The first half was a struggle again for the Badgers. Jared Berggren was almost non-existent offensively and defensively, scoring only three points (1-for-5) and grabbing one rebound. The Badgers shot an ugly 10-for-27 (37 percent), but were only down one at halftime because it outscored Virginia by six from the 3-point line. The Badgers finished shooting 21-for-55 (38.2 percent) from the field and 8-for-22 (36.4 percent) from 3-point range.
Wisconsin had two players in double figures. Ben Brust led the scoring with 15 points and four rebounds. Jared Berggren scored 12 points, shooting 50 percent from the field on eight shots. Sam Dekker was in foul trouble the whole game and only hit one of his two attempts in 21 minutes.
Bruesewitz used the baby hook to his advantage in the low post and scored six points. Ryan Evans worked hard to get good looks at the basket, but he couldn't finish a lot on those opportunities. Evans scored eight points and had six rebounds but only made 30 percent from the field. For the season, Evans is shooting only 39 percent, worst on the team among players who have started at least two games.
It took Wisconsin almost 35 minutes to get there, but Sam Dekker hit the Badgers first two free-throw attempts on his lone drive to the basket. Wisconsin shot 80% from the line, but again, they didn't get there much because they were too busy swinging the ball around the perimeter looking for an outside shot. One thing the Badgers did well was not turn the ball over, giving the ball away five times to the young Virginia squad.
Wisconsin had a chance to bring the game within one with 32 seconds left, but poor clock management spoiled its last chance. The Badgers took 27 seconds to get a shot off but by then it was too late.
The defense was shaky at best. The Badgers got rubbed off quite a few of Virginia's screens, leading to open jumpers for junior Joe Harris and sophomore forward Darion Atkins. Wisconsin didn't do a good job of boxing out defenders either, which gave Virginia a bevy of second and third chances at shots. The Badgers hung around because they forced 5 turnovers in the first half.
Wisconsin had trouble stopping Harris, who finished 6-for-9 in the first half and scored 13 of Virginia's 24 points. He finished with 22 points, as the 6-6 guard showed why he is a tough guy to defend by making shots with a hand in his face.
The Cavaliers shot 45.7 percent (21-for-46) from the field but the big difference was from the free-throw line. Virginia shot 14-for-17 in the game compared to Wisconsin's 4-for-5. The reason Virginia got to the line often was because the Badgers didn't stop penetration well, leading to a handful of easy layups and dunk opportunities.
The Badgers were outrebounded 18 to 11 in the first half and those problems permeated the second half, getting outrebounded 36-25. Wisconsin did force Virginia turn the ball over 10 times.
After being held to a season-low 23 points in the first half, Wisconsin finished with 54 points and was in the game until the final buzzer. Unfortunately, staying close isn't going to cut it as the season progresses. The Badgers looked pretty good on both ends of the floor at times, but they weren't boxing out defenders on the defensive glass, which was a big problem.
Back-to-back threes by Dekker and Brust woke up the crowd and gave Wisconsin a 36-31 advantage with 13 minutes left in the game. Just when it looked like Wisconsin would go on a long run, Virginia's defense tightened up. Both teams swapped baskets during the last seven minutes, but Wisconsin didn't stop penetration enough and gave up easy dunks and layups.
The ball just wasn't bouncing the Badgers' way - getting their hands on a lot of loose balls but couldn't quite corral them. The Badgers were down four with 33 seconds left but weren't able to get a shot off.
Traevon Jackson played 32 minutes and looked pretty good on offense, but failed to finish on a few drives to the basket when he had a relatively open lane. Even after Berggren's bad first half he made some big 3-pointers, but he wasn't much of a force in the post.
Game MVP: Ben Brust. Brust kept Wisconsin in the game with his outside shooting, but he was also fighting through screens and pulling down strong rebounds. Brust scored 15 points on 6 of 16 shooting - 3-for-9 from beyond the arc - and hauled in four rebounds. Brust seemed to be the only player that looked like he wanted to shoot when he was open. Brust and Jackson played 63 minutes combined, because Bo Ryan didn't seem to be very happy with George Marshall's defense.