Brust, Gasser lead No. 15 Wisconsin over KennesawSaturday, Nov 12, 2011
MADISON, Wis. (AP)—Most teams need a little time to find a groove at the beginning of the college basketball season. All No. 15 Wisconsin needed on Saturday was about a minute.
Ben Brust and Josh Gasser scored 14 points apiece and the Badgers hit 15 3-pointers to easily dispatch Kennesaw State 85-31.
Ryan Evans had 13 points, and Jared Berggren and preseason All-American Jordan Taylor each added 11 for Wisconsin, which made seven of its first 10 attempts from beyond the arc.
“All the gears were pretty much meshing, no matter who was on the court,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “That’s a good sign.”
Mike Bruesewitz hit consecutive 3-pointers to cap a 16-0 run for the Badgers (1-0), who took control right from the start after Spencer Dixon banked in a 3 on Kennesaw’s first possession.
Berggren and Brust also added 3-pointers in the stretch. Brust had three of his four 3s in the first half, and eight different players connected from long range for the Badgers, who tied for the second-most 3-pointers in school history. The record for one game is 17.
“They look good when they’re going down, that’s for sure,” Ryan said. “But they were good shots.”
The Badgers built a 41-8 halftime lead while holding the Owls (0-1) to just 13 percent (3 of 23) shooting in the first half. Kennesaw State went scoreless for nearly eight minutes after Dixon’s 3-pointer and went without a field goal for another 11:07 before Dixon hit a jumper just before the end of the half.
Wisconsin matched the school’s modern-era record, set in 1947, for fewest points allowed in a half, and Kennesaw’s 31 points were the fewest by a Badgers opponent since 1996 and fourth-fewest in the modern era dating to 1946.
“When I go back and look at this film, if I don’t kick the TV in, I’m going to go back and look at the number of open shots,” said first-year Owls coach Lewis Preston. “We probably missed five or six layups; we missed some easy shots in the sweet spot.”
Berggren had back-to-back dunks to help the Badgers open the second half with a 17-2 run before Markeith Cummings scored three straight baskets to give Kennesaw State field goals on consecutive possessions for the first time all game.
Cummings, the Atlantic Sun Conference preseason player of the year, led Kennesaw State with 18 points, all but three in the second half.
Gasser was 4 of 4 from the field, all on 3-pointers. He hit back-to-back 3s in the second half in the middle of a 21-4 Wisconsin spurt after Cummings’ three straight buckets had made it 58-17.
The Badgers shot 58.8 percent overall and outrebounded the Owls 41-20.
Wisconsin had assists on 23 of its 30 field goals. Taylor, a second-team All-American point guard last season, led the way with seven.
“We’re an unselfish team. We’ve got a lot of guys on the floor that can hit shots,” said Gasser, one of three Badgers with four assists each. “We were just making the extra pass and fortunately knocking them down.”
Ten different Badgers scored and five were in double figures, an encouraging sign for a team that must replace nearly 50 percent of its scoring from a team that made the NCAA round of 16 last year.
“We’ve been saying for a while now that we’ve got a lot of guys who can put the ball in the hole,” Taylor said. “Guys who have just kind of been waiting for their opportunity to step up, and this year is the opportunity for a lot of guys. It’s exciting to see the unselfish play and everybody knocking down shots and it just kind of shows what we’re capable of.”