No. 2 Wisconsin unchallenged by UAB in Battle 4 Atlantis
The whistle blew and Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan immediately went into action, thrusting his arms straight up in protest of what he thought was an erroneous call.
Never mind that his team was up by 17 and putting on its usual display of defensive brilliance.
He wasn’t satisfied and doesn’t want his Badgers to be, either.
Frank Kaminsky had 16 points and eight rebounds, Duje Dukan scored 11 points and No. 2 Wisconsin had no trouble beating Alabama-Birmingham 72-43 in the Battle 4 Atlantis quarterfinals Wednesday night.
"I expect guys to compete in practice every day, so games aren’t going to be any different," Ryan said. "And no matter what the final score is, each possession to us is important, teammates cheering for teammates, it’s still a game and it’s still fun to compete. … The idea is, take care of business when you can."
Josh Gasser added 10 points to help the Badgers (5-0) win their 21st straight regular-season nonconference game.
Wisconsin held UAB to 35 percent shooting, and is now giving up 46.6 points per game this season.
"I thought we were thoroughly dominated by a very, very good basketball team," UAB coach Jerod Haase said.
Robert Brown scored 16 points for UAB (2-3), which never led. Brown scored UAB’s first 11 points and was the only Blazer to record a field goal in the first 19:59.
"They’re one of the top two teams I’ve ever played," Brown said about the Badgers, likening them only to the North Carolina teams he used to face when he was at Virginia Tech.
After an upsetting start to Wednesday — No. 5 North Carolina (by Butler) and No. 22 UCLA (by Oklahoma) were knocked off in the first two games of the day in the Bahamas — this one lacked any sense of drama.
"You always take note when you see the quote-unquote underdog win a game," Kaminsky said.
That didn’t help UAB.
A 14-2 run in the first half put Wisconsin up 22-8, and after Brown made a 3-pointer to get the Blazers within 15 with 13:58 left, another big Badger burst — this one 17-2 over 7 minutes — made it 60-30.
UAB was in 1-for-14 slide over a 13-minute stretch of the first half, before Nick Norton banked in a 3-pointer from near midcourt just before the halftime buzzer.
It was a rare Blazer highlight: Wisconsin went into the break with a 37-17 lead.
"We played pretty well on the defensive end," Gasser said.
And even during the intermission, the good night for the Badgers continued. A Wisconsin fan walked onto the floor and proposed at halftime to his girlfriend, kneeling to present her ring at practically the very spot Norton had shot from moments earlier.
She said yes.
UAB: Wednesday marked the seventh straight time UAB has lost when facing a team ranked in the Top 5. … The Blazers were 1 for 12 around the basket in the first half. … UAB players are wearing shoes of two different colors — one green, one white or gray — in each game this season to promote awareness for pediatric cancer.
Wisconsin: Here’s first-half point totals allowed by the Badgers this season: 15, 21, 29, 24 and now 17. … Wisconsin is 5-0 for the third time in four years…. The Badgers improved to 53-9 when Dukan plays. Dukan entered the day as one of only seven active Division I players to appear in at least 50 wins and fewer than 10 losses.
Kaminsky got the 300th field goal of his Wisconsin career on his seventh basket Wednesday, a driving dunk from the left wing.
UAB finished with 19 turnovers and Wisconsin cashed in most of them, turning them into 28 points.