contest when the game was well in hand.
"Brett ran to a spot and Jordan Taylor did a great job of finding him," UW head coach Bo Ryan said. "So when you have your own team scrimmaging one another it's good for the White and bad for the Red. That was the difference when Brett got that hot.
"That made the difference in the score and put the white in a position to walk away with the win."
Taylor, also on the White squad, finished with nine points, 10 assists and three rebounds. It was the type of performance Badger fans became accustomed to over the course of the season a year ago.
He will be a staple in Ryan's starting line up. The other guard positions, with guys such as Wquinton Smith, Rob Wilson and Josh Gasser, seem to be taking shape.
"The question marks are always still going to boil down to having to replace the two guards that played so many minutes," Ryan said of replacing Trevon Hughes and Jason Bohannon. "Jordan Taylor, obviously, has put himself in a position to do a lot of that. Wquinton Smith, Josh Gasser, as far as being able to handle the ball, those guys are ready to give us some minutes I think.
"It's just now how it's all going to play out."
Rob Wilson is another guard that seems to be a viable option at the two-guard spot. He finished the game with seven points, two rebounds, and an assist. According to Ryan, Wilson needs to stay aggressive.
"He needs to be more assertive," Ryan said. "He took a couple of shots where if he would have pump-faked he could have been shooting free throws. He'll know that after we talk to him."
In regards to the Red squad, Jon Leuer paced the squad with 15 points on 4-of-14 shooting. It was far from the type of performance the coaches and fans have come to expect but so early in the season that's the type of performance that happens.
"I think he was trying to do too many things when they got behind," Ryan said of Leuer, who also committed six turnovers. "Sometimes that will happen. Players will try to push a little bit and sometimes that leads to really good things happening or you struggle.
"I think he went 4-for-14. I don't think Jon is going to shoot like that very often."
Ryan Evans also chipped in 12 points, five rebounds and an assist on 40 percent shooting from the field. In total, the Red offense only hit 35 percent of its shots throughout the contest in comparison to the White's 54 percent clip.
Every player received a good chunk of playing time. The only players that didn't participate were J.P. Gavinski and Dan Fahey as they continue to rehab their injuries.
-Every player that played scored except for J.D. Wise, who didn't attempt a shot.
-Valentyn hit five three-pointers throughout the course of his 18-point outburst.
-The quartet of freshmen (Josh Gasser, Ben Brust, Duje Dukan and Evan Anderson) scored a combined 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Anderson, 3-for-4 from the field, scored six points and also collected two rebounds before fouling out.
-Mike Bruesewitz only scored four points, but he ripped down 11 rebounds during the scrimmage. He also had two steals, two assists and a block. The only negative part of Bruesewitz's day was his four turnovers.
"He keeps balls active," Ryan said. "He keeps his guy from getting rebounds. He's a dirt guy. He's a guy that gets a lot of mixing action started. He'll create some stuff around the glass and he's pretty good defensively with his feet."
Play of the game:
Following a missed lay up from Jordan Taylor, Nankivil rose up for the rebound, collected the missed shot and finished with a thunderous slam. Having been fouled on the play, Nankivil then converted the free throw for the three-point play.
The following are post-scrimmage audio files from Ryan and Nankivil.