No. 20 Wisconsin 69, UW-Green Bay 66: Badgers escape Green Bay behind Kaminsky’s big second half

For a while there, it seemed like deja vu from the last time the Badgers played in Green Bay.

The Phoenix had the lead and Keifer Sykes was a one-man wrecking crew.

Enter Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky.

The duo had great second halves as the Badgers were able to hold off a pesky UW-Green Bay and get a tough road win, 69-66.

UW-Green Bay (1-1) held a small lead for most of the first half, before the Badgers (3-0) went on a mini 9-4 run to take a 34-29 lead into the locker room. While the Badgers had a balanced scoring attack, the Phoenix were getting all of their production from junior guard Keifer Sykes. The Chicago native shot 13-26, finishing with 32 points.

The second half began all Sykes, as he scored eight straight points, giving Green Bay it's first lead since midway through the first half. The Phoenix were able to hold the small lead despite only getting two points from NBA prospect Alec Brown. The senior got in foul trouble early and was only able to play for 18 minutes.

With Brown on the bench, and Sykes temporarily cooling off, the Badgers fought back with strong play from Dekker and Kaminsky. Dekker finished at the hole on two consecutive possessions to tie the game at 54, and Kaminsky followed with four points of his own to put the Badgers ahead for good.

UW-Green Bay did have a chance at the end, but Kaminsky stuffed an attempted lay-up by Sykes with four seconds left. After a Kaminsky free throw made it 69-66, Sykes' desperation three at the buzzer hit the side of the rim and bounced out.

And the Badgers are 1-0 in-state.

Onto the grades.

 

Player Stats/Thoughts Grade

Ben Brust, G

8 pts, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3-8 FG's

Brust did not have his best shooting game and also didn't nab as many rebounds as he usually does. That's a tough critique on a guard, but he's set the bar pretty high.

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Nigel Hayes, F

6 pts, 1 rebound, 2 blocks, 3-6 FG's

Hayes continues to shine when given the chance. He isn't built like a freshman and he isn't playing like a freshman either. He immediately made a difference when he entered the game, scoring two quick baskets.

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Traevon Jackson, G

6 pts, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2-8 FG's

Similar to Brust, Jackson struggled from the field. He also missed a free throw down the stretch which is surprising as he is usually very clutch.

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Duje Dukan, F

2 pts, 2 rebounds, 0 assists, 1-3 FG's

An average game for Dukan, who will continue to get minutes. He didn't wow anyone like he did against St. John's, but he also took care of the ball.

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Sam Dekker, F

13 pts, 7 rebounds, 6-11 FG's

There is a time each game where Dekker just takes over. Tonight it happened midway through the second half when Green Bay had  the lead. Dekker drove to the hole on back to back possessions to tie it.

Also, is it just me, or does it seem like Dekker is missing every one of his first free throws?

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Josh Gasser, G

11 pts, 6 rebounds, 6-6 free throws, 2-8 FG's

Add Gasser to the list of players that struggled from the field. He was aggressive on the boards as usual, though, and also hit some clutch free throws down the stretch.

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Bronson Koenig, G

7 pts, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3-3 FG's

Talk about taking advantage of some playing time. Koenig looked very comfortable in his time and hit all three of the shots he took. With a crowded back court, he'll need to continue playing at this level to get minutes. Look for him to do so.

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Frank Kaminsky, F

16 pts, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks, 1 assist 6-12 FG's

Now that's what Kaminsky we remember. After a slow first half, he scored 14 second half points and helped put the game away with a huge block on Sykes with four seconds left. He took advantage of Alec Brown fouling out and overall had a great game.

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Jay Swenson

About Jay Swenson

Jay is a Badger fan currently living in Central Illinois. He has written for several newspapers as a freelance writer, and was the Western Illinois basketball beat writer while in graduate school.

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