No. 14 Wisconsin 62, UNLV 51

Ben Brust admits he probably shouldn’t have taken his last

3-point shot.

With Wisconsin leading UNLV by eight points and under three

minutes left, the smart play might’ve been to run off some

clock.

But the way Brust was shooting, who could blame him?

Brust came off the bench and hit all seven of his 3s, scoring a

career-high 25 points as No. 14 Wisconsin beat UNLV 62-51.

”The past three games, a lot of them felt good. They just

didn’t go in,” Brust said. ”You’ve got to have shooters’ amnesia

and just shoot out of it.”

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said the Badgers (8-2) understand that

one of the easiest 3s to hit is off an offensive rebound with a

quick kick out to an open shooter. But he said they’re also

supposed to take into account time and score in deciding whether to

take the shot.

Ryan questioned the shot selection, but not the result.

”I think he does that in his sleep,” Ryan said, making a

shooting motion. ”When he caught that, he was only thinking one

thing.”

The performance snapped a shooting funk for Brust, who had hit

just 3 of his last 13 3-pointers in the previous three games.

Against UNLV, Brust missed just one shot for the game. He was

perfect from 3-point range, was 1 of 2 from inside the arc and made

both of his free throws.

Coming in, the game looked like a matchup of a Rebels (9-2)

offense averaging 83 points a game and a Wisconsin defense limiting

opponents to just 44 points and shooting a shade less than 33

percent.

The Badgers’ defense showed up as advertised. But Wisconsin also

worked deep into the shot clock, helping to keep the Rebels out of

their running attack.

UNLV finished with just five fast break points while Wisconsin

had none.

”We didn’t do a good job of execution on offense, and we lost a

little bit of our defensive energy,” UNLV coach Dave Rice

said.

Ryan said the Badgers didn’t intentionally try to slow down

their offense. Rather, they took what UNLV gave them, and it wasn’t

much.

”Why would you take 15 seconds to throw up a bad shot when at

28 seconds you got a pretty decent one?” Ryan said. ”We’re going

to take what the defense gives us, and that’s not going to

change.”

Wisconsin grabbed control in the first half with a 13-0 run that

gave the Badgers a 31-15 lead. They pushed their advantage to as

many as 19 in the first half before the Rebels were able to cut it

to 36-23 at half.

From there, UNLV couldn’t get inside of double digits until just

under 4 minutes left, when Justin Hawkins hit a wide open 3 from

the corner to make it 57-49. It was the first time UNLV had been

that been that close since 23-15 with 7 minutes left in the first

half.

But Mike Moser missed a layup on UNLV’s next possession, Brust

hit a deep 3 after the Badgers grabbed the offensive rebound.

Chace Stanback scored 16 to lead UNLV.

Every time the Rebels appeared to have an opportunity in the

second half to build some momentum, they seemed to either turn it

over or take an ill-advised shot. More often than not, it seemed

Wisconsin was able to capitalize on the other end with a big shot

by Brust.

”I’m not pleased at all with our execution on either end of the

floor,” Rice said. ”We regrouped at the half. We came out and we

looked like we were supposed to in terms of our aggressiveness.

There are no excuses. We’ve just got to play better and execute

better. We’ve got to get tougher.”