It was an efficient game for the Badgers, who shot 58.8 percent from inside the arc and 50 percent from three, while averaging 1.375 points per possession.
Defensively, the Badgers did give up 72 points, as Nebraska guard Keisei Tominaga scored 17 points on 7/10 shooting, while Reink Mast poured in 16 of his own.
But, it didn’t matter, as Wisconsin was amazing offensively, leading to a comfortable victory.
Here are three quick takeaways from the Badgers 88-72 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Historic first half
The Wisconsin Badgers came out firing, scoring 51 points in the first half, which is the most during the Greg Gard era, and their highest output in the first 20 minutes since 1999.
Everything was working early, as the Badgers scored inside and outside in a high-scoring half.
Tyler Wahl was aggressive, scoring 10 points in the first half, while getting to the free-throw line six times. It was a similar outing for A.J. Storr, who had eight points, while taking four free throws.
But, Wisconsin also had seven threes in the first half, led by Connor Essegian, who poured in nine points off three three-pointers, while Chucky Hepburn had two of his own.
As usual, Wisconsin was able to see a high level of offensive success without turning over the basketball, as the team committed just three first-half turnovers.
Scoring 1.5 points per possession, it was arguably Wisconsin’s best half of basketball all season long.
This season, the Badgers have been inconsistent from three, shooting 32.4 percent from three, while A.J. Storr, Connor Essegian, and Chucky Hepburn came in shooting under 30 percent from distance, much lower than their 2022 marks.
But, on Saturday, the Badgers proved that they have the talent to shoot from distance well, finishing with 13 three-pointers at a 50 percent clip.
Connor Essegian had four of his own, nearly doubling his season total of six, while Chucky Hepburn hit three on the day as well.
But, it was even more impressive that eight different players hit from distance on the day, showcasing the team’s depth across the board.
If the Badgers can shoot a little more consistently from three, we can see how impactful their offense can truly be.
Connor Essegian came into this game having played just 21 seconds against Iowa on Tuesday.
That’s why it was intriguing to see head coach Greg Gard look to use Essegian off the bench early and the guard paid that choice off with a strong performance, scoring 12 points, which all came on threes.
More importantly, Essegian was a +14 in his 12 minutes of action, playing well enough defense to be kept on the court, which has been his main issue in the past.
Essegian’s shooting is his calling card, and he showcased that on Saturday, making a couple of tough shots with his quick release, adding to the Badgers’ shooting from deep.
Essegian could be the key to unlocking the Badgers' three-point inconsistencies, and his playing time will be something to monitor over the next few games.