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November 16, 2011

Brust leads UW to easy victory

MADISON - Ben Brust won't soon be mistaken for a vocal leader on the court. He's not about to trash talk an opposing player, at least not in a game as out of hand as Wednesday's 68-41 win over Colgate turned out to be.

Instead the sophomore guard lets his shooting do the talking. The swish of the net is deafening.

"It's just kind of a feeling," Brust said following his game-high 17-point performance against the Raiders. "Coach Gary Close always jokes when I shoot it. He says, 'Ben, you shot that from Janesville.'

"Wherever works. Wherever I'm feeling it."

Brust nailed 4-of-5 first half 3-point attempts to help UW break open a game against Colgate that was never as close as even the final 27-point margin indicates.

Wisconsin jumped on the Raiders with a quick 12-2 run to open play and never looked back.

Brust scored 13 of his 17 points in the opening 20 minutes and Jordan Taylor chipped in all nine of his points as UW entered the locker room up 42-20.

The Badgers, as they did during the season-opener, stormed out of the gates by shooting nearly 52 percent from the field and an even better 57-percent from downtown during the first half of play.

Unfortunately for Wisconsin that same shooting rate didn't carry over to the second half. Through the first seven minutes of the second frame UW had only mustered two points and missed 13-of-14 shots.

"They weren't really doing that much either," Ryan said. "Defensively we were doing some good things. Sometimes shots don't go down. That's why you take the entity, not a minute here or five minutes there.

"Basketball can be that way sometimes."

As much as Wisconsin struggled throughout Wednesday's second half, Colgate's struggles were just as obvious. The Raiders, like the Badgers, shot around 37 percent during the final 20 minutes. That was only a three percent increase from what they had shot during the opening half.

Wisconsin also forced 13 turnovers and out-rebounded the Raiders 43-29, including a 16-5 margin on the offensive glass. UW guards Josh Gasser, Ben Brust, Rob Wilson and Taylor combined to collect 19 rebounds.

"They're always going to make you make difficult shots," Colgate head coach Matt Langel said. "Typically it's mid-range jump shots. I think they are one of, if not the best team, at bodying you up and using their size and length to create a different shot.

"It's not necessarily with their athleticism, but size and position, and they make you miss those shots without fouling you."

Junior center Jared Berggren chipped in nine points and collected seven rebounds in 26 minutes of play. Much of Berggren success came in the post, especially following a torrid 3-point barrage to start the contest.

"It opens things up for me inside," Berggren said. "Hopefully I'll face some one-on-one coverage. I've just got to do a better job of finishing. I've got to work on finishing around the basket and hopefully that improves during the next few games.

"It's something I've got to work on."

Senior guard Rob Wilson scored six points, collected three rebounds and logged a steal in 15 minutes of play. During a stagnant second half it was Wilson's play, particularly on the offensive glass, that allowed UW to snap out of its slump.

"He got some hustle opportunities," Ryan said. "Whenever a guy comes of the bench his goal and his aim is to stay solid and let things happen. You have to be aware in a game of opportunities.

"He was aware and he got some."

Game notes:

-No. 13 Wisconsin improved to 2-0 for the 10th-consecutive season. The win was also UW's 21st-consecutive win inside the Kohl Center, good for the fifth-longest home winning streak in school history and the second-longest active streak in the Big Ten. Ohio State has currently won 22 straight games inside Value City Arena.

-Wisconsin's 28.6 percent clip from the charity stripe marked its worst such performance inside the Kohl Center with a minimum of 10 attempts. UW made just 4-of-14 attempts in Wednesday's game.

-The Badgers have outscored Colgate by a 32-12 margin in the paint. Now, through two games, UW owns a 58-26 advantage inside the paint this season.

-UW's 11 steals marked the highest such total since swiping the same number against Illinois in 2010.

-With a 10-of-23 shooting performance from downtown, Wisconsin is now shooting 52.1 percent from distance this season.

-Colgate struggled to find its groove Wednesday night. The Raiders shot just 34.8 percent from the field. Through two games, UW opponents are averaging just 29.2 percent shooting from the field.

-Berggren's seven rebounds marked a new career-high, shattering his previous best of four.

-Jordan Taylor currently has an 11-1 assist-to-turnover ratio this season. He's also made 66 percent (4-of-6) of his shots from beyond the arc.

-Brust's 17-point performance Wednesday evening marks a career high. He's shot 4-of-8 from three in each of UW's first two games.

-Junior forward Ryan Evans swiped a career-best four steals in UW's victory. He also scored seven points, logged six rebounds, dished two assists and recorded a block.


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