Shooting to Smile About

After hovering around and below 40 percent shooting the last six games, Wisconsin hits 11 three-pointers and gets four players in double figures, helping No.15 Wisconsin rebound with a 65-55 victory over Penn State Sunday.

MADISON - With all the accolades and attention senior point guard Jordan Taylor has received since the start of the season, role players like Josh Gasser have recognized the need to fill the void when the extra attention their leader gets causes his scoring to slip.

Call it a need to be assertive or timely, but members of No.15 Wisconsin simply do what they need to do to win – whether it looks pretty or not.

"Anytime you can have multiple weapons out there who can score it's going to help your team," said Gasser. "I think the games that we've played our best offensively are the games where it's been pretty spread out scoring. Anytime that can happen, it takes a lot of pressure off Jordan."

Gasser helped take the pressure off of Taylor by scoring 15 points, one of four Badgers in double figures, to help Wisconsin hold off struggling Penn State 65-55 on Sunday.

Jared Berggren added 13 points, and Ryan Evans and Taylor scored 11 each for the Badgers (20-7, 9-5 Big Ten), who have won eight of their last 10 games and maintained their grip on fourth place in a tight conference race.

"It's always nice when you see the ball go through the hoop," said Taylor, who went 4-for-12 from the floor but 3-for-6 from three-point range. "It's definitely important to get it going early to help us build our lead."

It's a victory that Wisconsin earned because it started shooting, and making, the three-point shot. The Badgers entered the day seventh in the league in three-point shooting (35.1 percent), but only shooting 32.9 percent at home, numbers that have caused Wisconsin to lose four home games for the first time in UW coach Bo Ryan's 11 seasons on the bench.

After missing its first two attempts, Wisconsin hit 7 of its next 12 in the first half, including one on five straight possessions, to build a 35-21 halftime lead. The biggest catalyst in that half was Gasser, who hit a 3-pointer on three straight possessions that put the Badgers on a 15-2 run, building a 27-13 lead after 13 minutes.

Wisconsin finished 11 of 22 from three-point range, its best percentage in over a month, and helped wash out the 5-for-24 shooting performance from Thursday's 14-point loss at No.7 Michigan State.

"When shots are falling, everything seems to be going a little bit better," said Gasser. "Within our offense, we just got e got out in transition a little bit, got a few easy looks and those are always nice. Anytime you can knock down a few, you are going to be a little bit aggressive going forward."

The Nittany Lions (12-16, 4-11) came in riding their first two-game win streak since Dec. 18-21 and appeared ready to break a 14 game winless streak in Madison when it used a 17-2 run in the second half to cut the lead to 51-46 with 5:48 remaining.

That's as close as it would get, as Berggren hit a pair of 3-pointers to help Wisconsin close on a 14-9 run.

"Those two threes (Berggren) hit were to me the difference because I thought we battled back and did some good things," Penn State coach Pat Chambers said, "but they were daggers."

Tim Frazier scored 20 points for the Nittany Lions to becoming the first Lions player to eclipse 500 points, 150 assists and 50 steals in the same year, but it wasn't enough for Penn State to avoid falling to 1-10 on the road overall and 0-8 on the road in conference.

"All that does is show what comes through with my coaches and teammates, the credibility and giving me the opportunity as far as assists go," said Frazier. "I give it all (credit) to my team. I don't take any individual credit for that at all."

Wisconsin survived a 32-8 disadvantage in points in the paint and turning the ball over 12 times by outrebounding Penn State 38-27 thanks in large part to Mike Bruesewitz's career-high 12 rebounds.

"Mike was into the game," said UW coach Bo Ryan. "Mike gave what he had. He's a spark plug that way."

As a result, Wisconsin reached the 20-win plateau for the sixth straight season and ninth time in coach Bo Ryan's 11 seasons. Prior to Ryan's arrival in 2001-02, the Badgers had a total of four 20-win seasons.


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