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November 22, 2011

Berggren, Badgers tame UMKC

MADISON - The way Tuesday's game started for Jared Berggren almost served as some sort of ironic twist for the big man with the soft touch.

Of the nine shots he took, his first was the only one he missed.

"That was probably the easiest one," Berggren, who finished with a career high 21-points on 8-of-9 shooting said. "I was two feet from the basket and just couldn't put it in.

"Luckily I didn't let that get to me."

Instead Berggren led the charge - - and a mighty one at that - - as Wisconsin breezed past an overwhelmed, overmatched and downright lesser opponent in Missouri-Kansas City Tuesday evening to the tune of a 77-31 final.

UW's junior center didn't miss any of his four shots from downtown.

"It feels good to have the first one go down," Berggren, who is shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc, said. "I think any shooter will say that. You see the ball go in the hole and it does help your confidence a little bit.

"Luckily the teammates were finding me open and I was able to put some in."

The Badgers hit 30 of their 58 shots. Of those 30 made jumpers, 18 were assisted. The ball movement, particularly in the first half, opened avenues for Badger shooters to take advantage of.

The Kangaroos never really stood a chance.

"Coming into the game I think they had a two-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio," UMKC head coach Matt Brown said. "They're shooting the ball about 40 percent from three and 50 percent from the field.

"I think they're really underrated in their efficiency in the half-court offense."

And UW's stud senior point guard and All-American Jordan Taylor didn't even score double digits. He just controlled the game with nine points, six assists and six rebounds. He only had one turnover.

Collectively, Taylor, Josh Gasser (4), Ben Brust (6), Traevon Jackson (4), Rob Wilson (1), and Dan Fahey (2) - - all guards - - nearly out-rebounded the Kangaroos.

By the end UW established a 45-25 margin on the glass.

"Sometimes when the other team is having some trouble shooting the ball, when they're hitting the rim and you're grabbing long rebounds your guards are going to be involved," Ryan said. "Plus, our bigs make sure that their bigs don't get the rebound.

"Sometimes rebounding statistics can be deceiving as to who is getting them and who is not."

Aside from Berggren's missed lay up to open Tuesday's game, Wisconsin shooters connected on six of its next seven shots to open a 15-8 lead. Approximately six minutes later the Badgers were on top of Missouri-Kansas City 26-10.

The rout was on.

UW finished the opening 20 minutes shooting 57 percent from the field and a matching 57 percent shooting clip from distance. Both Bruesewitz and Ben Brust scored 10 points in the first half.

Wisconsin eventually finished the game shooting just shy of 52 percent from the field and 48 percent (13-of-27) from downtown.

"When they go in it's a thing of beauty," Ryan said. "Isn't it? But those were the open shots. Again, you still have to take what the defense gives you."

The Badgers also outscored Kansas City by a healthy 30-10 margin in the paint.

"Team's take on a certain personality," Ryan said. "You search for your strengths and that's what we're still doing. But so far that idea of creating help situations and finding the guy that was left, our guys have been doing a pretty good job of that."

Wisconsin improves to 4-0 on the season. It will travel to suburban Chicago for a Friday meeting with the Bradley Braves as part of the Chicago Invitational set to take place at the Sears Centre.

Quick notes:

-Freshman center Evan Anderson has played 14 minutes so far this season. During that time he's committed six fouls. That's one foul for every 2.3 minutes of game action the 7-footer receives.

-Freshman center Frank Kaminsky scored a career-high nine points in just nine minutes of action. He made three of his four shots from the field.

-Berggren played 21 minutes Tuesday night. He also scored 21 points. Curiously, Berggren did not log one rebound during his time on the court. He did, however, block three shots, record a steal and dish an assist.

-Ben Brust and Josh Gasser each hit two 3-pointers Tuesday night. They also combined to rip down 10 rebounds. Together, they scored 20 points in 41 minutes of play.

-Ryan Evans hauled in seven rebounds. He also scored six points. The junior forward is averaging 9.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game so far this season.

-Freshman Traevon Jackson played eight minutes Tuesday night. He missed all four of his shots from the field, but did collect four rebounds.

-Junior guard Dan Fahey's driving lay in late in Tuesday's win marked his first bucket as a member of the Badgers. He now has two career points.


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