Cornell-Wisconsin Preview

The Associated Press

As poor as Wisconsin played while suffering through its first loss, its players are not about to panic.

For a few of them, the next opponent might provide even more motivation to bounce back.

The No. 22 Badgers hope for a better effort Sunday against visiting Cornell in the teams' first meeting since the Big Red recorded one of the biggest victories in program history.

Wisconsin (1-1) welcomed an early challenge at No. 10 Florida on Wednesday, but never found a rhythm or looked comfortable during the 74-56 loss. Jared Berggren and Sam Dekker each had 11 points as the Badgers shot 35.6 percent, including 7 of 24 from 3-point range.

"Sometimes you're built with more experience, slashers, more speed at certain positions," said coach Bo Ryan, whose team was outrebounded 40-21. "There wasn't an advantage we had."

The Badgers missed their first six shots, including five from beyond the arc.

"When those shots aren't falling, we can't become one-dimensional," said Dekker, a reserve freshman forward. "That's the kind of stuff we have to work on, but that's why it's the second game of the year."

Wisconsin had no answer for 6-foot-10 Florida senior Erik Murphy, who scored 24 points and hit all 10 of his shots. The Gators shot 61.9 percent, the second-highest percentage a Badgers' opponent has posted since Ryan took over in 2001.

"It's obviously disappointing right now, but there's a lot of stuff to learn from," said Berggren, who has posted team highs of 30 points and 14 rebounds through two games. "It's obviously very early in the season, so there's a lot of time to get better. We've just got to learn from our mistakes and go from there."

Ryan's teams have a history of rebounding well from these types of early season setbacks against perennial national powers. Wisconsin lost by 24 to Duke in 2007, by 19 to Connecticut in 2008 and by 13 to Gonzaga in 2009, but went on to win at least 20 games and reach the NCAA tournament in each of those seasons.

However, the 2009-10 season ended when the fourth-seeded Badgers lost 87-69 to No. 12 seed Cornell in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Current Badgers Berggren, Mike Bruesewitz and Ryan Evans all came off the bench in that contest. Errick Peck, who averages 9.3 points and 4.7 rebounds, and reserve guard Miles Asafo-Adjei are the only current Cornell players from that team.

The Big Red (1-2) have dropped all four of their games against Top 25 opponents since that victory, and they visit Madison following back-to-back losses by a combined eight points. Peck totaled 27 points in Cornell's first two games but missed all four of his field-goal attempts and made one free throw in Friday's 68-64 loss to Saint Peter's.

Looking for a 48th straight home win over an unranked, non-conference opponent, Wisconsin is playing the first of two regional contests as part of the Las Vegas Invitational. After hosting Presbyterian on Tuesday, the Badgers face No. 15 Creighton and either Arizona State or Arkansas in Las Vegas next weekend.

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