Game Day Grades: Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Wisconsin pounded the ball into the post, shut down Illinois perimeter game, made its free throws and got three players into double figures; a winning combination against Illinois Sunday. Badger Nation hands out the grades.

Offense: B+

Struggling to shoot the basketball as of late, Wisconsin was able to turn its shooting woes around by mainly getting opportunities in the paint. All the Badgers big's were able to find success around the hoop.

Overall Wisconsin went 21-for-49 (42.9 percent) from the floor. Ben Brust led all scorers with 20 points. Ryan Evans had 15 points and Frank Kaminsky had 19 off the bench.

Wisconsin did a good job of taking care of the basketball with only eight turnovers, not forcing passes and taking time within the offense. Brust had been struggling shooting the ball as of late shot, but shot the ball very effectively and could tell he was feeling confident with his shot. Brust went 7-11 from the floor.

After Wisconsin failed to make it to the free throw line against Ohio State, the Badgers found themselves frequent visitors at the charity stripe. Wisconsin went 28-for-42 in the game (66.7 percent), including Kaminsky going 12-for-14 from the line off the bench to help him score a career-high 19 points.

Defense: B

Wisconsin played well against Illinois and prevented them from getting any easy baskets in the game. Illinois went 28-for-64 (43.8 percent) from the floor. Joseph Bertrand led Illinois with 17 points. The defensive grade would have been higher if the Badgers didn't let Illinois get back into the game late in the second half. Bertrand was one of the main reasons because he was able to drive to the hoop and get his shot off.

Wisconsin's defense could have been more disciplined committing 16 team fouls, but Illinois was only able to make 10 of its 15 free throws. Wisconsin did do a good job of pressuring the ball and cutting off passing lanes to create three steals and nine turnovers.

Jared Berggren got into foul trouble early in the game and Kaminsky had to step in his place. With Berggren being out, Illinois did have success getting into the lanes. Nnanna Egwu in particular had success scoring 14 points on 7-for-14 shooting.

Wisconsin did a good job of boxing out the Illinois big's though. The Badgers were able to limit Illinois on the glass and out rebound the Illini 38-32.

Overall: B

Wisconsin picked up a good victory on the road. The Badgers were able to take control of the game late in the first half and didn't give Illinois much hope for the rest of the game.

With Berggren getting into foul trouble, the Badgers saw a confident Kaminsky step up with an efficient performance on the offensive and defensive end – scoring from inside and outside the arc, as well as the free throw line. Kaminsky added five rebounds, one assist, one steal and no turnovers.

Wisconsin easily could have won this game by double-digits but allowed Illinois to get back in the game. Wisconsin has to be able to put the final nail in the coffin when they have a team down. They can't leave teams with hope.

While he didn't have to make a big impact offensively with only four points, Sam Dekker was able to contribute in other ways with five rebounds and had two assists.

Game MVP: Frank Kaminsky. Brust could have received the MVP but Kaminsky came up big and played well once Berggren went out with foul trouble. Kaminsky had a season-high 19 points 3-7 shooting, but what was more impressive was he was able to get to the free throw line consistently. Going 12-14 for the game should be a good confidence booster for Kaminsky after he missed three games and struggled against Ohio State in his first game back.

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