Nate Reuvers began his senior season in style and aims to deliver a second strong outing when No. 7 Wisconsin faces Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Friday night in Madison, Wis.
The 6-foot-11 Reuvers recorded 18 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots in Wednesday’s season-opening 77-67 victory over Eastern Illinois. He even made 2 of 3 3-point attempts during his 29 minutes on the court.
Badgers coach Greg Gard felt the opening performance was partially due to the work Reuvers put in during the offseason.
“I think his legs are bigger and stronger,” Gard said after the contest. “I thought he played at higher levels for longer stretches tonight than he has in the past, so that’s a good sign. That endurance in conditioning combined with the increased strength was the jump we wanted him to take, and he’s definitely made some strides in those areas.”
Reuvers averaged 13.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game last season.
While Wisconsin hopes his rebounding improves — Wednesday’s nine was more like it — nobody has complaints about Reuvers’ shot-blocking abilities.
The five in the opener raise his career rejections total to 149, third in school history behind former stars Frank Kaminsky (153, from 2011 to 2015) and Ethan Happ (154, 2015-19).
Reuvers will take aim at the mark against the Golden Lions, who were drubbed 99-57 by Marquette on Wednesday in their opener. It was a rough start for an Arkansas-Pine Bluff squad that went 4-26 last season.
Junior guard Shaun Doss Jr. scored a career-high 27 points in the setback against Marquette.
That was a pleasing development after Doss missed the final 27 games of last season due to an injury. He averaged 12.3 points in three games prior to taking the redshirt season and averaged 12.8 points as a sophomore in 2018-19.
Doss’ eighth career 20-point outing couldn’t help the Golden Lions remain competitive against Marquette. The Golden Lions were just 7 of 37 from the field (18.9 percent) in the first half and trailed 50-18 at the break.
“We got off to a slow start in the first half, but we ended up playing a better second half,” Golden Lions coach George Ivory said. “I was very pleased with the effort the young men gave. They never quit.”
Nobody else scored more than seven points for Pine Bluff, which shot 27.3 percent on their field-goal attempts in the game
Wisconsin shot 42.1 percent in its opener with freshman guard Ben Carlson (13) and senior point guard D’Mitrik Trice (11) joining Reuvers in double digits.
Carlson was 4-of-5 shooting in 17 minutes off the bench while Trice had five assists and three steals and didn’t commit a turnover in 29 minutes.
Senior guard Brad Davison had a quiet game with six points on 2-of-8 shooting.
Overall, nine Badgers scored during a performance that wasn’t overly impressive. That was just fine for Gard after the effects of the coronavirus in recent months.
“It’s good to get back playing,” Gard said. “I’m just happy that our guys have an opportunity to play and we embrace this opportunity with every game that comes.
“Obviously, with every first game, there are things that we have to work on.”
–Field Level Media