MADISON -- The last time the Wisconsin men's basketball team won its first 11 regular season games, most of the players on this year's roster were somewhere between diapers and kindergarten, and most of the freshmen had not been born. Nobody in the modern era before the 1993-94 team had done it in Madison prior, and no team had done it since.
Until Wednesday night.
The No. 4 Badgers (11-0) again got balanced scoring as senior guard Ben Brust (18 points on 7-of-13 shooting with 4-of-8 from three-point range) and junior center Frank Kaminsky (16 points, 6-of-11) paced four UW players in double-figures and used a dominant first-half stretch to top in-state rival UW-Milwaukee 78-52 at the Kohl Center.
"It's like in class," UW coach Bo Ryan said. "You do your assignments and then you get credit for them. If you do them well, you get stars on your paper or a pat on the back, but if you stop doing them well, everything starts going the other way.
"So far to this point, they've found a way to get a lot of things done."
Both teams started slowly, as the Badgers and Panthers combined to miss the game's first six shots. UW-M took a 7-4 lead on a Steve McWhorter jump shot at the 14:41 mark, but then the Badgers took over.
Kaminsky buried a three on Wisconsin's next possession, sparking a 28-6 run that spanned nearly 10 minutes. In the midst of that stretch, Brust accounted for 13 straight UW points and scored all of his 16 first-half points (6-of-6 overall, 4-of-4 three-point).
"He can change the whole complexion of a game real quick," said sophomore forward Sam Dekker, who finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
After starting the game 1-of-5 from the field and 0-of-3 from three-point range, UW went 15-of-20 and 9-of-10, respectively, en route to 45 first-half points and a 20-point cushion at the break.
"You can't spot the No. 4-ranked team in the country 20 points and think you're really going to have a chance to cut into the lead," Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter said. "The way they were shooting the ball in the first half was impressive."
When Wisconsin fell off the prodigious shooting pace a bit in the second half, it found other ways to score. Jackson, Dekker and freshman Bronson Koenig regularly used the dribble to get in the lane and either finish or draw an extra defender.
"Their dribbles are to the basket, they're downhill," Jeter said. "From where they catch the ball, it's usually one dribble that can get them to the front of the rim. The defense either has to step up or they get layups. When you step up, that allows for that one extra pass."
In the middle of Wisconsin's first-half scoring run, Jackson put that ability to get to the rim on display. He corralled the ball on the right wing, went left to his strong hand and finished a thunderous, one-handed dunk.
"He's always been telling us since the summer that he's going to get some dunks," said Dekker, adding that the fact that Wednesday is the point guard's birthday may have assisted in his leaping ability. "He got a free lane and I didn't really know if he was going go up, but once he got off that right foot I knew he was going to go do it.
"That was a sweet finish."
UW also forced Milwaukee into 11 first-half turnovers and finished the night with 28 points off 19 Panthers giveaways.
"Defensively we did a good job getting our hands on some passes," Ryan said. "We knew we were in for a battle inside and I thought our guys did a pretty good job getting deflections and turning them into points."
Eventually finishing 31-of-61 from the field, the Badgers topped 50 percent from the floor for the fifth time this season.
"We're 11 games into it, but we have a lot of work to do," Ryan said.
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