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Wisconsin dominates all facets in rout of Northwestern

The SportsXchange

EVANSTON, Ill. -- The rebounding disparity told much of the story Wednesday as No. 19 Wisconsin rolled to a 69-41 Big Ten victory over Northwestern.

Even so, the lopsided, 47-22 rebounding edge was but one area dominated by the Badgers, who won their second straight and fifth in six games.

Jared Berggren and Ben Brust collected 12 points and eight rebounds apiece for Wisconsin (19-8, 10-4 Big Ten). Traevon Jackson had eight points, seven boards and five assists, and Sam Dekker added 10 points in front of 7,011 fans -- including a significant Wisconsin delegation -- at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

"We had three guys going to the glass, and they were opportunistic," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "Offensive glass (a 15-5 edge) played in our favor. Getting those second and third opportunities, they're always welcome."

The Badgers, who never trailed, shot 23-for-50 for the game (46.0 percent) and had big advantages in points in the paint (28-2) and second-chance points (16-2).

Reggie Hearn scored a game-high 13 points for the Wildcats, who slipped under .500 for the first time this season. Northwestern (13-14, 4-10) has lost four straight and six of seven.

"I thought we played pretty good initial defense," Hearn said, "but they then killed us on the backboards, and it seemed like they got second-chance points after (every) offensive rebound."

Wisconsin led 28-12 at halftime and had the game well in hand at 49-25 after Dekker's layup with 10:05 to play.

The final margin was the Badgers' biggest lead of the night.

The Wildcats never got closer than 17 points in the second half, and they shot just 15-for-51 (29.4 percent) overall.

"We were having a hard time putting the ball in the basket and our rebounding has been anemic," Wildcats coach Bill Carmody said. "They just dominated inside on us. ... and we weren't productive down there."

Wisconsin also took advantage of a huge disparity in free throws, making 18 of 26, compared to Northwestern's 3-of-5 foul shooting.

Slumping Northwestern's lone win in its last seven games was a 75-60 decision over Purdue on Feb. 2. Wisconsin's only recent blemish was a 66-62 overtime loss at Minnesota on Feb. 14. The Badgers also beat No. 3 Michigan and No. 13 Ohio State in their recent surge.

Fourteen different Wisconsin players saw minutes, and 10 scored.

Wisconsin opened with nine unanswered points -- including four from Berggren. Northwestern missed six straight shots until Hearn hit a 3-pointer with 14:31 remaining before halftime.

The Badgers led 21-11 with 3:25 to go in the half as Berggren scored on a rebound after Brust's off-target 3-point try.

But Brust made up for the miss with 1:58 showing with a 3-pointer from near the left corner as Wisconsin opened its biggest lead to that point at 26-11.

Jackson hit a buzzer-beating jumper to give the Badgers a 16-point halftime advantage.

Wisconsin shot 11-for-26 (42.3 percent) in the half and had a lopsided 23-8 rebounding edge. Northwestern managed just 4-for-20 shooting (20 percent) from the field in the first half.

NOTES: Wisconsin continues to lead the Big Ten in scoring defense (53.2 points) and is 11th in the nation with a 56.2 point average. ... The Badgers returned to the Top 25 on Feb. 11 after a 12-week absence. Their No. 19 ranking is a season best. ... Northwestern forward Jared Swopshire is the team's fifth player lost for the season after he underwent arthroscopic surgery on Feb. 12 to repair his right knee. He was averaging 12.2 points and 8.8 rebounds this season. ... The Wildcats' Hearn had the top scoring average on the court Wednesday. He's ninth in the Big Ten with a 14.0 per game average. ... Northwestern is ninth in the nation with an average of 10.7 turnovers per game, while Wisconsin is third with a 9.5 average. Both teams were even better Wednesday, with the Badgers giving the ball away eight times and the Wildcats seven times. ... Wednesday's game was the lone regular-season meeting between the Badgers and Wildcats. Wisconsin holds a 111-61 series lead and has six straight wins. Northwestern has only three wins in the series since 2003. ... The Badgers are idle until Tuesday, when they host Nebraska. Northwestern plays at Purdue on Sunday.
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