It wasn't a pretty game offensively in the first half for Wisconsin despite shooting 48.3 percent from the field, but Wisconsin was able to turn things around in a major way by starting the second half on a 17-6 run on 7-for-9 shooting.
With Wisconsin coming out on fire they were able to erase the halftime deficit of 12-points within the first 6 minutes, 30 seconds, and finished the game 29-for-60 (48.3 percent) from the field.
After only scoring eight points in the opening round win against American, Frank Kaminsky responded with a 19-point performance on 8-for-15 shooting. All five starters finished in double figures with Traevon Jackson being the second-leading scorer with 16 points. Josh Gasser finished the game with 13 points, while Ben Brust and Sam Dekker each had 12 points.
Wisconsin was able to do a great job on the offensive glass collecting 14 offensive rebounds in the game. The Badgers were able to keep so many possessions alive, especially when they needed to in crunch time, and converted their second-chance opportunities into 14 points.
Wisconsin once again was able to strike a balance on offense by creating an inside-outside game. The Badgers finished with 28 poins in the paint and went 11-for-28 (39.3 percent) from three, including 7-for-16 (43.8 percent) from three in the second half to help put Wisconsin in a position to succeed and erase Oregon's lead.
It's funny what a half makes. After giving up 49 points to Oregon in the first half Wisconsin was able to come out in the second half and found a way to slow down the up-tempo Ducks.
The Ducks shot 15-for-27 (55.6 percent) from the floor in the first half and really could do anything they wanted to from a scoring standpoint, getting points at the rim and hitting open shots on the perimeter. Wisconsin was able to change that by finally hedging through screens and taking away the paint in the second half, holding Oregon to only make nine field goals. The Ducks did finish the game going 24-for-49 (49 percent) from the field.
Joseph Young, who leads the Ducks averaging 18.6 points a game, led the Ducks with 29 points and shot an impressive 10-for-19 overall. Although Elgin Cook was the star off of Oregon's bench in its second-round win, the Badgers were able to keep him in check at five points but couldn't slow down Jason Calliste (20 points) off the bench. Mike Moser was the only other Ducks players to reach double figures with 12 points, scoring Oregon's first seven of nine points, but was saddled with foul trouble.
Even with the up-tempo pace the Ducks prefer, Wisconsin couldn't get them to make many mistakes with the basketball. Oregon committed only eight turnovers that turned into 12 Wisconsin points.
After making a couple of questionable plays in the first half, Wisconsin looked like a completely different team after halftime. Knowing it needed to do a good job of taking care of the basketball and limit any fast break opportunity for Oregon, Wisconsin did neither in the first 20 minutes, turning the ball over six times and giving up 19 fast-break points.
All that changed once the second half began. Wisconsin only committed two turnovers the rest of the game and did a much better job of communicating and getting back in transition and made sure the easy points stopped for Oregon, holding the Ducks to zero fast break points the rest of the game.
In particular, Jackson was forced into three first-half turnovers and in one instance lost focus when he picked up his dribble and attempted a pass to Kaminsky. The pass was picked off by Richard Amradi and in desperation to prevent a dunk, Jackson fouled Amradi, leading to two free throws. Jackson made up for it with his stellar free throw shooting down the stretch to ice the game for UW.
With Wisconsin struggling to get in rhythm, Bronson Koenig was able to put two impressive offensive possessions together. The first one was Koenig being able to beat his defender off dribble and make an impressive floater, which cut the lead to seven points. On the next offensive possession, Koenig once again beat his man off the dribble but instead of trying to force a shot over two defenders, he was able to find an open Kaminsky for easy the easy layup.
Game MVP: Josh Gasser. The game MVP easily could have gone either to Jackson, Brust, or Kaminsky, but when you look at the game Gasser left his mark in a couple of different ways. For one Gasser was key in getting the 17-6 run started and helping cut the deficit to six points. Gasser finished his night 5-for-7 from the field and hit three big 3-pointers. Even though Young scored 29 points in the game, Gasser did a much better job of defending him in the second half holding him to 5-for-10 shooting. Gasser also tied for second on the team with five rebounds and had three assists to zero turnovers.