Ben Brust's hot streak from three-point land was amazing tonight. Whatever he put up, you knew the shot was going to fall. Brust performance was reminiscent of John Bryant in 2000 where he connected on four consecutive threes in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament against Fresno State. Brust finished the game making seven of his 10 threes. He definitely rebounded from his performance against Bradley where he couldn't get one of his shots to fall for him.
Jordan Taylor had a solid game. He had 18 points to go along with eight assists and five rebounds. Taylor, who had four turnovers last night against Bradley, had a much better game with the ball only turning the ball over once.
With Brust being hot from 3-point range, the rest of the Badgers followed suit. Wisconsin was able to connect on its first five threes of the game and ended up going 13-24 (54.2 percent) from the perimeter.
With the Badgers being so successful with the three-point shot, they became too reliant on the shot. It was a close game at the end of the first half and a little bit into the second half with Brigham Young taking away Wisconsin's ability to drive to the basket. With Wisconsin not being able to penetrate, they settled on threes and if they were able to get an offensive rebound, they would pass it to the open man, take another three and miss. It was frustrating to see them take a shot so early in the shot clock when it would have been nice to see them get the rebound, pass it and get there offense set to see if they could get a more high-percentage shot.
The Badgers defense had another solid game, only allowing the Cougars to shoot 43.1 percent from the floor. The defense wouldn't allow the Cougars offense to get many comfortable shots and forced the Cougars into 14 turnovers.
Another area where Wisconsin did well was limiting BYU to second chance opportunities. If the Cougars missed a shot, Wisconsin did a good job of making sure they got the defensive rebound, finishing with 19 of its 28 boards on the defensive glass. It was an all-around effort by the Badgers when it came to defensive rebounding. Taylor led the way with five defensive rebounds.
One area where the Badgers have succeeded so far has been blocked shots. UW blocked five BYU shots led by Jared Berggren's three.
One question coming in to tonight's game was how the Badgers would be able to handle the physical play of Brandon Davies. Using a combination effort of Berggren and Frank Kaminsky, the Badgers were able to hold Davies to nine points and forced him in to four turnovers.
The Cougars definitely gave Wisconsin its toughest test yet so far, but Wisconsin was able to respond when the game was close. It's good to see the Badgers respond like they did against a good BYU team, especially with a stiff test coming on the road Wednesday at Chapel Hill.
It's important to mention the play of freshman Frank Kaminsky. He only received seven minutes of action but he was productive with the minutes he received, particularly when he had to defend Davies. With Berggren in foul trouble, Kaminsky didn't allow the stronger Davies to push him around the block and was able to hold his own.
Rob Wilson would like to forget this game. He only received a minute of playing time against the Cougars. With his minute of playing time, he had two costly mistakes that landed him in the doghouse and on the bench with Bo Ryan. The first mistake was Wilson had a pass that was intended for Taylor that ended up in Davies' hands on a breakaway. Wilson tried to steal the ball away from Davies while he was in the act of dunking, resulting in a foul and a three-point play. Wilson is a senior and he can't have those mental lapses like he did tonight. If Wilson wants to play this year he's going to have to eliminate those stupid mistakes.
Game MVP: Ben Brust. Brust had another impressive night for the Badgers. It was a close game to begin the second half and Brust gave a much-needed spark to put the game away. Brust helped get an 11-0 run started when the game was tied at 42. For whatever reason, the Cougars kept letting Brust get wide open and he kept knocking down his shots.
Last year if the Badgers needed a spark either Taylor or Jon Leuer would provide it, so it was nice to see Brust step up and give the Badgers a spark off the bench.
With the next game being against top ranked North Carolina, it will be interesting to see how Brust plays and how the Tar Heels defend him. One thing for sure is he won't have as many open looks like he did tonight against the Cougars.