Wisconsin used an early 17-0 run to put away the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils as the Badgers buried the Delta Devils 79-45 in the non-conference finale. With the win, Wisconsin improved to 11-2 and ended the non-conference portion of the schedule on a five-game winning streak. With the loss, Mississippi Valley State fell to a 1-10 overall record and 0-9 on the road.
“I think we expected to be 13-0, thought we were going to be 13-0," Jordan Taylor said. "The two games we lost obviously tough games, but I think we responded to that tough week in a good way and learned some new things that were positive and negative.”
Taylor led the Badgers with a game-high 17 points on 5-9 shooting. The 17 points were the third most he's scored in a game this season and just one shy of his season-high. He also added two assists and did not turn the ball over. Jared Berggren added 15 points, which was second on the team, on 4-7 shooting. He also had two blocks and shot 7-8 from the free throw line.
Wisconsin shot 50 percent from the field and made four attempts out of 10 from 3-point land. Wisconsin shot its most free throws in a game since 2006, as the Badgers went 31-44 from the free throw line. The Badgers out-rebounded the Delta Devils 35-22 with Ryan Evans leading Wisconsin in that category with a career-high 11 rebounds.
"They were just real physical," Head Coach Bo Ryan said. "They were either going to get you to turn it over or they were going to foul you. So you try to get to the line as many times as you can or take advantage of overplays or things like that."
After a jumper by Mississippi Valley State's Terrence Joyner to open the game, Wisconsin scored the next 17 points, led by six points by Taylor. The Delta Devils were able to get within a dozen points on a 3-pointer by Cor-J Cox with 2:11 left, but that basket would be Mississippi Valley State's last of the first half. Wisconsin scored the final five of the half, with Rob Wilson had a 3-point play off a jumper and foul.
The start of the second half started like the start of the first as Wisconsin dominated, scoring the first 10 points of the half opening up a 49-22 lead. The Badgers never looked back from there as the Badgers led by as many as 38 in the 34-point victory for the Badgers.
Paul Crosby and Terrence Jones led the Delta Devils with 14 points apiece. Mississippi State shot just 29 percent and 28.6 percent from 3-point land. The 45 points was a season-low for the Delta Devils, which has been a theme for Wisconsin opponents. Out of the 13 Wisconsin opponents, 11 have been held to their lowest point total of the year against Wisconsin.
With the non-conference schedule now out of the way, Wisconsin can now focus on the Big Ten portion as it welcomes the Nebraska Cornhuskers to the Big Ten in basketball as Wisconsin goes to Lincoln to play Nebraska Tuesday to start the Big Ten season. The Badgers welcomed Nebraska to the Big Ten in football as well with a 48-17 Wisconsin victory at Camp Randall Stadium in October. Wisconsin returns home Dec. 31 when it welcomes the Iowa Hawkeyes to the Kohl Center.
“It is definitely a little bit different," Berggren said. "Usually in the Big Ten you know the guys and know what they run for the most part, things like that. But with Nebraska being their first time in, first time facing them, it is a little bit more unknown. It almost feels more like a non-conference game."