Perfect Badgers Still Pushing for More

Wisconsin put at least four players in double figures for the seventh time this season in a comfortable 78-52 victory over Milwaukee, but the Badgers and their perfect record are still pushing for more with three weeks until Big Ten play.

MADISON - Tying the best start in school history with the biggest margin of victory of the season, there's plenty of reasons to assume that No.4 Wisconsin delivered its most complete performance of the season Wednesday night.

Not so for a program that is aspiring for a lot more and is three weeks away from starting a brutal Big Ten conference season.

"There's no denying that we've had a good start being 11-0, but we still know it's going to get much, much harder moving forward," said senior Ben Brust, the catalyst for Wisconsin during the Badgers 78-52 victory over Milwaukee at the Kohl Center. "The Big Ten is just something different."

That's what has made navigating the early-season stretch so impressive for Wisconsin (11-0). Whether it's winning high-scoring affairs, low-scoring grinders, winning on a neutral site in Cancun or South Dakota, winning on the road or holding serve at home, the Badgers had found a way to build an impressive resume before the season resets Jan.2 at Northwestern.

"We have a lot of work to do and we have some stuff to shore up that we struggled with tonight," said Sam Dekker. "We can't let those struggles keep reoccurring because Big Ten time those will really stick out worse. The more we can correct and the more we can get down pat, the better we'll be."

Tying the 1993-94 Wisconsin team for the most consecutive wins to open the season in the modern era and sweeping the three game in-state series for the first time since 2010 wasn't in doubt for very long, especially after Brust started his hot shooting.

Wisconsin started auspiciously with three turnovers in the first 2:22 and was held scoreless in a flat start, but the Badgers turned on the shooting display from that point forward to finish 64 percent from the floor (16 of 25) and 69.2 percent (9 of 13) from 3-point range in the first half.

Brust, who quietly upped his scoring average to 12.0 points per game, scored 13 straight points for the Badgers over a 4:01 span to help build a 25-point first-half lead for the home team.

"Ben is one of those guys that can get hot real quick and change the whole complexion of the whole game because he's such a sharp shooter," said Dekker. "When he gets hot, you better watch out."

Brust finished the first half 6-for-6 from the floor and 4-for-4 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes, but finished 7-for-13 for the game.

"It would have been nice to keep that rhythm," said Brust. "Shot the ball well pretty early, and then it kind of died off for us in the second half. Felt good early on." Up 22-13 more than midway through the first half, the rest of the team followed Brust's lead. Wisconsin reeled off a 23-7 run that featured five 3-pointers by five Badgers to blow the game open, never letting the lead dip below 18.

Frank Kaminksy added 16 points, Traevon Jackson scored 12 while Dekker finished two rebounds shy of his third double-double in four games, scoring 12 points (5 of 8) while adding a career-high six assists.

"The closer we can get to 40 minutes of playing good basketball the better we're going to be," said Dekker. "I think tonight we got a little closer."

Milwaukee (9-3) entered the night tied with Harvard with six road/neutral wins, the most in the nation, but the Panthers committed six turnovers in their first 16 possessions and started 2 of 10 from the field. Kyle Kelm scored 17 points to lead Milwaukee, while Matt Tiby added 11, but the Panthers couldn't overcome 19 turnovers, tying a season high.

"We really tried to make everything happen in one pass, one play," said Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter, a former Wisconsin assistant. "As a result, we gave up 28 points off of 19 turnovers. That really sums up the game right there. We just didn't have the opportunities that we needed to to give yourself a chance against a Wisconsin team."

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan listed a lot of things the Badgers are still trying to get done: developing players, developing help and recovery, defensive reads, better cuts on offense and so on.

"We're 11 games in," said Ryan, "and we've got a lot of work to do."

At least the Badgers will go back to work Thursday building off another win on their resume.

"Whenever you can be 11-0, it's a great thing," said Dekker. "Obviously you don't want to be 0-11. That's just dumb to think."

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