Badgers bounce back in double-digit win over Nebraska

first_imgLast season the Wisconsin men’s basketball team lost three straight games in the month of January and after a loss to Rutgers last Sunday, UW was bound and determined to not let it happen again this season.Led by senior forward Frank Kaminsky, who returned from a one-game absence due to a concussion, the Badgers (16-2, 4-1 Big Ten) were able to knock off the likes of Terran Petteway and Nebraska (10-7, 2-3 Big Ten) for a 70-55 victory in front of 17,279 at the Kohl Center Thursday night, avoiding a two-game losing streak.Kaminsky scored a team-high 22 points on 7 of 11 shooting including 4-for-5 from three. He was one of five Badgers in double figures on the night along with Nigel Hayes (13), Sam Dekker (11), Bronson Koenig (11) and Duje Dukan (10).“It was good to have him back on the court,” Dekker said of Kaminsky. “He obviously opens up the court for everybody both on the offensive and defensive end of the court.”Despite the plethora of scoring from Kaminsky and the rest of the Badgers, Nebraska hung around in the first half and into the second half before UW finally pulled away.Walter Pitchford cut the Wisconsin lead to 40-36 with 16:46 left in the second half but Wisconsin went on a 22-4 run to put the game out of reach from Nebraska at 62-40. Twelve of UW’s 22 points in that stretch came via the three-ball with Dukan, Dekker, Koenig and Kaminsky all knocking down shots from beyond the arc.The Badgers were 11 of 21 (52.4 percent) from three on the night, going 21 of 43 (48.8 percent) overall. Wisconsin’s ability to stretch the Nebraska defense allowed them to not only knock down shots, but made things more open in the lane.“The way [Wisconsin] made three pointers was really the difference,” Nebraska head coach Tim Miles said. “When five different guys combine for 11 threes and Frank [Kaminsky] goes 4-for-5 and hadn’t made one in three or four games; it was hard.”Koenig made just his second career start Thursday night in his new role as the starting point guard as he fills in for the injured Traevon Jackson. He played 37 minutes – including every minute of the first half – scoring 11 points on 4 of 5 (3-for-4 three-point) shooting with four rebounds and an assist.“[Koenig] played well,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. “We know he has the ability. His teammates know and they trust him and he’s been on the floor in a lot of big situations in his two years here.”“Bronson passed the test in his first home start,” Dekker said of Koenig. “He did a great job tonight running the offense. He was very poised and just very relaxed out there.”While he knew he would have an increased role with Jackson out, even Koenig was surprised with his playing time Thursday night, sitting out just three minutes in the second half. Most of that time on the bench came with Wisconsin holding a large lead over the Cornhuskers in the final minutes of the second half.“I expected to play more than my average [minutes] but not quite 37 [minutes],” Koenig said. “But it felt good to have some freedom out there and I thought we did a good job of just running our offense.”While Koenig was running the show for the Badgers, Petteway was putting on a show of his own for Nebraska in the first half. The preseason All-Big Ten selection scored 20 of Nebraska’s 27 first half points including the final ten Cornhusker points of the half.The majority of the first half went back-and-forth but the Badgers gained a 34-27 halftime lead after three straight three-pointers to end the half from Kaminsky and Koenig.In the second half Wisconsin was able to slow Petteway and the rest of the Cornhusker offense as he managed just seven points on 3 of 7 shooting. No other Nebraska player scored in double figures Thursday night.“His shots just weren’t going down the same way,” Ryan said of Petteway’s second half performance. “He hit some tough shots in the first half.”Thursday’s victory over Nebraska was a pivotal one for Wisconsin as they are now in a tie with Maryland for first place in the Big Ten at 4-1. A double-digit win over a quality conference opponent was just what the Badgers needed to get back on the winning track.“Obviously beating a team like Nebraska the way we did is pretty positive and it’ll give us some confidence going forward,” Kaminsky said. “And Bronson stepped up and played really well and ran the offense really well so we’re excited about the opportunity we have in front of us.”Wisconsin returns to the court for the next time on Tuesday, Jan. 20 for another home game against the Iowa Hawkeyes. Tip is scheduled for 8 p.m. from the Kohl Center.last_img

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