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Buffalo vs. Wisconsin: Badgers escape Bulls, 68-56

The Badgers survived an ugly performance in their final non-conference game of the season.

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin escaped the Kohl Center with a 68-56 victory over Buffalo in its final non-conference tune-up on Sunday night.

Buffalo, a team that led Kentucky by five at the break earlier in the year, had similar momentum going into half against the Badgers. The Bulls' fundamental play combined with poor Wisconsin shooting to give Buffalo a lead heading into halftime in Madison.

The Badger offense came out firing in the second half, with Frank Kaminsky scoring nine points in the first seven minutes to help Wisconsin gain a double-digit lead shortly after the first television timeout. Kaminsky, who was one of the few Badgers to produce in the first half, led the team with an efficient 25 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks.

Sam Dekker also came on in the second half, knocking down a trio of three-point attempts and scoring all 13 of his points in the frame. Dekker, like the rest of the Badgers, was forced to take lower-percentage shots on the perimeter all game long against a stingy Buffalo defense.

Kaminsky and Dekker were the only Badgers to record double-digit points. The Badgers made just six of their 20 three-point attempts on the game while yielding five more free throw attempts than they attempted; a rare occurrence for a Bo Ryan-coached team.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin's defense forced similarly tough looks on the other end. Buffalo shot 35 percent from the field, but had four players score over 10 points in a balanced offensive effort. Leading scorer Justin Moss paced the team with 14 points and 12 rebounds, including five on the offensive glass.

The tough win gives Wisconsin a 12-1 record heading into conference play.  The Badgers start the Big Ten slate against Penn State Wednesday at noon at the Kohl Center.