Game Day Grades: Nebraska

LINCOLN, NE - Chalk up another victim for No.11 Wisconsin's suffering defense. Host Nebraska got nothing going after the first three minutes, as the Badgers got production from the perimeter, its defense and junior Ryan Evans in a 64-40 victory over the Cornhuskers. Badger Nation hands out the grades.

Offense: B+

Ryan Evans had his best game as a Badger, scoring a career-high 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting. He also came out firing by making his first six shots on the night and was perfect from the floor in the first half.

Taylor was the second leading scorer for the Badgers with 15 points. He went 5-of-12 shooting from the floor, but his assist to turnover ratio was impressive, finishing with five assists to only one turnover.

With the Badgers having a season high 13 turnovers against Mississippi Valley State, the Badgers were able to cut that number down to seven, a number most Badger fans are accustomed to seeing in the box score. Five of the seven Badgers turnovers came off of steals by the Cornhuskers.

Wisconsin didn't get to the free throw line a lot tonight (only five times) but they made all five of its free throws. The Badgers also shot a great 51.1 percentage in the game (24 of 47). The Badgers were able to shoot such a good percentage because they were able to run their offense - working the ball around the perimeter, attempt high percentage shots and hit some big shots at the end of the shot clock.

Defense: A-

The Wisconsin defense was able to hold its ninth opponent on the year to less then 45 points. Regardless of how good the competition has been so far this year, it's still an impressive stat.

Bo Spencer, who came in averaging 16 points a game for the Cornhuskers, was held in check to only five points. The Badgers defense, primarily guard Josh Gasser, really focused in on him and made sure he did not get a shot off that he was comfortable with. Spencer didn't have any points in the first half.

Although they held Spencer in check, they struggled to contain Toney McCray in the first half. McCray had 14 points in the first half. Thanks to some savvy halftime adjustments, the Badgers held McCray to only two points in the second half.

With the Badgers' tightfisted defense, the Cornhuskers only shot 15 of 49 (30.6 percent) from the floor. Overall it was a team effort by the defense to contain the Cornhuskers to such poor shooting.

Six of the nine turnovers forced by the Badgers were off of steals. Taylor led the way with three steals. The Badgers were able to get a couple of steals by bad passes from the Cornhuskers and were able to cut off the passing lanes. Wisconsin ended up getting 21 points off of the Cornhuskers' nine turnovers, four of which came from Spencer.

Overall: A-

In the two schools first matchup in 13 years, Wisconsin showed it was clearly the better team. Even though the Badgers only had two starters in double figures, Evans' career day combined with its defense was more than enough.

The Badgers got 13 points from their bench with nine of the points came from sophomore Ben Brust. Evan Anderson and Traevon Jackson each had two points. We now know that Coach Bo Ryan will use three players off of his bench on a consistent basis. Frank Kaminsky and Rob Wilson come off the bench along with Brust, but Brust has been the only consistent scorer for the Badgers off the bench. Wilson or Kaminsky will need to step up and chip in a couple of points.

Ryan didn't have to do a lot of subbing in the second half with his team in a rhythm with Taylor, Brust, Gasser, Mike Bruesewitz and Evans on the floor. There was no reason for Ryan to sub the Badgers out of a run and allow those five to put the game away.

That production was key with Berggren in foul trouble. He only had one foul in the first half but picked up two fouls within the first 21 seconds of the second half. Berggren, who has been good so far at staying out of foul trouble so far this year, needs to be more careful, as UW can't lose him to foul trouble with a lack of experience behind him.

Game MVP: Ryan Evans. After making only two three-pointers entering the game, Evans went 2-for-3 against Nebraska, a big reason he was able to register 22 points. Besides scoring, Evans was able to pull down six rebounds on the night, had two assists, one steal and, most importantly, he did not turn the ball over.

Evans is playing with so much confidence so far this year, especially on the road. Outside of Berggren, Evans has been very consistent for the Badgers this year on both sides of the floor.


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