Wisconsin routs Cornell 73-40
MADISON, Wis. -- Cornell coach Bill Courtney was hoping to speed up Wisconsin's offense to force the Badgers into an uptempo game.
It worked for a little while before before the No. 22 Badgers pulled away to a 73-40 win Sunday night.
"We were hoping to speed them up a little bit because they're such an execution based team, such a good passing team, a precision team," Courtney said. "We wanted to take them out of some of their stuff and hopefully make them put it on the ground, jump in, take charges and speed them up a little."
The Big Red (1-3) did succeed in forcing Wisconsin (2-10) to be uncharacteristically slopping with the ball. But Cornell just couldn't find the offense to hang with the Badgers.
The Big Red started just 1 of 11 and Cornell found itself down 27-8 with just less than 8 minutes to go in the first half. Cornell then went to a trapping defense that had some success in forcing Wisconsin turnovers and cutting it to 27-14.
But the pressing defense also left Wisconsin shooters open, and the Badgers hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions. A Sam Dekker steal and dunk on the breakaway pushed the lead to 38-16 with just more than 3 minutes left in the first half, and Wisconsin largely cruised from there.
"That kind of broke our backs a little bit right in the beginning of the game," Courtney said. "Our guys continued to fight, but I think we were just a little bit overmatched tonight."
Wisconsin allowed No. 10 Florida to shoot 75 percent in the first half and 62 percent for the game on Wednesday in losing 74-56. But it was clear from the start on Sunday there would be no repeat performance.
Cornell shot just 26 percent and was outrebound 54-31, the most boards a Wisconsin team has turned in under coach Bo Ryan.
Devin Cherry led the Big Red with 13 points.
"What we did do a good job of was chesting up and not leaving our feet and not getting out of position, and that accounts for the shooting percentage of the other team, Cornell," Ryan said. "I thought we stuck to our rules a little better."
Meanwhile, 6-foot, 1-inch guard Ben Brust turned in a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Jared Berggren scored 18 and Ryan Evans had a double-double of his own with 12 points and 10 boards.
Brust averaged 2.2 boards a game last season, but is now averaging eight a game early in the season. The 6-10 Berggren joked after Sunday's game, "I am just sick of it because he's stealing all my stats."
But Brust said it was simply a matter of opportunity with Cornell shooting poorly. With Florida shooting so well on Wednesday, Brust grabbed just two boards.
"That's why there was so many chances for rebounds because we actually got them to miss shots compared to Florida," Brust said. "There wasn't a lot of opportunities for rebounds (against Florida) because we didn't force them into enough tough shots."
It could have been worse for the Big Red, but Wisconsin committed 16 turnovers. That snapped a streak of 69 straight games with 13 or fewer.
Ryan believed inexperience hurt the Badgers in dealing with the pressure and said his players sometimes put their teammates in a tough spot that led to the turnover.
"It was just one of those things under the lights, we've got some guys who didn't have a lot of experience," he said.
The game was the first of four in seven days for Wisconsin as part of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational. After hosting Presbyterian on Tuesday, the Badgers head to Las Vegas to face No. 15 Creighton.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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