MADISON, Wisc. -- With first place Indiana falling on the road to Minnesota earlier in the night, the stage was set for the Wisconsin Badgers to get back in the Big Ten title hunt.
And boy, did they ever.
Benefitting from a career night from freshman Sam Dekker and woeful shooting by its opponent, Wisconsin bested Nebraska in a 77-46 blowout Tuesday night at the Kohl Center.
The Badgers (20-8, 11-4) held the Huskers (13-15, 4-11) to just 23 points in each half, sealing a victory that pulled coach Bo Ryan's team within one game of first place in the conference.
Dekker tied his career-high at Wisconsin with 19 points on 5-of-6 shooting, converting four of his five three-point attempts and dishing out four assists. Leading all scorers was Nebraska senior point guard Dylan Talley, with 21 points, almost half of the Huskers' total offense in the game.
Nebraska, the Big Ten's lowest scoring team, was held 15 points below their season average of 59, a credit to a stingy Wisconsin defense that held its opponent to just 32.8 percent shooting from the floor.
The win provided a bit of revenge for Ryan. The last time he faced a team coached by Nebraska's Tim Miles, North Dakota State beat Wisconsin in 2006 at the Kohl Center. It was one of just seven nonconference losses for Ryan while coaching the Badgers.
Wisconsin led 44-23 at halftime after shooting 59.3 percent from the floor.
The Badgers used a 14-0 run midway through the game's first 20 minutes to put themselves firmly in the driver's seat. Freshman Sam Dekker finished the first half with 13 points and went 3-of-4 from beyond the arc to lead Wisconsin.
Huskers' senior guard Dylan Talley went on a personal 7-0 run of his own to answer the Badgers, helping to narrow his team's deficit between the five and three minute mark to 35-21.
But, Dekker broke that run with a feed to redshirt senior Ryan Evans on the left block, who converted the old fashioned and-1.
NOTES: Wisconsin senior center Jared Berggren recorded three blocks in the first half, moving him into sole possession of the all-time mark in school history. Berggren passed former Badger Rashard Griffin for the record. ... Nebraska allowed Wisconsin to shoot 59.3 percent in the first half. Heading into Tuesday night's game, the Huskers had the worst field goal percentage defense in the Big Ten, allowing opponents to shoot an average of 42 percent. ... Wisconsin's 44 first half points were the most for the team in the first half of a conference game this year. ...The Badgers recorded assists on 13 of their 16 first half field goals with just three turnovers. Entering the game Wisconsin was seventh in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio. ... Entering the game, Nebraska's defense had allowed just 62.7 points per game this season. The team gave up over 70 percent of that to Wisconsin in the first half at the Kohl Center Tuesday night.