The Badgers went back to the formula that has wont them so many games under Bo Ryan, mainly playing solid defense and making smart plays on the offensive end as they finished off a previously undefeated Cal early in an 81-56 victory.
On Sunday the Badgers (5-3) also added a touch of domination down low and a flash of just how good Sam Dekker can be to their recipe for success as he exploded in the 1st half.
Dekker was one of four Badgers to score in double figures as the team was led by Ben Brust's 22 points. Brust and Dekker were joined in double figures by forwards Jared Berggren (18) and Ryan Evans (13).
Cal got a good effort from the game's leading scorer, Allen Crabbe, who poured in 25 points and grabbed a team best 7 rebounds in the losing effort. However it just wasn't enough to keep pace with what the Badgers were doing in all facets of the game on Sunday.
Wisconsin went down early against Cal, trailing 4-3 with 15:39 left in the 1st half. However the Badgers responded back nicely, going on a 14-0 run that made it 17-6. Later in the half the Badgers went on a second double digit unanswered streak, going on a 12-0 run that had the score at 30-12 in favor of the Badgers that put them up 30-12 with 5:50 left in the 1st half.
The Badgers allowed Cal back into the game a bit as the Golden Bears finally found ways to get the ball to their hot hand, Allen Crabbe, and it was 37-24 Wisconsin up at the half.
Brust and Dekker were both in double figures at the half with Brust scoring 12 and Dekker adding 10 points. It was great shooting for both of them that sparked the Badgers as Brust was 5-8 from the field and Dekker was a very impressive 4-5 from the field on his own.
However, not all was rosy for the Badgers as they continued struggling from deep, shooting just 3-13 (23.1%) on the half.
The second half was more of the same for the Badgers as they continued to pour it on offensively and defensively. The Badgers added 44 points in the 2nd half and ended the game shooting 51.7% from the field (30-58) and a respectable 33.3% (7-21) from deep.
Most importantly, the Badgers cleaned up on the boards, holding a 36-30 advantage over the Bears by the end of the game. Wisconsin grabbed 14 offensive rebounds, just four less than Cal's defensive rebounding total.
Wisconsin next plays Nebraska-Omaha on Dec. 4th and then the 3 game in-state stretch begins with the "rivalry" game against Marquette on Dec. 8th. With that, it's time to see how each player graded out in this one.
Ben Brust: (A) – Brust had the Badgers high of 22 points, but he also was able to add something in all other aspects of the game as he had 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. The only reason he isn't an A+ in my mind is because also committed 4 turnovers in the game. He's also becoming quite adept at coming up with the acrobatic, crazy play inside the lane at 6'1".
Ryan Evans: (B ) – That grade may seem harsh for someone that was in double figures, but it's the details of those 13 points that make his grade go lower as he struggled from the free throw line (3-6). He redeemed that a bit on the defensive end adding 2 blocks and steal.
Traevon Jackson: (D -) – Jackson added nothing of note in this game and while other players were around to pick up the slack (see Ben Brust) in terms of being the catalyst of the offense Jackson didn't really inspire confidence with a line of 0 points, 3 assists, 0 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 2 steals and 2 fouls in his 23 minutes of action.
Mike Bruesewitz: (A +) – It's hard to say there wasn't a more efficient player on the court on Sunday than the Bruiser, who had 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 steals. Bruesewitz is never going to be the go to option on the offensive end, but this was by far his most complete game since coming off his leg injury.
Jared Berggren: (A) – Again, he was about as efficient a player as possible on Sunday hooting 7-9 from the field and scoring 18 points. He also added 8 rebounds, 2 steals, and perhaps most importantly committed only one personal foul on the day. Berggren was a great catalyst to getting things going early for this team and earns a well deserved high grade.
Sam Dekker: (B -) – Now if this was for the 1st half only strike up another A+, however Dekker didn't score at all in the 2nd half of this one and he ended the day with 10 points in total. He did play his best game defensively as well and that's really encouraging moving forward.
George Marshall: (C) – Although he played just 11 minutes he was at least productive on the offensive end of the game, dishing out 3 assists. However he was 0-2 on the offensive end of the floor and in the end his efforts on the defensive end left a bit to be desired once again.
Zak Showalter: (B +) – We caught a glimpse of why Bo Ryan trusts this true freshman that was supposed to have been a walk-on so much. It's because he's fearless and willing to do anything on either side of the ball. Showalter had 5 points and a rebound, but he also committed 4 personal fouls so giving him an A just isn't an option. Watching him grow in this program is going to be a bast to say the least.
Zach Bohannon, Dan Fahey, Jordan Smith, Evan Anderson, and J.D. wise all get incompletes as they didn't see enough court time to warrant full grades.