The in-state battle between the no. 4 Wisconsin Badgers and the Milwaukee Panthers was everything expected and then some. Big plays absolutely spilled out of the game: we saw amazing 3-pointers, one spectacular slam dunk by Traevon Jackson and some all-around great plays made by both sides.
In the end though, Wisconsin ended up putting on a show as they defeated Milwaukee by a score of 78-52. With this win, the Badgers will improve to 11-0 on the year, while the Panthers fall to 9-3.
Senior Ben Brust showed exactly why he is a top-flight player for the Badgers as he scored 18 points, grabbed three rebounds and had two assists. With this performance, his season total improves to 122 points, placing him third on the team in points scored. For the Panthers, senior Kyle Kelm did his best to keep his team in the game by scoring 17 points, but it was not enough in the end to prevent his team from losing.
One surprising turn of events was Badgers forward Sam Dekker‘s lack of first-half shooting production. The sophomore was able to turn things around as he finished the game with 12 points. On the flip side, senior guard Brust could not stop making 3-pointers, he ended the night with seven 3-point baskets.
After tonight’s contest, the Badgers look ahead to their next game against Eastern Kentucky, who won their last game by a score of 76-67 against the Longwood Lancers. The Panthers will take on the Northeastern Huskies, who upset the Georgetown Hoyas back on November 21.
With such an explosive start to their season, the Badgers have sent quite the message to the rest of their conference, especially to their big-time rival, the no. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes. Currently, the Big 10 conference has four teams ranked in the top-25 standings, proving that this conference is loaded with talent. What is even more impressive is that three of the four teams in the top 25 from the Big 10 are ranked third, fourth and fifth in the standings: OSU, UW and Michigan State.
Dekker has continually shown that he can be a consistent on-court mastermind for the Badgers. His success is a large component of how well the Badgers have played this season. With 19 games left in the season, the Badgers have established themselves as a dominant force to be reckoned with not only in their conference, but in all of college basketball.
Wisconsin can take the momentum established early in the season and apply that to their tough conference schedule, especially when they take on the Buckeyes on February 1. It may be early in the season, but Wisconsin has already made a solid case for why they should do exceptionally well in their conference tournament and the NCAA tournament in come March.