The frontline for Wisconsin dominated the undersized frontcourt of Coastal Carolina, as all three players from Wisconsin’s frontcourt reached double figures. Frank Kaminsky led the way with 27 points on 10-for-14 shooting from the field. Sam Dekker was second with 20 points (his first 20-point game since the road win over Minnesota) and Nigel Hayes added 15 points in 28 minutes of work.
Wisconsin’s backcourt wasn’t far behind in production, as Josh Gasser and Bronson Koenig combined for 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting. Most importantly the two combined for only three of the team’s nine turnovers. Overall Wisconsin shot 33-for-61 (54.1 percent), the 14th game UW has shot over 50 percent and its best shooting performance since the Indiana game Feb.3.
Wisconsin’s size advantage allowed the Badgers to consistently get second-chance opportunities, as the Badgers finished the game with 12 offensive rebounds, scored 14 points off those chances and saw Hayes grab a season-high seven offensive boards (five coming in two possessions).
Outside of Wisconsin scoring 40 points around the basket for the fifth time this year, the Badgers found a rhythm from the perimeter by finished the game 11-for-27 (40.7 percent) from 3-point range. Koenig, Dekker, and Kaminsky all hit multiple 3s, and Dekker led the way with four on eight attempts.
Duje Dukan finished the game with five points, but missed all three of his 3-point shot attempts, breaking a string of five straight games with a made three. However, he did grab five rebounds in 21 minutes, his highest since grabbing seven against Nicholls Dec.13.
At times the Wisconsin defense made life too easy for Coastal Carolina’s offense, which shot 48.3 percent from the field on 28-for-58 shooting. Wisconsin also struggled to defend the 3-point line at times, as the Chanticleers finished the game 7-for-12 (58.3 percent) from three.But Coastal Carolina had to rely on the 3-point shot to keep them in the game in the first half. Coastal Carolina went 5-for-6 from the perimeter in the first half, but trailed off to 2-for-6 in the second half. Three players for Coastal Carolina were able to reach double digits. Warren Gillis led the way with 22 points and was 10-for-19 from the field. Elijah Wilson was second with 20 points off the bench and Racine-native Josh Cameron had 11 points, all in the first half.
Gillis was able to hurt the Wisconsin defense in the second half, scoring 18 of his 22 points and shot 8-for-13 from the field. While Gasser had his troubles defensively, he did record a team-high three steals, his most since the Milwaukee game Dec.10. Gasser consistently found ways of poking the ball away and making Gillis, or anyone else, think twice about a pass. Overall Wisconsin was able to force six turnovers that translated into four points.
The size advantage for Wisconsin helped limit the Chanticleers to seven offensive rebounds and just three in the second half. That lack of production helped the Badgers limit Coastal Carolina to 24 points in the paint and six second-chance points.
Although Wisconsin leads the NCAA in fewest fouls, the Badgers committed 11 personal fouls – the second straight game committing over 10 and the fourth time in the last six games. At times the fouls were the result of careless play, something UW will need to tighten up on its tournament run.
Although winning by only 14 points, in reality Wisconsin controlled the majority of the game and led by 23 points with 1:47 to go, only to have UW’s bench give up the final nine points of the game and commit three turnovers in the final 47 seconds.
Wisconsin should be happy with how it played on offense, shooting the ball efficiently, finding a balance and outrebounding the Chanticleers 36-25. Badou Diagne entered the game averaging 7.4 rebounds a game but Wisconsin’s frontcourt limited to him to just three defensive rebounds. Limiting Diagne to half his average took away key opportunities for the Chanticleers. Tristian Curtis led the team with six rebounds.
After being held to four points in the Big Ten tournament finals, Dekker came back strong and looked impressive with his 20-point outing, his fourth game this year where he has scored at least 20 points. Dekker was able to score 13 of his 20 in the first half and took what was given him throughout the game, whether that be driving the ball, making a jump shot or finding open space. Although Kaminsky led the way in points, Dekker’s efforts in the first half kept Coastal Carolina at a distance.
Wisconsin may have only finished the game with one block (Kaminsky), but the Badgers did a good job of consistently contesting each shot by the Chanticleers.
Game MVP: Frank Kaminsky. Consistently taking advantage of the mismatch around the basket, Kaminsky scored 12 points in the first half and 15 in the second, as that balance helped Wisconsin in other areas. Even when Coastal Carolina took away other aspects of the Badgers’ offense, Kaminsky was there to provide the basket to help Wisconsin keep growing their lead.
Kaminsky could have scored all his points from the low block if he wanted to, but his ability created a terrible mismatch on the perimeter. In addition to going 4-for-5 from the free throw line, Kaminsky went 3-for-5 from the perimeter. Kaminsky’s size helped him get 12 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season and he tied with Koenig for a team high four assists.