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Frank Kaminsky's record night leads Badgers past North Dakota

Kaminsky set Wisconsin's single-game scoring record while the Badgers set forth their best offensive performance in nearly two decades.

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

MADISON -- Frank Kaminsky was easily the biggest guy on the floor Tuesday night at the Kohl Center. With at least three inches on the tallest North Dakota player, it maybe figured the redshirt junior would have a nice night.

He did a little more than that. School records are meant to be broken, after all.

Kaminsky poured in 43 points in a 103-85 win over UND, topping the previous UW best of 42, a mark set by Ken Barnes in 1965 and matched by Michael Finley in 1995.

The 103 points also mark the first time Wisconsin topped the century mark since scoring 105 against Eastern Illinois Dec. 28, 1995.

As most do on record-setting nights, Kaminsky started hot and stayed that way. He cruised past his previous career-best mark in the first half. He hit six of his first seven shots (including four threes) and racked up 21 points in the first 12:50 of the game.

"When the first couple shots went in, I kind of said, ‘I’m feeling it,’" said Kaminsky, who finished 16-of-19 from the floor and 6-of-6 from three-point range.

The No. 12 Badgers (4-0) needed it, too.

Wisconsin looked flat coming out of the gate and had to withstand a furious scoring run by UND senior guard Troy Huff late in the first half before riding Kaminsky’s dominance to a relatively comfortable second half.

Once the scoring started midway through the first half, it was clear this was not going to look like a normal Wisconsin box score. The two teams combined for 100 first-half points, and after Kaminsky carried UW through a sluggish first 10 minutes, Huff kept his team within reach by putting on a show of his own. The Badgers used a 17-4 run just past the midway point of the half to take a 42-28 lead, but the Brookfield, Wis., native poured in 10 of his 26 first-half points (11-of-15 FG, 4-of-5 3-pt.) over the final 2:47 to keep UND within reach.

Huff finished with a career-high 36 points (15-of-22 FG, 4-of-6 3 pt.) in 28 minutes.

After Kaminsky’s career night, the rest of the results for the Badgers were decidedly mixed.

On the positive side of the ledger, Wisconsin shot 54.5 percent from the floor (36-of-66) as a team and continued its tremendous early-season three-point shooting, converting on 12 of 20.

"There might have been three bad shots that I wouldn’t want us to take again," Ryan said.

On the negative side, the Badgers never looked crisp on their defensive rotations and, even taking Huff’s tremendous night out of the equation, gave up far too many quality looks to North Dakota. UND also pulled down 10 offensive boards and equaled Wisconsin in rebounding overall at 31 despite being outmatched physically.

"There were a couple of screening situations that exposed lack of experience," Ryan said. "They’re not quite there yet."

The Badgers finished with four scorers in double figures. Sophomore forward Sam Dekker finished second on the team with 19 points (8-of-12 FG, 1-of-2 3pt.) and four assists, redshirt sophomore guard Traevon Jackson scored 14 (4-of-9 FG, 1-of-2 3pt.) and eight assists against just one turnover.

Wisconsin finished with 19 assists and just nine turnovers.

As Kaminsky closed in on the record late in the second half, it appeared everybody in the building knew. Everybody, apparently, except Ryan. "I had no idea until the players on the bench pleaded to give him one more possession," he said. Kaminsky was subbed out at the 4:37 mark, one point shy of the record, and checked back in a minute later. He was subbed out again at 2:03 without a basket before being re-inserted one last time at 1:27.

"If the team didn’t get him the ball, that was it," Ryan said. "They got him the ball."

Kaminsky caught it on the right wing, shot-faked and drove to the middle before stopping and finishing field goal No. 16 with his left hand. The building erupted into chants of ‘Frank the Tank.’

"I did jump Frank for [having] no assists in the locker room," Ryan said. "I said, ‘Three rebounds, no assists, Frank? Come on.’"

Like he did most of the night, Kaminsky had the last laugh.

"I said sorry, but I didn’t mean it," he said with a smile.

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