Low Post Power

After being an area of weakness a month ago, junior Frank Kaminsky and sophomore Sam Dekker are developing a solid low post tandem for No.16 Wisconsin, a combo that helped the Badgers to another big road victory in Iowa City.

IOWA CITY, Iowa - After completing a tough two game road stretch against a pair of 15th-ranked teams, there was one commonality in the pair of victories that put No.16 Wisconsin back in the title hunt: dominant performances by Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker.

It was fitting that when Wisconsin took the lead for good in its 79-74 victory at Iowa Saturday, it was Kaminsky who was able to slip to the hoop and get an easy lay up off of a ball screen.

"It was just a ball screen and the shot clock was getting down, I slipped to the rim and Josh (Gasser) found me and it was an easy bucket," Kaminsky said. "It's plays like that which win games."

Including Wisconsin's 13-point victory at Michigan last Sunday, both Kaminsky and Dekker were Wisconsin's two leading scorers, as Kaminsky lead the way with 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting with Dekker chipping in with 15 points and 11 rebounds, his fifth double-double on the season.

Kaminsky, who has had his up and downs this year scoring, is currently on a four game double-digit scoring streak scoring and reached the 20-point mark for the second straight game. Wisconsin also improved to 6-0 when Kaminsky leads the team in scoring.

"He's improving," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said of Kaminsky. "We like to get into our classroom in the gym and teach guys some things, show them film and work with them. They're the ones that do the work. They're the ones that process the information. Frank's one of the guys that is doing a heck of a job on his learning curve. He's really been sharp and attentive. He's too tough on himself sometimes, but now he understands a little better and that's what happens with maturity."

Although Kaminsky has seen important minutes during his first two seasons at Wisconsin, this is the first time where he has consistently seen significant action during Big Ten play, which may have played a role in his struggles against certain Big Ten opponents.

"Just a lot of things that come along with the season, with the experience of the Big Ten, it's the first time I've gone through the Big Ten playing more then 15 minutes a game," Kaminsky said. "It's been a little bit of a learning curve."

After scoring 12 of his 15 points in the first half, Dekker was limited in the second half offensively when Iowa switched to a 2-3 zone on defense, which took away driving lanes. But even with him struggling to find shots, Dekker was able to help out in other areas, primarily on the glass where he collected 11 rebounds. "It's always a pride when you get double figure rebounds something that you strive for, scoring inside is also an easy way to get buckets," Dekker said. "If you can do those things and do those things well, it's going to help the team, especially if I play more of an inside role and if I can get around the paint and be physical it will help the team."

Dekker wasn't alone in struggling against Iowa's 2-3 zone, as UW's entire offense struggled to replicate its 5-for-11 3-point shooting in the first half, going 3-for-13 in the final 20 minutes. Iowa's length on defense bothered Wisconsin as they struggled to bust Iowa out of its zone.

"We wanted to try and get the basketball in the middle and break it down," Dekker said. "They're so long and it was difficult to get it down there, and they did a good job of staying solid. Sometimes if your long and playing a 2-3 zone it's tough to score on and they're a very long team, so getting in the post was tough."

Wisconsin was able to finish the game with 32 points in the paint in part by getting senior Zach McCabe – starting in place of incumbent Melsahn Basbabe (illness) into foul trouble. Wisconsin found a way to overcome the Hawkeyes length to grab 13 offensive rebounds, which Dekker and Kaminsky combining for seven of the 13 rebounds.

"We don't necessarily have the biggest lineup with me at the four and Frank at the five, but we make do with what we got," Dekker said. "We play hard. We play smart. If you are physical underneath and just fight, you're going to be on the winning side a lot."

Currently on a five game winning streak, Wisconsin seems to have its confidence back after its rough stretch in January.

"We feel like we can go anywhere and beat anyone," Kaminsky said. "We have the team and the players to play with anyone or matchup with anyone, were pretty confident right now."


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