Game Day Grades: Kennesaw State

MADISON - Hitting 15 three-pointer, two shy of the program record, and allowing just eight first-half points, equaling the school's modern-era record for fewest points allowed in a half, No.15 Wisconsin had little trouble executing its offense in a 54-point victory. Badger Nation gives its grades.

Offense: A

Jared Berggren recorded the first points of the season for Wisconsin by nailing a three to tie the game up at three a piece. Overall the Badgers' offense looked crisp and fluid with the basketball. They were able to move the ball around the perimeter setting each other up for three's. The Badgers went 15-25 from the three-point arc during the game and shot 58.8 percent from the field.

Ben Brust again looked impressive against Kennesaw State. Brust was the first player off the bench and had 14 points, which is a career high in 23 minutes of work. Brust was all over the floor, being aggressive, driving to the basket and added three defensive rebounds and two steals. Brust - who will be the point guard when Jordan Taylor isn't on the floor - at one point in the first half grabbed a defensive rebound and started to push it up the floor. No Owls defender stopped the ball and Brust was able to drive the ball to the hoop for an easy two points. When Brust did play a year ago, he rarely ran the point so it's good to see the Badgers have a reliable back up point guard in Brust.

Ryan Evans recorded his first career and whether it was due to nerves or not, the junior didn't start the game out the way he probably would have liked. Evans recorded the game's first turnover when he tried to pass through the two defenders. Evans early turnover landed him on the bench. When he came back in the game, he seemed more composed and ready to contribute, finishing the game with 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting. Evans did a nice job of getting to the free throw line making 5-of-6 free throws and added four assists with six rebounds.

Josh Gasser tied Brust with a team high 14 point in the game. Gasser did not miss a shot the entire game - going 4-4 on three's and making both of his free throws. Not only was he perfect from the field but he also dished out four assists to one turnover.

In all, eight players made a 3-point, a result of the team playing unselfish basketball.

Defense: A

When your defense can hold an opponent to eight first half points, it's fair to question the opposing teams talent. Even so, it's still impressive. The Badgers defense was able to force the Owls into some uncomfortable shots throughout the game, but also were the benefactors of the Owls rushing their shots when there was plenty of time on the shot clock. They also took some shots where you would question their shot selection, a product of them trying to beat the Badgers before they could set their defense.

The Badgers were able to force the Owls in to 12 turnovers, seven of which came off of steals, and hold the Owls to 23.3 percent shooting from the field. One good thing the Badgers defense did was grab 31 defensive rebounds. With the Owls missing the shots, they made sure they didn't get a second chance to score.

Although the Owls shot 56.3 percent from the charity stripe, they were able to get to the line 16 times, 14 in the second half. In the future, the Badgers can't let their opponents get to the line that often in a game.

Overall: A

Clearly the Badgers were too much for the Owls; at one time the Badgers were up 58-10 in the second half. The Badgers didn't have to run many of their offensive sets, simply running some pick and rolls and working the ball around the perimeter.

Jordan Taylor ended up having 11 points with a 7-to-0 assist-to-turnover ratio in 28 minutes. With the game well in hand, it would have been nice to see Taylor play less than what he did. In games like these, there's no point in letting him play 28 minutes with the youth on the roster.

Two freshmen played for Wisconsin, as Traevon Jackson (three points) played 13 minutes and Frank Kaminsky (five points) received 10. Jackson had a solid game and he looks like he'll be able to contribute in some sort of fashion this year.

Kaminsky was able to hit a three and then able to get a tip in off of a Brust miss in the second half. Like Evans, Kaminsky let his nerves get the best of him when he first entered the game, missing his first shot and turning the ball over as well, but coach Bo Ryan showed confidence in Kaminsky by not yanking him right away. It'll be interesting to see if Jarrod Uthoff makes an appearance this season after the work Kaminsky did.

Game MVP: Ben Brust. Again Brust has shown his improvements against Kennesaw State since the end of last year. Recording a career-high 14 point against the Owls, Brust is playing with a confidence that he wasn't playing with a year ago. Every shot Brust took was a good-to-high percentage shot, never trying to force a shot on offense. If he continues to play with this type of confidence the rest of the year, it should only mean good things for the Badgers.

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