Road Reaction: Badgers 65, Cornhuskers 55
Wisconsin's players called last year's road game at Pinnacle Bank Arena the best Big Ten environment in which they'd ever played. On that day, billed as "No-Sit Sunday," Nebraska desperately needed a victory to clinch an NCAA tournament berth, and the fans and players acted accordingly.
This year? Not so much.
No. 5 Wisconsin shell-shocked Nebraska in the first half and then held on for a 65-55 victory on Tuesday night. In the process, Wisconsin improved to 22-2 -- the best start in school history -- including 10-1 in Big Ten play. Nebraska's disappointing season continued, meanwhile, as the Cornhuskers dropped to 13-11 overall (5-7 in the Big Ten).
1 big moment: How about the entire first half? Wisconsin took a 7-0 lead and completely blew the doors off Nebraska in the opening 20 minutes. It was 11-4 at the first media timeout, 14-7 at the second media timeout, 20-7 at the third media break and 22-9 at the fourth timeout. The Cornhuskers didn't even reach double digits in scoring until Benny Parker's layup with 3:12 remaining.
2 top performances: Sam Dekker scored 13 points and made six first-half field goals. Nebraska's entire team scored 13 points and made six first-half field goals. Yes, it was that bad for the Cornhuskers. But Dekker didn't stop there. He tied a career high with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting and snagged eight rebounds.
Frank Kaminsky also put together another solid game. He recorded his ninth double-double this season with 13 points and 12 rebounds to go with four assists and three blocks. Let the national player of the year debate continue.
3 key stats: Wisconsin's 13 first-half points allowed marked the fewest the Badgers had surrendered since holding Northwestern to 12 points in Evanston on Feb. 20, 2013.
-- UW once again made more free throws than its opponent attempted. The Badgers buried 24 of 31 attempts, while the Cornhuskers shot 7 of 10 from the line.
-- Four teams have won the Big Ten regular season title by four games or more since 1974-75, when the conference went to an 18-game schedule. Wisconsin has a three-game lead on the entire league with seven regular season games to play.
Said: "Bronson Koenig just came up and deflated this whole place. This place wants to get going." -- ESPN analyst Dan Dakich, after Koenig buried a 3 to start the second half and give Wisconsin a 30-13 lead.
"You always want to silence away crowds with your play. Fans are hilarious. They get really into the game, scream hilarious things. It's just one of those things where you take pride in trying to silence another team's crowd." -- Frank Kaminsky during an ESPN interview taped pregame.
Next: Wisconsin plays host to Illinois at noon Sunday in the Kohl Center. Illinois (16-8, 6-5) plays Michigan on Thursday and has won three consecutive conference games.
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