It's Ben Brust's World and we're just witnesses. That pretty much sums up all you need to know about the Badgers 62-51 victory over UNLV at the Kohl Center on Saturday afternoon. Brust scored a career high 25 points to propel the Badgers to victory. Thanks to Brust's hot shooting Bo Ryan notched win number 250 as a Badgers coach as well, the 3rd fastest to do so in Big Ten history.
This game got off to a slow start, just what the Badgers needed against the Runnin' Rebels with the score sitting at 5-2 in favor of Wisconsin 4 minutes into the 1st half. However that lead would be enough for the Badgers, who never trailed in this one. UNLV cut the Wisconsin lead to 5-4 shortly after, but that was the closest the Rebels would get in this one.
Wisconsin would have it's lead cut to 3 a few times, the last of which was with 9:01 left in the first half, but the Badgers pulled away, going on a 13-0 run over the next 8 minutes 49 seconds to open up a 31-15 lead that would prove to be to much for the Rebels to overcome despite their best efforts. Wisconsin took a 36-23 lead into the half on the strength of 5-12 three point shooting in the half. Leading the way for the Badgers in the half was Ben Brust with 10 points, hitting 2 of 2 from three point range and doing a nice job of driving to the basket as well.
UNLV played much better defense in the 2nd half, winning the half 28-26 and holding the Badgers 10 points under their total from the first half but they just didn't have an answer for the sharp shooting of Ben Brust who went 7 for 7 from 3 point range on the game, tying a Big Ten record for 3 point accuracy. On at least two different occasions Brust swished three's from at least 30 feet out, proving how much of a zone this guy was in.
Credit the Badgers defense along with Brust for this victory as the Badgers held UNLV's high scoring attack in check. The Rebels were held 32 points below their season average and shot just 39.1% from the field for the game. Leading the defensive effort were Mike Bruesewitz and Ryan Evans who had 10 and 9 rebounds a piece. Wisconsin also forced UNLV into 15 turnovers, converting those into 19 points on the other end.
Interestingly the Badgers were able to win this one going away without much at all from anyone not named Ben Brust as no one else scored in double figures. That included star PG Jordan Taylor who was 0 for 10 from the field (0-6 3pt shooting). His only points came from the free throw line, ending up with only 4 points for the game. Taylor would also come up a bit lame in the 2nd half as it looked like he twisted his ankle and just didn't have the ability to dribble drive much at all in this game. However, both Ryan and Taylor didn't mention it during the post game interview sessions.
Moving forward, Wisconsin finishes off it's slate of in-state competition on Tuesday as they travel to Milwaukee to take on the Panthers at 7pm Central. They'll also see action against Savannah State on Thursday next week before taking an 8 day break for finals.