Wisconsin continues to find a way to shoot efficiently as the competition slowly gets better. Despite Oklahoma playing tough defense in the first half, Wisconsin still managed to shoot 43.5 percent (27-for-62) from the field. Frank Kaminsky was one of five players to score in double digits leading the way with 17 points, 14 of which came in the second half.
The Badgers tried to feed the post early but Oklahoma did well taking away the post early in the game as the Badgers finished the game with 26 points in the paint. But Wisconsin eventually managed to get points down low after they proved they could shoot from the mid-range and beyond.
Wisconsin did struggle shooting from three at times, going 9-for-28 (32.1 percent), but the Badgers hit some key shots when they needed them to help take some pressure away from scoring in the low block. Kaminsky and Dukan proved to be the most efficient from 3-point range, as Kaminsky finished 3-for-4 and Dukan 3-for-5 from three.
Oklahoma playing pesky defense in the low post throughout the game forced the Badgers to earn their points in the paint. Considering it was difficult at times to score down low, the Badgers did do a good job of taking care of the ball with only 11 turnovers, which resulted into nine points for the Sooners.
Wisconsin managed to overcome its turnovers by dishing out 19 assists - its second highest of the season. Jackson and Bronson Koenig were one and two in assists for Wisconsin, finishing with eight and five, respectively.
The Badgers’ defense continues to perform well, especially against a team that has shown the ability to score the basketball. Averaging 73 points per game, Oklahoma was held well below its average against UW, only scoring 56 points on 17-for-46 (37 percent) shooting from the field.
Josh Gasser was able to defend and shut down Buddy Hield, who entered the game averaging 18.2 points per game but finished with only nine points on 2-for-11 shooting. Hield could never get into a rhythm as Gasser was able to consistently defend him or get a hand in his face.
Wisconsin’s team defense can’t be overlooked either, as they were able to force 21 turnovers. At times Oklahoma was careless with the basketball, which added to the high number of turnovers, but Wisconsin did record 12 steals in the game. With all the miscues, Wisconsin was able to convert the turnovers into 27 points.
Even though the team defense did well in creating turnovers the Badgers did commit a couple of stupid fouls, particularly fouling a 3-point shooter three different times in the game. The third time the Badgers interfered with a 3-point shooter resulted in a four-point play for the Sooners. Oklahoma went 7-for-7 from the line in those instances and 17-for-19 (89.5 percent) in the game. Although it is something that can be easily fixed in practice it is still a little concerning that it happened three times in the game.
With the Badgers up one point going into halftime, it was critical they get the first run of the second half to better dictate tempo. Wisconsin did just that as they were able to start the second half on an 8-0 run and continued building from that point.
Leading by as many as many as 15 points, the Sooners never got closer than nine the rest of the way because of the balanced scoring amongst the roster. With Kaminsky picking up two costly fouls in the first five minutes, 32 seconds, it forced others to step up, and Dukan kindly obliged by scoring 11 of his 13 points off the bench in the first half.
Dukan was particularly feeling it from 3-point range, as he went 3-for-4 from three in the first half and knocked down two critical threes on consecutive possessions. Those shots put the Badgers up two and helped Wisconsin start to take control of the game.
Koenig (three points) was the only other player to score off the bench and was aggressive, finishing the game with two steals and registered one block.
Oklahoma outrebounded the Badgers by three (35-to-32), but the Badgers did grab two more offensive rebounds (7-5), which helped keep possessions alive and forced the Sooners to play another 35 seconds of defense. The Badgers didn’t make the Sooners pay as much as they could have with only six points on second chance opportunities, both of which came off 3-pointers.
Game MVP: Frank Kaminsky. After a season-low six points against Georgetown, it appeared Kaminsky was going to have another off day with two early fouls against the Sooners. When the second half started, things started to change for the better, as it was proved that the Sooners really didn’t have an answer for Kaminsky during his 18 minutes in the second half.
After missing his first shot attempt of the half, Kaminsky registered a steal on one end and connected on a 3-point play on the other, making the team’s first free throw. Kaminsky was able to do his damage both inside and out and nab a game-high eight rebounds.