MADISON -- Somewhat lost in Frank Kaminsky’s record-setting performance and Wisconsin’s 103-point outburst Tuesday night was the number of otherwise-excellent offensive performances by the Badgers.
Normalize the numbers a bit, and the picture is becoming clearer by the night. The No. 12 Badgers (5-0) can hurt opponents in many ways. They beat Bowling Green, 88-64, Thursday at the Kohl Center by putting that variety on display.
Six UW players scored in double figures, led by senior guard Ben Brust’s 19 points (6-of-10 overall, 5-of-6 three-point). Among the eight-man rotation head coach Bo Ryan used for the first 58-plus minutes, seven played at least 15 minutes and six played at least 21.
"That’s an area where we know it’s a strength, at this point," head coach Bo Ryan said of his unit’s offensive balance through five games. "So far, that’s a strength."
The Badgers shot 54.9 percent (28-of-51) from the field and 60 percent (12-of-20) from three-point range. Four UW players connected on at least two threes.
"There are a lot of guys that have put work in and if they get an open shot they know they’re going to put it down," said Brust, who compiled a game-high point total despite going the first 15 minutes of action without a basket.
Considering the consistency across the score sheet, though, this was more or less a 13-minute beatdown wrapped around another 27 minutes of decent play. Wisconsin ended the first half on a 21-6 run that spanned the final 7:39.
UW connected on four of six three-point attempts over that span and forced Bowling Green into its only three turnovers of the first half. At the 7:39 mark, the Falcons were shooting 52.4 (11-of-21) percent from the floor, but managed to go just 3-of-10 down the stretch, as Wisconsin extended its lead from 23-22 to 44-28.
"They’re just a tough team to cover," Bowling Green coach Louis Orr said. "About the last eight minutes going into the first half, that was the difference in the game."
Then, UW scored 11 of the first 16 points to open the second half and take a 24-point lead at the 14:57 mark. The Badgers led by a game-high 25 points moments later, before cruising to the finish line.
"They spread you out, they hit threes, they play off the dribble, they post every position and you’ve got to worry about a 7-footer that hits threes," Orr said.
Behind Brust, Wisconsin’s double-figures scorers included Dekker and Kaminsky (14 points each), sophomore guard Traevon Jackson (13), junior guard Josh Gasser (11) and freshman guard Bronson Koenig (10).
Dekker (5-of-11 overall, 2-of-5 three-point) was the only Wisconsin player to attempt more than one shot and finish with a field goal percentage under 50 percent on the night. Koenig notched his first career double-figure scoring night with another solid performance, finishing 4-of-6 from the floor and chipping in two assists and two rebounds. The La Crosse native showed very good passing ability, particularly in traffic and appears to be making the transition to college basketball smoothly.
"Just look at his production, Ryan said. "He got exposed a couple times, but it’s not like other guys didn’t get exposed a here and there. He’s a player."
Gasser (3-of-5 overall, 5-of-5 free throws) finished with a sparkling line of 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and no turnovers in 29 minutes.
Through five games, UW’s offensive production is impressive. The team is shooting 49.8 percent from the floor and a red-hot 48.5 percent (49-of-101) from beyond the arc. With back-to-back scoring totals bordering on stratospheric compared to what Wisconsin fans have become accustomed to over the years, Ryan’s latest squad is averaging 81 points per game.
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