Game Day Grades: UNLV

MADISON - No.14 Wisconsin struggled shooting the ball again, but got the benefit of one players catching fire at the right time. Behind sophomore Ben Brust's career-high 25 points, the Badgers avenge last season's loss to UNLV with a 62-51 victory Saturday. Badger Nation hands out the grades.

Offense: B-

It simply wasn't Jordan Taylor's day. After not having a turnover during the Green Bay game, Taylor ended up having three turnovers and had a shooting day he would like to forget. He was absolutely cold and could not make a field goal if his life dependent on it. He went 0-of-10 from the field but he ended up having four points by drawing fouls and getting to the line.

Lucky for Wisconsin, Ben Brust picked up the scoring for the offense. Brust made all of his attempted seven threes and simply could not miss, finishing with a game-high 25 points (the only UW player in double figures).

Rob Wilson had a nice take to the hoop in the first half and his defender challenged the shot a little bit, but not enough where he should have missed the lay up. If Wilson goes up stronger with his shot, he has an easy bucket. As a senior, he should know he can't go up soft because it'll either get blocked or he'll miss the shot, which he did. Wilson did not see the floor again when he was taken out of the game.

Jared Berggren got off to a really fast start in the first half picking up seven points and connecting on all of his shots. He also committed two fouls within 30 seconds of each other, which led him to the bench. With Berggren picking up his second foul Frank Kaminsky entered the game, but only lasted a couple of minutes before picking up his second foul in the game, resulting in Evan Anderson seeing his first first-half minutes of his career.

Ryan Evans came out attacking in the second half and was able to get to the rim twice and drew fouls both times. He ended up only making two of his four free throws, but scored seven points and did a lot of other things to fill up the UW stat sheet.

Wisconsin overall shot 20-of-54 (37 percent) from the field and had 12 assists to 10 turnovers. The shooting continues to be sluggish against good competition and should be the concern heading into conference play.

Defense: B

Move your feet, Kaminsky, they can be your friends and can be helpful to you on defense. If you move your feet you can alter your man's shot and make it more of a difficult shot for him. It was an easy foul call for the refs, especially when Kaminsky reached, and a play that will draw a foul call every time. Kaminsky is only a freshman but has to learn to move his feet. Coach Bo Ryan doesn't like to see any laziness on defense.

Besides that one instance on Kaminsky, the Badgers defense had no problem with moving their feet and was able to force UNLV into some shots they didn't want to take. Overall the Rebels shot from the floor 18-of-46 (39.1 percent) and turned the ball over 15 times against UW's tough defense.

After being hurt on the glass in the two losses last week, the Badgers made sure to limit any second chance opportunities, limiting the Rebels to only five offensive rebounds. Mike Bruesewitz continues to do the little things Wisconsin needs to win, finishing with a career-high 10 rebounds, including four on the offensive glass. Also a nod to Evans for his career-high nine rebounds, three assists and two steals, as he has really shown his versatility on the floor this season.

The Badgers defense harassed the Rebels offense not only into bad shots but also poor passes as well. Wisconsin helped force 15 turnovers and had eight steals.

Overall: B

Wisconsin has shot less than 40 percent in seven of the last eight halves, which is a little bit disconcerting, but UW took advantage of UNLV shooting a poor percentage and limiting the Runnin' Rebels to only six second-chance points. Wisconsin also was conscious of UNLV's perimeter game – UNLV had made at least 10 3-pointers in four games this season – and held the visitors to 5-of-12 shooting from the outside.

Mike Moser was held more than 11 points below his average, UW did a better job defensively against Chace Stanback than they did a year ago and held the Rebels bench to only 17 points.

The story does continue for Wisconsin, however, when they get to the free throw line. After shooting 81.8 percent last season, Wisconsin is shooting just 66.4 percent from the line this season, including a 12-of-18 shooting performance against UNLV.

Game MVP: Ben Brust. Brust had a terrific game going 8-of -9 from the floor and making all seven of his 3-pointers. Brust was the spark Wisconsin needed with Taylor struggling from the floor. Whenever it seemed the Rebels may get back into the game, Brust was usually there with an answer to knock down a shot.

It's safe to say if Brust is open and his shot is falling, he's going to take it and everybody in the stands will have no problem with him taking the shot. A couple of times the Rebels defense lost him and he was wide open to take his three, which is confusing on how you can let somebody that hot get wide open.

Brust had been struggling shooting the ball over his last three games (9-of-28), so hopefully a game like today can give him the confidence he needs to get back on track.


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