<
>

Rapid Reaction: Wisconsin 73, BYU 56

11/26/2011



HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- A quick look at Wisconsin's 73-56 win over BYU in the Chicago Invitational Challenge final Saturday night:

Overview: Wisconsin began the game playing the Platonic Ideal of Bo Ryan offensive basketball. After eight minutes, the Badgers were 8-for-11 from the field and 5-of-6 from 3-point range. Shots were falling, backcuts were working, everything was clicking. BYU changed its defense to a zone and began forcing turnovers against a notoriously turnover-averse team, went on a 12-2 run and closed the gap to 34-32 at the half.

The Badgers blew the game open in the second half, though, thanks in large part to a flurry of 3s from sophomore guard Ben Brust. BYU couldn't keep pace, and Ryan's team cruised to the Chicago Invitational title.

Star of the game: Brust. The sophomore, playing just down the road from his hometown of Hawthorne Woods, Ill., had a historic night for the Badgers. Brust shot 7-of-10 from beyond the arc, scoring 21 points and tying the school record for 3s in the process.

Brust is the definition of a specialist; the guard attempted just one two-point shot last night. But he's a vital piece in Ryan's team, a group that is adjusting to the loss of scoring forwards Keaton Nankivil and Jon Leuer in the offseason. The Badgers are led by preseason All-American Jordan Taylor, but their supporting cast -- as always seems to be the case with Ryan's program -- is just as important to their success.

Hey, someone had to miss: Speaking of Wisconsin's supporting cast, guard Josh Gasser -- who shares time with Brust and Taylor in the backcourt -- entered Saturday night's game having made 14 of his first 17 3-point shots this season. Gasser couldn't quite keep that 82 percent pace on Saturday; he went 1-for-4 from beyond the arc.

What's next: Things are about to get much more difficult for the Badgers; their next game comes Nov. 30 versus North Carolina in Chapel Hill as part of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. That should be a fascinating contrast of styles. Meanwhile, BYU will likely get back on track with a game at Northern Arizona, and nonconference tilts with Oregon, Utah and Baylor in the next three weeks.