No. 20 Wisconsin 59, No. 11 Florida 53: Badgers exact revenge from Gators at the Kohl Center

Wisconsin and the Kohl Center, they are a match made in heaven and that continued to be the case as the No. 20 Badgers overcame a slow start to take down No. 11 Florida Gators, 59-53 in the home opener. 

After last season's barn-burner of a game things were more UW's style in this one and Sam Dekker would be the emotional and physical catalyst for the win, leading Wisconsin with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting.

Things looked strangely familiar to start the game as the Badgers couldn't buy a bucket and Florida couldn't miss. Wisconsin started the game 2-9 shooting and Florida raced out to a 12 point lead at 16-4. 

However, unlike last year Bo Ryan's crew found a way out of the muck and climbed their way back. It all started with back-to-back three pointers from Dekker, which cut the Florida lead from 16-4 to 16-10. 

Wisconsin ended the half on a 13-2 run and went into the locker room with a 29-26 lead after holding the Gators without a field goal for the final 7:53 of the half. 

After the half the Badgers were able to extend their lead, going up by as many as 11 points on a Duje Dukan 3-pointer to make it 47-36 with 11:57 left in the second half. 

It was a lead the Gators could never overcome, as they could get no closer than 3 points in the second half. All despite the best efforts of their leading scorer, Michael Frazier II, who poured in a game-high 20 points in the losing effort. 

Wisconsin has a resume building win on it's hands, instead of a lopsided loss that hurt its NCAA tournament seeding a season ago. 

Enough of the blabbering though…its on to the grades!

Player Stats/Thoughts Grade

Ben Brust, G
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11pts, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 4-10 FG's

Brust was a monster in this win, hitting a few key shots and just getting after it on the glass. How many times is the leading rebounder on your team, let alone for the entire game a guard? He had a few issues with positioning on Frazier at times, but overall this was a more-than-solid effort for the veteran. 

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Nigel Hayes, F
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8 points, 2 rebounds, 4-7 FG's, 18 minutes

Hayes continues to show why he was a Top 100 recruit and perhaps the most under-sold recruit in the UW class this season. He banged down low with the Florida big men, showed some nice moves on the block and with his face to the basket. If he continues to play like this, Hayes will be seeing more minutes as the season goes on. Nice effort all-around tonight by the freshman. 

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Traevon Jackson, G
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13 points, 7 rebounds, 4-9 FG's, 4 assists, 5 turnovers

Jackson and the fans had a love/hate relationship tonight and it may be staying that way. He showed some good decision making early on, but when pressed by the Gators in the 2nd half it was all downhill for the guard. He did have a good overall game, but the turnovers and decision making down the stretch have to be better against the top-level teams if Wisconsin wants to win close games down the line. 

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Duje Dukan, F
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3pts, 2 rebounds, 1-2 FG's, 10 minutes

Dukan's lone points were big ones, as he hit a trey to put the Badgers up by 11 points in the 2nd half. While he didn't see a ton of minutes on Tuesday night, he showed why he's going to be a valuable member of this team off the bench. Defensively he was solid, but not great and offensively he kept the ball moving and communicated well.

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Sam Dekker, F
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16 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 5-10 FG's

Dekker has had better overall games, but he was the spark for the Badgers just about every time they needed something big offensively and that makes up for his four turnovers and sometimes questionable decision making. 

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Josh Gasser, G
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0 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 0-2 FG's

Gasser played a ton of minutes, 32 to be exact, but he really had next to no impact and the only memorable part of his game was really the late "over the back" no-call controversy. He appears to be fine, but still working his way into the rotation. 

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Frank Kaminsky, F
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8 points, 5 rebounds, 3-8 FG's, 2 blocks

Kaminsky wasn't flashy, but he was much better than Friday night, that's for sure. In addition to the 2 blocks, he also had 2 steals and his two 3-pointers were hugely uplifting to the UW cause on the night. He may not be dominate at times, but Kaminsky will do the small things right most of the time and that's why he has earned the starters role. 

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Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college football for nearly half a decade. He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadgers.com and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com

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