Bo Ryan needed one more Big Ten win to tie the school record for career conference wins. It took less than 10 minutes of basketball at Welsh-Ryan Arena to figure out that the needed win was comping. The No. 4 Badgers (14-1, 2-0 B1G) took care of business early and often in an 81-58 win.
Wisconsin shot lights out from behind the arc, something it wasnâ€™t really known for this season, and it paid off in big ways.
Sam Dekker, who tied for the team lead with 16 points, started the game 4 of 4 from deep and had 12 points in the first half alone. However, Dekker wasnâ€™t alone in the offensive explosion in the first half.
Dekker was joined in double figures in the first half alone by fellow starter Nigel Hayes (10) and bench contributor Duje Dukan (10), as the Badgers controlled things from start to finish in the half and the rest of the game.
Wisconsin shot 8 of 15 from behind the arc as a team in the first half alone, a total that equalled the number of total made field goals from the Wildcats â€” who were 8 of 25 from the field.
As a result the Badgers took a 43-21 lead to intermission and the game was never in doubt from there.
However, Bo Ryan didnâ€™t like the intensity of his team coming out of the half and Traevon Jackson and Sam Dekker went to the bench after combining for a sloppy turnover on the Badgersâ€™ first possession of the second half.
Wisconsinâ€™s players received the message and they continued to do the things that got them the lead in the first place â€” mainly being patient, shooting from deep and playing aggressive basketball at both ends of the court.
As the other three frontcourt contributors got things going in the first half, Frank Kaminsky was up to the task in the second. He joined the other three in double figures for the game, scoring 16 points on the night.
The frontcourt foursome combined for 56 of UWâ€™s 81 points on the night, completely dominating the course of the game.
Wisconsin shot 52.6 percent from the field on the night, made a season-high 12 three-pointers as a team and had a season-high 23 assists on 30 made field goals on the night.
The win avenged one of the most puzzling losses in college basketball last season, and gave Wisconsin a five-game winning streak over Northwestern.
Badger of the Game: Sam Dekker
Talk about a player coming in to his own, huh? After struggling at times with a nagging ankle injury early in the season, Dekker has come on hotter than hot as of late. Since scoring seven total points in games against Duke and Marquette, Dekker has averaged 15.6 points a game. He also has scored in double figures in six straight.
On Sunday night he was the catalyst for what the Badgers did in shutting down the hopes and dreams of Northwestern from the word go. Dekker started off 4 of 4 from deep and by the time he missed his first basket of the game the game was over.
Key Moment: Dekker, Jackson pulled at start of second half
We touched a little bit on what happened earlier in the recap, but Dekker had a subpar pass to Traevon Jackson, who then let it go right off his leg. That all happened on the first possession out of the half, and the two were pulled immediately.
It was classic Bo Ryan, but it also made sure the Badgers werenâ€™t going to get complacent with a major lead on their hands. The message was quickly received and Wisconsin went on to only bury the Wildcats even more in the second stanza.
Up Next: Jan. 7 vs. Purdue; 6pm CT BTN