It took the Wisconsin offense three minutes to get going, falling victim to sloppy play, miscommunication and a pair of turnovers by Traevon Jackson on the second and third possession intended for an unaware Frank Kaminsky.
But the Badgers eventually got things and put together an impressive first half - shooting the basketball going 16-for-25 from the floor (64 percent). The Badgers in the first half were able to strike a balance down low scoring 10 points in the paint and went 9-for-13 from three. The Badgers finished the ball game going 31-for-61 (50.8 percent) from the floor.
Ben Brust was key in getting the Badgers to an early lead by scoring 16 of his 18 points in the first half. Kaminsky was second with 16 points while Sam Dekker and Jackson each had 12 points for the game.
Despite three early turnovers, Wisconsin finished the game only coughing it up eight times. The Panthers have forced their opponents into making mistakes this year but the Badgers did a very good job of making crisp, smart passes and were able to handle the pressure from the Panthers well.
Wisconsin did take some shots too early into the shot clock. The way the offense was playing tonight it would have been nice if they had let the offense set instead of hoisting an early three.
The key coming into tonight was slowing down Matt Tiby on offense. Although UW made him work for his 11 points (3-for-10 shooting), Kyle Klem caused some matchup problems and finished with17 points. Kelm was able to take advantage of Nigel Hayes down low, and the Panthers finished the game with 18 points in the paint.
Besides keeping Tiby in check on offense, Wisconsin was able to frustrate him and forced him into six turnovers. Tiby would often expose the ball in the low post or wasn't strong with it, which allowed Kaminsky and Hayes to poke the ball out. Both finished with two steals and Wisconsin finished the game with 12 steals. Overall the Badgers defense forced the Panthers into 19 turnovers, which led to 28 points off Panthers mistakes.
Hayes will have a chance to be a solid defender by the time his career at Wisconsin is done but he still needs to learn how to play aggressive defense without fouling. Hayes still struggles to move his feet efficiently. When he doesn't, he'll reach and that's when he picks up the foul. Hayes finished the game with two fouls.
Kelm and Tiby were the only Panthers to score in double figures. Wisconsin was able to hold Milwaukee to 42.6 percent shooting from the floor and did a great job of limiting second-chance opportunities. Milwaukee only had four offensive rebounds and was able to cash its second chances into only two points.
This was an overall balanced win for Wisconsin to complete the sweep of instate opponents. Wisconsin was able to get production off its bench with Bronson Koenig leading the way with six points.
Wisconsin did a good job of boxing out and attacking the glass to win the rebounding battle 35-26. Dekker led the team in rebounding for the second game, finishing with eight, and has become a much solid rebounder this year, averaging 6.1 rebounds a game.
Even with Dekker taking awhile to get going on offense, he still finished with a solid all-around stat line. In 25 minutes Dekker finished the game with 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and only two turnovers.
If it weren't for Jackson, Brust, and Josh Gasser ahead of him, Bronson Koenig would most likely be seeing more time on the court. Koenig played 16 minutes and was pretty impressive while he was on the floor. He continues to display very good court vision. Late in the second half he was driving the ball up the floor and Wisconsin was on a 3-on-1. Koenig could have drawn a foul but instead he was able to dish a pass off to Zach Bohannon for an easy lay-up.
The other play was in the second half, Koenig was able to beat his defender off the dribble after giving a pump fake. Once he had his defender beat, all he had to do was drive to the basket for an easy two. If Koenig continues to play like he has so far this season, his confidence will only continue to grow going into Big Ten play.
Game MVP: Frank Kaminsky. Kaminsky was able to do a little bit of everything in the Badgers win and finish with 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting, four rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Kaminsky was able to get himself open down low, which led to success in the paint for him. Even though he didn't have a dominant rebound performance, he still did his job of boxing out and allowed his teammates to rebound the basketball and get the ball up the floor.