Balance scoring was a big key in helping Wisconsin to its 59-53 victory over Florida, registering back-to-back nonconference wins over BCS teams for the first time since 2009. Sam Dekker led the way with 16 points, Traevon Jackson had 13 points and Ben Brust added 11 points. Even though the Badgers started 2-for-9 from the field, Wisconsin scratched out a respectable 43.8 shooting percentage (21-for-48). The Gators did a good job of taking the post away, which forced the Badgers into take perimeter shots. Wisconsin only had 20 points on the low block and finished the game 9-for-20 (45 percent) from three.
With Florida being a better team defensively then St. Johns, it was key the Badgers did a good job of giving themselves second- chance opportunities. Wisconsin was able to pull down eight offensive rebounds and convert them into eight points.
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan once again can't be happy with the amount of turnovers the Badgers had with 14 miscues. Jackson coughed it up five times. At times Jackson struggled with the press or made the careless play. Jackson struggled with turnovers a year ago, and will need to be a point of emphasis going forward.
Not only did the Badgers struggled early to slow down the Gators' attack, it seemed like Florida couldn't miss when they attacked the hoop and found open looks around the perimeter.
One of the players who helped Florida get off to a hot start was Michael Frazier II, who scored 13 of the Gators' first 22 points. Fortunately Wisconsin was able to find a way to slow him down, as Frazier II finished the game with 20 points and Florida finished the game going 19-for-47 (40.4 percent) from the field.
Wisconsin forced the Gators in to 11 turnovers, showing active hands and pressuring the basketball throughout the night. Wisconsin forced five turnovers off Casey Prather and a pair off Kasey Hill, as UW frustrated the young freshman point guard into a 2-for-11 shooting night.
Kaminsky struggled in the season opener but played better on the defensive end. He had two steals, two blocked shots and did a great job of boxing out to limit offensive rebounds. Florida ended the game with six offensive rebounds, which translated to only four points.
Wisconsin is still going to have to become more disciplined on the defensive side of the floor. The Badgers committed 17 personal fouls. Josh Gasser fouled out and Nigel Hayes had four fouls. Lucky for Wisconsin, the Gators struggled to make their free throws - only knocking down 10-for-17 (58.8 percent) from the charity stripe. Some of the fouls committed were carless and not needed by the Badgers.
The Badgers got off to a slow start, falling behind 16-4, which likely made many fans have flash backs to last year's game. Unlike last year, the Badgers were able to find a way to respond with a sustained run that ultimately was the deciding factor.
Dekker was key in starting the run when he hit back-to-back three's to cut the Gators lead to six. After Dekker's mini-run, you could tell the momentum was slowly changing.
The Badgers have asked a lot of Hayes through two games this season. When Kaminsky went out midway through the first half with two fouls, Hayes stepped in and played well. Hayes drew the assignment of keeping Patric Young in check and did well despite the size and strength differences. Hayes had eight points off the bench on 4-for-7 shooting. You could tell Hayes is still working on his mid-range game but looked comfortable when he got the basketball down low.
Even though Hayes played well he still needs to learn to be disciplined on defense. Hayes fouled Will Yeguete with 12 seconds to go in the first half. Hayes reached when he Yeguete didn't have any type of shot and had Yeguete in a good position where his only option was to pass the basketball. I don't know if he thought he could poke the ball loose but in that situation he should have just let the clock run out and go into halftime with Wisconsin up five. Instead with Hayes fouling it allowed the Gators to cut the lead to three at half.
An area of concern was if Wisconsin could win the rebounding battle against Florida. The Badgers ended up edging the Gators by three (31 to 28).
Game MVP: Ben Brust. Brust may have struggled shooting the basketball (4-10 from the floor) but did the little things to help Wisconsin get the win. He had nine rebounds, eight of which were defensive rebounds, three assists to one turnover, and one steal. With Gasser being in foul trouble and Jackson having trouble taking care of the basketball it was good to see Brust step up his game.