Game Day Grades: Bowling Green

MADISON - Continuing to thrive offensively while tightening things on the defensive end of the floor, No.12 Wisconsin put six players in double figures with an 88-64 victory over Bowling Green at the Kohl Center Thursday. BadgerNation hands out the grades.

Offense: B+

UW's offense played strong again, shooting 54.9 percent from the floor and 60 percent from 3-point range.

Following his record-breaking 43-point performance, Frank Kaminsky was a steady contributor with 14 points and grabbed five rebounds, one of six Wisconsin players in double figures (a feat UW hasn't accomplished since December 1995).

Freshman Bronson Koenig made the most of his 27 minutes, scoring 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting. Koenig came in early because Traevon Jackson started the game slowly. Jackson did pick up his production, finishing with 13 points and six rebounds. Jackson and Ben Brust helped contribute to a 24-8 run near the end of the first half which gave UW a comfortable 44-28 lead at the half.

Brust continues to show he's one of the toughest guards in the Big Ten with hard drives to the basket and hustle rebounds. Brust led all scorers with 19 points, shot 60 percent from the field (5-for-6 on 3-pointers) and grabbed six rebounds.

Once the Badgers started hitting their 3-pointers, the Falcons did not have enough firepower to keep up. The Badgers hit seven in the first half and stayed hot in the second half to finish 12-for-20 for the game.

Free-throw shooting gave the Badgers the advantage in the second half. The Badgers vastly improved at the line after last season's debacle. UW used its advantage at the charity stripe, shooting 20-for-26 compared to Bowling Green's 7-for-15.

For the season, Wisconsin is shooting 49.8 percent from the floor, 48.5 percent from 3-point range and 74.1 percent from the free throw line.

Defense: B-

Without a big body on the interior, UW's post defense struggled again at times. Bowling Green also was able to push the tempo and get out on the fast-break early, but the Badgers slowed that down as the game progressed.

Early in the first half, the Badgers defense kept the Falcons in the game. The lead went back-and-forth with the Falcons getting out on the fast break frequently. Spencer Parker led the Falcons in scoring with 17 points and four rebounds. The hot start by the Falcons was because they shot 11-for-22, but cooled off hitting just three of their final 10 shots of the half. The UW defense held Bowling Green to 1-for-9 from beyond the arc.

The Badgers only forced six turnovers but did get in the passing lanes and forced the Falcons to take some difficult shots. Bowling Green finished the game shooting 44.4 percent (28-for-63).

UW outrebounded the Falcons 31-26, but gave up a lot of second chances (10 offensive rebounds, 10 points) and point in the paint (42). The Badgers did not have any blocks against the Falcons, who had a 6-10 center, Cameron Black, and a 6-7 forward in Parker.

The rebounding effort this season will have to continue to be a group effort because of the Badgers' lack of size. However if Josh Gasser, Jackson and Brust are consistently active on the glass, that may not be a major problem.

Overall: B+

Although the Badgers kept the Falcons in the game early by swapping baskets, they eventually pulled away, as the combination of sluggish defense and quick one-and-done possessions contributed to the tight start.

The 64 points the Badgers allowed was an improvement compared to the 85 they did against North Dakota, but there probably were still a few too many ease layups in the lane for Bo Ryan's liking.

The Badgers forced 10 turnovers but have not played as tight defensively as Ryan wants. That may be difficult without a true big man to clog up the paint. Nigel Hayes contributed a little on offense, and grabbed just two rebounds in 15 minutes. Kaminsky grabbed five rebounds and had two blocks. Kaminsky did have four fouls, but it did not affect UW defensively.

UW started to look a little complacent once they got up to a 20-point lead in the second half, letting the Falcons cut the lead to 67-53. That would be the closest they would get, though, as UW essentially closed the game out at the free-throw line.

Game MVP: Ben Brust. Brust again showed off the many skills he brings to the table. Brust was nearly perfect on 3-pointers and he also contributed on the boards. Brust has been playing similar to 2012 without Gasser, which is a good sign for UW. He finished with 19 points and seven rebounds in 31 minutes.

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