The Shooting Touch

His shot had evaded him for the last three games but with senior point guard Jordan Taylor struggling, Ben Brust found his rhythm at the right time. The sophomore hit all seven of his 3-pointers, tying his school record, to help lead No.14 Wisconsin to a 62-51 victory over UNLV Saturday.

MADISON - As his shots failed to drop with any consistency over the last three games, sophomore guard Ben Brust didn't lose the confidence or the faith he generated from his 21-point, 7-of-10 3-point shooting performance against BYU in the finals of the Chicago Invitational Challenge.

His performance Saturday afternoon will likely have the same kind of lasting impact.

No.14 Wisconsin didn't shoot an impressive percentage, but crashed the boards with a stout aggressiveness and got a career-high 25 points from Brust to register an impressive 62-51 wire-to-wire victory over UNLV.

"The past three games, a lot of them felt good, just weren't going in," said Brust, who hit all seven of his 3-pointers to bump his percentage to 49.2 percent on the season. "You've got to have shooters amnesia and just let it go, keep firing and shoot out of it."

Despite entering the game third on the team in scoring (11.8 points), Brust had made only 9 of his last 20 shots from the field, including 3 of his last 13 from 3-point range, but looked the furthest from a slumping shooter in the second half.

After leading the team with 10 points at halftime, Brust caught fire in the second half by hitting all five of his shots, all 3-pointers, to never let Wisconsin's second-half lead dip below eight.

"I think he (Brust) does that in his sleep," said UW coach Bo Ryan as he made a shooting motion. "Ben was moving away from the ball and finding soft spots. He's real good at that. He moves better away from the ball than anybody we have and a result, he gets wide open looks."

Sleep or awake, the shots were vital on an afternoon where UW needed to do nearly all of its damage without much help from All-American senior Jordan Taylor, who finished with four points on 0-of-10 shooting and appeared to moving gingerly in the second half after taking a couple falls in transition.

As a result, Brust kept firing with accuracy and his teammate kept feeding the hot hand. Six of Brust's seven 3-pointers resulted in an assist and a majority of them came well beyond the 3-point line where UNLV's help defense was slow getting a hand into the shooting lane.

Taylor assisted on two of them and finished with six assists, moving him into third place on UW's career assists list.

"I just went out there and played," said Brust. "My teammates found me and I knocked them down."

The M.O. of UNLV (9-2) during its hot start was its ability to shoot the basketball effectively. In four games, the Runnin' Rebels made double-digit 3-pointers, including a season-high 13 against then-No. 1 North Carolina, scored 90 points twice and were 13th in the country averaging 83 points per game.

Against Wisconsin, UNLV ended up outshooting UW (39.1-to-37.0 percent), but made only five three-pointers, turned the ball over 15 times and lost another game when a player made at least seven 3-pointers (Wichita State's Joe Ragland, 31 points on 8-of-9 3-pointers).

"That was one of the keys to this game – to make sure that we got to shooters," said UNLV coach Dave Rice. "Even though they were 10 for 26, we cannot allow one guy to take over the game the way Brust did."

Out rebounded for three straight games, Wisconsin crashed the boards with effectiveness against one of the better rebounding teams in the nation. Wisconsin shot just 12-of-33 (36.4 percent) in the first half, but had a 13-point lead at halftime by out rebounding UNLV 9-0 on the offensive glass, leading to a 9-0 edge in second chance points.

"We took it personally and felt we needed to get back to controlling the glass, because that results in wins," said junior Mike Bruesewitz, who grabbed seven of his career-high 10 rebounds in the first half and had a team-high four offensive rebounds. "Teams that win the battle of the boards usually win. Offensively, we had guys going to glass and the ball bounced our way a little bit today."

Along with Gasser's six first-half rebounds, the duo open an 18-15 game by combining to score seven points and grab three rebounds during a 13-0 run, and allowed UW to get 13 more shot attempts to compensate for another streaking shooting first half.

Junior Ryan Evans finished with seven point and a career-high nine rebounds while Gasser finished with six points and eight rebounds, as Wisconsin finished with a 34-32 edge in rebounds and a 10-5 edge in offensive rebounds against an UNLV team that entered the day out-rebounding its opponents by an average of 40.0-33.4 and averaging 13.3 offensive rebounds.

"I definitely like the effort," said Ryan, who became the third fastest coach in Big Ten history to reach 250 wins. "The fact that they did not have an offensive rebound in the first half, I thought our guys did a real good job of getting bodies on people because they are pretty athletic and a pretty good rebounding team to the most part."

UNLV entered the game with a rebounding machine in sophomore Mike Moser, who averaged 15.8 points and averaged 12.5 rebounds through the team's first 10 games. At halftime, Moser has no points and four rebounds and didn't fare much better after halftime, finishing with 11 rebounds and a season-low four points.

"They're really physical, they do a good job scouting," said Rice, noting Moser is player with a hurt wrist. "He's a little bit of a marked man just because he's had success."

The Runnin' Rebels were led by senior Chace Stanback's 16 points, nine points fewer that he scored in UNLV's 68-65 victory in Las Vegas last November. The 51 points was a season-low for UNLV, which seems to be a reoccurring theme when any team plays Wisconsin.

Through 10 games, Wisconsin has held nine opponents to that team's lowest scoring output of the season and has held 14 consecutive opponents to 65 point or fewer, the nation's longest active streak.

"They are doing some things where they are at least making it tough for the other team to get comfortable," said Ryan. "That's the main thing."

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